Meet The 14 Places

Meet The 14 Places


Health Happens when all of us matter. Building Healthy Communities partners are changing the odds so that every Californian gets a chance at a long, healthy life by addressing the causes of poor health.

Building Healthy Communities is a place-based initiative that relies on a dynamic process of ongoing engagement and dialogue with our partners throughout the state. We work on a local scale—specifically 14 local sites—to create broad, statewide impact. Our success will depend on sustaining trusting and vibrant relationships with our partners, including grantees, but also with residents and other allies who share our goals. The foundation is not an “expert” standing apart from others but is a co-leader and a co-learner in social change.

Our model of policy and systems change depends heavily upon the organizing and advocacy work occurring in the 14 local sites. The local sites help identify actionable community priorities and also help incubate and test policy ideas. Critical to the authentic and lasting change is meaningful engagement and robust participation of a broad segment of residents, particularly those that have been traditionally excluded, including undocumented immigrants, LGBTQ people, the formerly incarcerated, and boys and men of color. It is the voices and work of these people, groups, and networks that is highlighted throughout this website.

Our new video, “A Tale of Two Zip Codes,” highlights two hypothetical towns—A-town and B-ville—to lift-up the startling fact that those living in more disadvantaged communities can expect to die an average of 15 years longer than people living in affluent communities. The unjust reality is that any one of the 14 local sites partnering with Building Healthy Communities could represent B-ville. But that’s changing as Building Healthy Communities partners in the sites and across the state reshape the places that shape us—our neighborhoods.


Building Healthy Communities partnered with 14 places in the state representing California’s rich diversity. The criteria for partnerships is described in the next section. Click on these links to learn about what site is doing to change the odds in their community:

Boyle Heights
Central Santa Ana
Central/Southeast/Southwest Fresno
City Heights
Del Norte County Adjacent Tribal Lands
East Oakland
East Salinas (Alisal)
Long Beach
South Los Angeles
South Kern
Southwest Merced/East Merced County


The 14 places partnering in Building Healthy Communities represent California’s incredible diversity across race, geographic location, and political orientation. They are California’s future. Our ability to open doors of opportunity for the talent and potential in these places to flourish is a marker for whether or not California will indeed become the Golden State once again.

The Building Healthy Communities sites were chosen based on criteria grounded in social determinants of health data, the grant-making history, and key stakeholder interviews. The data was used to identify areas that are impacted by poor health outcomes, but have the potential to inspire policy changes to create a healthy environment for all Californians.

The California Endowment’s site selection process was robust, engaging experts in the field and on the ground, and taking place over the course of a year. Starting with an assessment of need, The California Endowment staff further refined the site list using a number of criteria applied to both unique sites and the aggregate sites. The criteria used to determine the final mix of sites included geographic diversity, openness to change, large enough population for statewide impact, and diversity of organizing and advocacy.