Advancing Wellness: Education and Employment

California Wellness Foundation

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Grant amount: Up to US $675,000

Deadline: Rolling

Applicant type: Government Entity Nonprofit Indigenous Group College / University

Funding uses: General Operating Expense, Education / Outreach, Research, Project / Program, Training / Capacity Building

Location of project: California

Location of residency: United States

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About this funder:



Research indicates that education and employment are strong predictors of good health. Increases in education and income contribute to a greater sense of purpose and meaning, which supports health. The program areas in this portfolio address education for resilient youth and employment opportunities for underserved individuals.

Increasing Educational Opportunities for Resilient Youth

Increasingly, prospects for a healthy, fulfilling and self-sufficient life depend on getting a postsecondary education. Cal Wellness is committed to supporting organizations that increase access to, and completion of, an educational credential beyond a high school degree or GED certificate for adolescents and young adults we define as resilient youth (see below). The degree or credential can be through a four-year university, a community college, or a career/technical/vocational program. 

What We Fund

Each application for funding must fit under one or more of these program areas.

  • College readiness programs, such as campus-based support and vocational training
  • Capacity building for organizations providing social supports
  • Leadership development programs for youth at risk of not reaching their academic goals
  • Expansion and development of community college and higher education opportunities in juvenile and adult correctional facilities
  • Research and data collection
  • Advocacy for policies that support resilient youth who are pursuing higher education and vocational training

Target Populations

All projects we fund must support resilient youth. These are young people, ages 14 to 26, who:  

  • Are in, or have left, the juvenile or adult criminal justice systems. 
  • Are or were in foster care. 
  • Are/were homeless.

Promoting Employment and Asset-Building Opportunities

Wealth is the strongest factor that influences health, but many Californians face barriers to achieving financial security. Our funding seeks to improve health outcomes by strengthening pathways to obtaining and retaining employment, and building financial assets. We fund comprehensive workforce-development and asset-building programs, public policy efforts to advance economic justice and efforts that explicitly connect health and wealth.

What We Fund

Each application for funding must fit under one or more of these strategies. Please review the target populations and grant examples listed here to see if your work is aligned with our current priorities:

  • Comprehensive workforce development programs that are tailored to one or more of the target populations below. Such programs would include: 
    • Sector-based job training. 
    • Wraparound support services.  
    • Placement of alumni into jobs with pathways to living wages, benefits and career advancement.
    • Job retention services. 
  • Efforts to promote and develop microenterprises, worker-owned cooperatives and social enterprises.
  • Strategies to strengthen and improve access to income supports, such as CalFresh, CalWORKS, the earned income tax credit and other tax credits, utility assistance and paid family leave.
  • Integration of asset building into health, human service and workforce development programs. Asset-building approaches may include financial coaching, credit repair, building savings and alternative financial products.
  • Cross-sector approaches that address financial security as a major determinant of health.
  • Public policy efforts to address improved wages and benefits, use of community benefit agreements, building of financial assets and other efforts to improve employment and income.
  • Public policy efforts to address discriminatory, deceptive and predatory financial practices and services targeting low-income people.

The target populations that must be served are:  

  • Boys and men of color. 
  • Formerly incarcerated adults. 
  • Resilient youth. 
  • Military veterans. 
  • Women. 

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Your organization must be a nonprofit public agency, religious organization or tribal government.
  • You must have Section 501(c)(3) status and be classified as a public charity.
  • Your organization can’t discriminate by race, color, creed, gender, sexual orientation or national origin.
  • Your application is not for an annual fund drive, building campaign, major equipment or biomedical research.
  • Your proposal would benefit those living in California.


  • Cal Wellness does not provide international funding or fund organizations located outside the United States.
  • Increasing Educational Opportunities for Resilient Youth
    • We fund very specific projects and activities. We do not fund: 
      • Street outreach programs. 
      • Drop-in center programs. 
      • Emergency shelter/short-term housing programs. 
      • Programs that solely emphasize high school graduation and/or the acquisition of a GED certificate.  
      • If such a program is part of a larger, intentional and robust strategy that moves resilient youth to and through postsecondary education, then there is a chance that it will receive funding. But if the end goal is a high school diploma or GED certificate, then it is not eligible for funding in this program area. 
  • Promoting Employment and Asset-Building Opportunities
    • We fund very specific projects and activities. We do not fund: 
      • Workforce development efforts that are not comprehensive (i.e., that include sector-based job training; wraparound support services; placement of alumni into jobs with pathways to living wages, benefits and career advancement; and job retention services). For example, programs that provide only resume writing or interview skills training, programs that provide job training with no placement or support services, or only connect individuals to low-wage jobs with no career path. 
      • Workforce development efforts that are not tailored to one or more of the target populations (boys and men of color, formerly incarcerated adults, resilient youth, military veterans, women). 
      • Occupational health.  
      • Standalone conferences and individual research projects that are not linked to ongoing strategy support.
      • Individual degrees and fellowships.