Fostering healthy youth development and leadership

We all know that adults make the rules, right?

Here’s the thing though: this world is not theirs alone. Future generations will suffer the consequences or reap the rewards of our actions. We must take concrete steps now to ensure that today’s young people will grow up to have the kind of world they want and deserve.

Lasting change comes from within, and it’s important to get young people, themselves, to take action.

To foster healthy youth development, The California Endowment has invested in youth leadership and youth-led organizing as a key component of our work. We focus on engaging young people—alongside adults—in planning, action, and reflection. At The California Endowment, young Californians have a say. They advise our president, work directly on our programs, and they help inform our agenda. Together, we’re forging a shared commitment, across cities, to wellness and positive change.


Investing in our future leaders

Young people feel less and less control over their own destiny, and for good reason. America is all about progress and prosperity, but we’re about to produce the first generation of Americans in memory that earns less than their parents. Student debt is mounting, job prospects are slim, income inequality is high and the political process can be alienating. By engaging youth now on the issues that impact their health and well being, we are creating a cadre of future leaders who will propel California forward in the years to come.

Our commitment to building healthy neighborhoods and schools is focused on California’s youth, and the bright future within their reach.


Engage. Organize. Empower.

It’s no secret that today’s youth have boundless promise and potential.  So much that the experts at Pew Research Center conducted a major study and concluded the so-called Millennials are the best educated, most tolerant, most idealistic group of Americans ever. They are respectful of their elders, but also ambitious, diverse, and primed to realize the wildest of dreams. Let’s not get in their way.

The California Endowment wants to remove the obstacles—social, economic or otherwise—that might keep these young people from achieving their destiny.

Our job is to engage, organize, and empower them to make their own change in the world. This is a generation of sprinters, intellectuals, and pioneers. They have the raw energy to fuel our collective progress for decades to come.

Our Work

Our Work

Youth leaders work directly with The California Endowment through a variety of programs and initiatives.

President’s Youth Council

The President’s Youth Council advises The California Endowment’s president and CEO Robert K. Ross, MD, about youth priorities, best practices across the state and nation, and opportunities to strengthen support for youth leadership that leads to healthier communities.

BHC Steering Committee

The statewide Building Healthy Communities Steering Committee on youth leadership amplifies the voice, creativity, and power of youth to organize and advocate for transformational change and healing in our communities across California.

Youth Media

Youth media is front and center when it comes to opportunities for youth to play a community leadership role in the Building Healthy Communities sites. In Boyle Heights, City Heights, Coachella, Del Norte, Fresno, Long Beach, Merced, Oakland, Richmond, South Kern, and Sacramento, youth are reporting on community health issues and documenting local and statewide advocacy efforts to take action on those issues. We aggregate these voices on a blog:  Youth Media for Building Healthy Communities.

Youth Coordinators’ Learning Network

The Youth Coordinators’ Learning Network builds the capacity of youth leaders to implement best practices in healthy community engagement strategies, organizing skills, and campaign development in order to prepare them to address school and community health issues.

Sons & Brothers

Health Happens Here With All Our Sons and Brothers, a major initiative of The California Endowment, is developing youth leaders across the state who are advocating for public policies and system changes that will help provide the support they need to thrive. With 70 percent of all youth in the state identifying as persons of color, it is essential they have access to the resources they need to excel as the future leaders of California.

Read more about our projects on this and other TCE pages to see how you can contribute.