Better California


Better California is a movement organizing philanthropy to support a thriving, just, and inclusive California.



Who We Are

Better California is a group of philanthropic leaders who have come together to proclaim our commitment to building a just, fair, inclusive California in which all people can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential. We believe that every Californian must have the right to access high-quality education, live in physical and economic security, and benefit from the bounty of our natural resources. We also recognize and seek to remedy the fact that many Californians, particularly those who face historic and structural barriers, have been denied the opportunity to reap the benefits of living in our great state. 


The philanthropic sector invests over $8 billion in California communities annually. As philanthropic leaders, our responsibility to steward these resources prudently not only affords us the privilege of speaking up and taking bold action in pursuit of a better future, it obligates us to do so. A set of deeply held shared values unites us:


We place our shared humanity at the center of all we do, recognizing that there is more that joins us than divides us.


We believe in a just, fair, and inclusive society.


We seek to advance the common good and foster safe, caring, and vibrant communities.


We understand that we must join together to succeed.


We acknowledge, reckon with, and seek to change systems and institutions so that all communities – particularly communities of color

– have opportunity and are able to thrive and prosper.



Why Now

As Californians in the philanthropic sector, stewarding our resources by taking bold action in pursuit of a better future delivers on the social contract inherent to the promise of California. We know that to achieve our goals we need to break away from business as usual.


The California of 2019 is a paradox, filled with complexities. The state is simultaneously the 5th largest economy in the world, but also the state with the largest disparities between rich and poor in the U.S.  Although California has some of the strongest equal pay laws in the nation, women still earn less than men with white women earning $0.78 and Latinx women earning $0.42 on average for every dollar earned by a white man. The racial wealth gap in California is similarly stark: almost 40% of Black and Hispanic households are asset-poor compared to almost one-fifth of White households. Since 1980 California has built 22 prisons, but only one University of California campus.  While 93% of Californians now have health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, three million individuals are still uninsured – the majority of whom are ineligible due to their immigration status.  Moreover, although California is home to more people of Native American/Alaska Native heritage than any other state, many California Indians still struggle for tribal sovereignty and recognition.  


Better California is powered by Philanthropy California and supported by philanthropy across the state. 



We believe it is possible to co-create a California in which our families, communities, markets, public and private institutions and political frameworks work in concert to advance the common good. The California we envision consistently and conscientiously seeks to move towards justice, fairness, and inclusiveness in all of our institutions and systems by embracing every person as their full self. Together we have set forth a set of goals that, if achieved, will radically transform our state. Read the Full Declaration > 




We understand that we will need to invest significant effort and resources to achieve our vision, and that success will require unprecedented collaborative effort backed by strong and sustained multi-sector leadership. 


Results of the magnitude we envision will not happen with a 1, 3, or even a 5-year time frame. It will take bold action, patience, and deep commitment that will outlast, and even outlive, us. We know it will be many years, if not decades, before the full fruits of our labor can be harvested.  We expect our children – and their children as well – will carry on after us to advance successful strategies that achieve long-term inclusion, economic participation, and equity, and that neutralize policies that have had a deleterious effect on our communities.


In the meantime, we are committed to doing everything within our reach to vigorously pursue short-and long-term goals.  We will marshal our resources, our creativity, our voice, and our hope to push as far and as fast as we can.


To this end, we agree to operate within a set of shared principles to catalyze and sustain highly impactful engagement and collaboration.


BOLDNESS: We will challenge ourselves to be creative, courageous, and unbound by convention.


PARTNERSHIP: We will place those who are most deeply affected by the systems and institutions that perpetuate racial and gender inequity at the center of this effort.


COLLABORATION: We will seek to collaborate on an unprecedented scale with business, government, nonprofits, and the community to achieve our vision.


ACCOUNTABILITY: We will invest significant effort, take risks, and practice fortitude to see our vision to fruition. We will hold ourselves accountable to each other,
our partners and the community in this work.


ORGANIZATIONAL TRANSFORMATION: We will make the commitments and sacrifices necessary to achieve the transformation we seek within our own institutions.


CREATIVITY: We will embrace traditional and new approaches to tackling touch problems.


TRUTH: We will speak up individually and with one voice when we are witness to actions that marginalize, exclude, silence, or otherwise jeopardize the safety or well-being
of the people, groups and institutions in our communities, including but not limited to people of color, women, queer people, transgender people, low-income people,
differently abled or disabled people, incarcerated people and people with incarcerated loved ones, youth, older adults, and immigrants.


RESILIENCE: We will invest the time and resources necessary to preserve and restore the energy and capacity required to sustain our hope in the face of inevitable

resistance, obstacles, and setbacks.

Committed Advisors

  • Fred Ali, President & CEO | Weingart Foundation
  • Glen Galaich, President & CEO | Stupski Foundation
  • Deanna Gomby, President & CEO | Heising-Simons Foundation
  • Sandra Hernandez, President & CEO | California Healthcare Foundation
  • Crystal Hayling, Executive Director | Libra Foundation
  • Peter Long, President & CEO | Blue Shield of California Foundation
  • Bob Ross, CEO | The California Endowment
  • Janet Spears, President & CEO | Metta Fund
  • Bob Uyeki, CEO | Y&H Soda Foundation
  • Rick Williams, CEO | Sobrato Family Foundation

Our Commitment to Action

We are committed to reviving the California Dream for all. We agree to uphold the values and principles of engagement that underpin this vision. We will take collective action when possible to achieve our shared vision and work together and independently to advance our goals. As part of this commitment, we agree to:


01 Make significant, flexible, multi-year investments in the work of nonprofits and other partners dedicated to achieving one or more of these goals;

02 Strive to invest our core endowment principal in ways that are not inconsistent with these goals; and

03 Commit non-financial resources and other substantial resources to support organizations and the efforts/approaches they deem to be high-value to advance our shared goals.



Join Us

Join us to create a movement in which philanthropy organizes - creating new structures supporting a thriving, just, and inclusive California.


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