Do you want to learn more about our work in action? Please take a moment to read these stories:
The Community Building Initiative (CBI) helps develop resident-based capacity to determine and implement positive change in low-income communities served by St. Joseph Health. The CBI focuses on four key pillars to developing resident capacity:
- Engagement of community residents
- Development of resident leaders
- Collaboration among organizational partners
- Bridge building with external decision makers
Each CBI grant is a four-year investment – funding for a year of planning and incubation, followed by three years of funding for implementation of selected strategies to address identified community issues. Each region also receives a consulting coach to help guide its development.
SJCPF supports three CBI sites in Humboldt County, all of whom are focused on safety as the community issue that is most important:
- Westside of Eureka, in partnership with the Westside Community Improvement Association and the California Center for Rural Policy
- The Samoa Peninsula, in partnership with the Redwood Community Action Agency
- Bridgeville, in partnership with the Bridgeville Community Center
Each community develops a strategy to its specific opportunities, resources, and challenges. At the end of the three-year grant period, improvements may be measured in both physical/infrastructure improvements and through the development or enforcement of community-informed codes, policies, and laws. More importantly, the hope is that after the CBI grant period ends, there will remain an empowered base of community residents, engaged in other efforts to improve their community and well-being.
The Community Partnership Fund looks to invest in partners that offer innovative solutions that improve our communities and promote justice and equity through our Innovation Grants. One such partner is Project Kinship, a community-based organization utilizing trauma-informed care, restorative justice, and workforce development strategies to support people who were formerly incarcerated as they re-enter their communities.
Project Kinship was the vision of two community leaders with a heart for formerly incarcerated individuals and an understanding of the cycle of violence and poverty impacting their families. Started in 2014, the organization has quickly grown and now serves thousands of residents in Orange County, California each year.
With this accelerated success came significant stress on the organization’s founders and some setbacks in their organizational development. A strategic grant from SJCPF, as well as guidance from SJCPF staff, helped the organization focus on capacity building, strategic planning, and address the cash flow pressures of receiving government contracts.
Project Kinship recently celebrated its fourth year of service, a new 8,000 square-foot facility, a budget of $3 million, and a team of 30 dedicated staff. SJCPF will continue to support their innovative model, and partner with them to sustain this important work in the community.
Two hours east of Los Angeles, the Victor Valley area of California is located in the High Desert section of the Mojave Desert. While the Valley’s population is similar to that of Oakland, almost 400,000, it does not have the advantages of proximity to other large urban areas. As a result, there is not a strong economic base in the area; approximately half of the employed residents of the Victor Valley make long commutes to jobs outside of the area.
Access to resources, food insecurity, housing affordability, mental health and substance abuse, and crime and safety are significant community issues in the region, where 40% of households live below 200% of the federal poverty level. These factors combine into a substantial need for support services from nonprofits, a majority of which are small and struggling to address the needs of the community.
The Community Partnership Fund’s Sustainability Initiative helps grantees in its service areas become more sustainable and effective. In partnership with the local St. Joseph Hospital and St. Mary Medical Center, SJCPF brought together five High Desert nonprofits, critical to providing safety net services for the region, to focus on their organizational sustainability and capacity.
The program offered monthly learning sessions for both executive and board leadership, an organizational assessment, and extensive one-on-one coaching for grantees to build sustainability plans for each organization. Session topics included:
- Moving from crisis to planning
- Succession planning and leadership development
- Board development
- Risk management
- Making the case for operating support
The initiative provides more than $150,000 in resources for the grantees during the five-month program, including coaching, training, and grants for core operations and capacity building. But the long-term impact is much greater, as the process leads to more effective leaders and stronger organizations which are better able to meet the needs of their communities.
Grantees themselves have listed the key benefits of the sustainability process as being:
- Increased capacity of executive and board leadership
- Stronger relationships between staff and board members, and a clearer understanding of roles
- Executive directors are better able to move from a crisis mindset to a planning orientation
- Executive directors better understand the structural issues inside their own organization
- Executive directors embrace succession planning and leadership development as critical organizational investments
- Stronger relationships between community organizations and local hospital community benefit leads
What does it look like when a hospital and major health system collaborate with multi-sector partners to improve health equity and create wellness outside of hospital walls? This is the question that is being explored by the Intersections Initiative.
From 2018 through 2020, this initiative will support the formation and development of local coalitions focused on improving health and advancing health equity in the communities served by the seven St. Joseph Health Hospital Ministries in California. In each location, a diverse group of partners work with their local hospital to build community resilience.
Each coalition is supported by their local hospital community benefit team, and led by a community-based backbone organization. While many healthcare organizations are interested in how social determinants of health impact patient outcomes, the defined role that health organizations can play in addressing those issues has been less clear, especially when considering health equity. In addition to actually building community resilience and promoting policy change, the Intersections Initiative will generate learnings to illuminate the specific role that healthcare organizations have, in partnership with others, in advancing health equity through upstream strategies.
Ultimately, the Intersections Initiative aims to break down barriers to advancing health equity and recognizes that there is huge potential for the role that healthcare can play in achieving success within a community-based collaborative.
In October 2017, wildfires spread across Northern California, claiming at least 43 lives. Sonoma and Napa Counties were the most devastated, suffering the destruction of thousands of homes, clinics, and businesses. Over 1,500 local school children lost their homes. More than 150 caregivers and physicians serving at St. Joseph Hospitals lost their homes, and many more were displaced.
The impact of disaster is borne in large part by community-based organizations in a region, which must respond to the emergency in the moment, and then help community members rebuild and recover from the trauma over the longer term. In Sonoma and Napa, SJCPF convened community stakeholders across the region’s identified recovery priorities – housing, mental health, and supporting the most vulnerable – to support coordination of long-term efforts that will strengthen the region’s system of care.
SJCPF has also committed to bolstering Sonoma and Napa’s long-term recovery planning by providing strategic investment to community-based organizations, and by building up the voice of marginalized communities.
In 2018, SJCPF provided more than $1 million in Emergency Food & Shelter Grants across the state, and plans to invest the same in 2019. In 2018, SJCPF provided more than $200,000 in Napa and Sonoma to support impacted food and shelter programs.
Providence St. Joseph caregivers from every region responded to the disaster with heart, giving more than $470,000 in cash donations and more than 6,500 hours of donated paid time off in support of impacted caregivers.