Hardly a day passes without headlines reminding us of the many challenges California faces: from the housing affordability crisis sweeping across nearly every major city in the state, to families without access to clean drinking water in small Central Valley towns, to the dangers posed by increasingly frequent wildfires.
Yet California is uniquely positioned to take on even its greatest challenges. California is known as a national leader in innovation and bold policymaking, with a long history of movements for social change and environmental protection. As importantly, several pieces of groundbreaking state legislation – including SB 32, AB 32, SB 375, SB 350, SB 535, and the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act – have created unprecedented policy opportunities to address climate change, advance health and equity, and improve the environment.
At Smart Growth California, we believe that as grantmakers, we have a critical role to play in shaping California’s future and the future of our communities – and that by working together we can have a far greater collective impact. Through new levels of partnership and leadership, funders can help to build a California that is healthy, equitable, and sustainable.
How California grows – which is determined in great part by the policies and programs that shape land use, housing, transportation, and infrastructure – will profoundly influence how well the state can address climate change, protect open space and arable land, manage water resources, and support health and access to opportunity for all Californians, particularly low-income residents.
About Smart Growth California
Founded in 2009 by the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities (TFN) and The San Francisco Foundation, Smart Growth California is a network of funders working together to build healthy, equitable, and sustainable communities throughout California. Smart Growth California is dedicated to advancing reforms that will benefit all Californians and the communities in which they live.
Smart Growth California funders work to achieve a range of outcomes related to social justice, public health, affordable housing, transportation, water, parks and open space, climate, and jobs and economic opportunity. We believe that connecting and working across these issue areas is essential to addressing California’s challenges. Throughout all of our work, we seek to ensure that these reforms benefit low-income communities and communities of color.
Our approach is grounded in shared learning and collaboration with a focus on facilitating funder action and leadership. Working together, Smart Growth California funders support a range of strategies, including multi-sector collaboration, community organizing and power-building, driving policy change, increasing public funding, building the capacity of nonprofits and community organizations, and increasing civic engagement.
Smart Growth California is an action-oriented network of over 400 funders dedicated to creating healthy, equitable, and sustainable communities throughout California. Smart Growth California works at the state level and in key regions around the state, and helps to coordinate and connect funders’ efforts at the state, regional, and local levels.
Smart Growth California is led by an active steering committee comprised of representatives from 11 leading foundations and an anonymous funder including: S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation, Ford Foundation, California Community Foundation, California Wellness Foundation, The California Endowment, Energy Foundation, Resources Legacy Fund, The San Diego Foundation, The San Francisco Foundation, Sierra Health Foundation, and Silicon Valley Community Foundation. The steering committee members set the overall strategic direction for Smart Growth California and work together on statewide strategic priorities.
In addition, Smart Growth California facilitates working groups focused on timely statewide issues, plus facilitates the Los Angeles Funders’ Collaborative and a San Joaquin Valley funder collaborative, partners with the Great Communities Collaborative in the Bay Area, and is active in San Diego and Sacramento.
Whether involved in a working group or a regional collaborative, funders consult with and work closely with nonprofit partners, community groups, technical experts, public agency staff and elected officials, other funder networks, and additional stakeholders across the state.
Our vision for California is one where all residents enjoy:
- Clean air and water
- Safe and convenient access to places to walk, bike, and play
- Reliable, affordable public transportation options
- A range of housing options that are affordable to all incomes and located in opportunity-rich neighborhoods
- Abundant green space and sustainable natural systems
- Access to healthy food, with thriving agricultural lands to support this
- Living wage jobs and economic opportunities
- The power to influence the decisions that shape their communities and their lives
Smart Growth California is open to all funders currently supporting efforts to build healthy, equitable, and sustainable communities in California.
As part of Smart Growth California, you will have the opportunity to:
- Network and build relationships with knowledgeable, collegial peers.
- Efficiently deepen your knowledge and learn about innovations through webinars and in-person briefings from top experts.
- Identify and share insights and best practices with colleagues.
- Stay on top of current California and regional issues and politics.
- Leverage the impact of your own giving through collaboration with other funders.
- Identify specific opportunities for funding alignment and action through our working groups and regional collaboratives.