Pictured: The logo of The Center at Sierra Health Foundation

The Changes Ahead – A Message from Chet

Change is upon us and it’s clear that we’re approaching a period in which critical decisions that will shape California’s future will be made. These decisions will determine how we respond to pending state budget challenges and historic investment opportunities, as well as demonstrate the depth of our commitment to advancing shared prosperity in our state.

Without question, the most pressing near-term challenge is related to the state’s fiscal position. It’s often said budgets are value statements and this is never truer than during difficult financial times. Over the next several months, the programs and services we choose to protect, preserve or grow, and the impact these decisions will have on California’s most vulnerable residents will say a lot about our commitment to creating the more just, inclusive and equitable California we aspire to.

We’re also entering a period of determining how we will include marginalized community participation in economic planning activities across the state. This is not a side bar activity. Once-in-a-generation federal infrastructure spending is arriving in our state. We believe the decisions in this area will be transformative and lead to significant improvements in the long-term physical, economic, environmental and social wellbeing of the poorest communities in California. This will require us to reimagine our definition of infrastructure to include the building of quality public health systems that serve vulnerable communities and bringing in affordable, ubiquitous broadband connections to expand telehealth and telemedicine into every household and school. The same can be said about the building of quality affordable housing, and job training systems that create pathways to high wage, quality jobs in new and expanding sectors of “our” economy.

At the Sierra Health Foundation and The Center, we are dedicated to ensuring that the critical decisions made during these challenging yet opportune times are guided by the hopes, aspirations and ideas developed by those who will be most impacted by the choices we make. Accordingly, we will partner with funders and nonprofits across our great state to organize and build power in communities to ensure their voices influence how we move forward. While the challenges and opportunities we face will always change over time, our commitment to health equity, racial equity, justice and inclusion will not.