The California Endowment: Sharpening a Foundation’s Grantmaking Without Limiting Its Mission




Case Study Sector

The California Endowment (TCE) was created in 1996 with a broad charge: to improve the health of all California residents and also to improve access to healthcare for underserved populations in the state. To that end TCE has invested in thousands of organizations as well as in research, convenings, and advocacy work.
As a growing body of experience has provided TCE leaders with a deeper understanding of health issues in California, they have used discrete planning efforts to focus their work more sharply. Most recently, in 2006, they set out to develop a 10-year strategic plan, asking themselves: How can we stay true to the broad values of our mission and at the same time be increasingly purposeful about our activities to ensure the greatest possible impact? And how can we measure that impact more effectively so that the difference the foundation makes is demonstrable?
The result: TCE’s leaders have become more explicit about the foundation’s intended outcomes and also about the way in which they expect their efforts to effect change. They’ve also increased the foundation’s ability to connect the dots between the specific objectives of a given grant and its effect on the larger issue of health.



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