Community-Based Organizations are Essential to Public Health


community health workers smiling

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, PHI’s Together Toward Health (TTH) and funders have supported 548 of California’s diverse community-based organizations (CBOs). CBOs are a crucial part of California’s public health system and are the most effective at creating an impact in their communities because they are their communities.

548 California community-based organizations, funded by TTH, working as experts in their own communities

28M individuals reached

Since its inception, PHI’s Together Toward Health (TTH) and funders have supported 548 community-based organizations (CBOs) to help provide relief to the communities most impacted by COVID-19. CBOs like community centers, faith groups, volunteer organizations and after-school programs are woven into society and are made up of people from their communities, which is crucial to establishing the trust needed to do this work effectively. CBOs are best positioned to spot challenges, identify emerging opportunities and develop new approaches for public health that are culturally and linguistically tailored to their communities.

headshot of Dr. Arleana Waller
It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. We were on the front lines from the beginning of the pandemic, setting up the first testing site in the county and serving the hard-hit African American community... We’re a community of givers here, we show up for each other. Dr. Arleana Waller

Founder of MLKcommUNITY

I remember one woman I spoke to at least three times before they decided to get vaccinated. And she told me how much she appreciated that I never judged her in that process, just answered her questions and trusted her with the information she needed. And as a result, they got the vaccine and brought their family and relatives to get vaccinated too. Lisa Tealer

Executive Director, Bay Area Community Health Advisory Council

In all our materials, advertisements, and work, it all goes back to our learning that our COVID efforts have to be grounded in overall health and agency, and helping people make their own decisions about their healthcare. Shantay Davies-Balch

President & CEO, Black Wellness and Prosperity Center

TTH funded California’s diverse CBOs that faced unique challenges and met the community where they were. By bringing vaccine clinics to farmworkers at their jobs and partnering with Uber to give residents free rides to vaccination sites; educating and providing resources in 68 different languages across the state, including nine indigenous languages; and helping communities of color overcome generations of distrust in government and health institutions by employing health workers from those same communities.

CBOs are the most effective at creating an impact in their communities because they are their communities. CBOs are a crucial part of California’s public health system that should be included and trusted as real partners with seats at the table who shape, implement and drive equitable public health solutions.

CBO workers

Learn more about Together Toward Health's impact

PHI engaged Harder+Company Community Research and Ross Strategic at the onset of the initiative to evaluate the impact of Together Toward Health. The evaluation used a mixed methods approach, incorporating quantitative data and narrative stories, to summarize TTH-funded activities, explore the implementation of the TTH model, and identify community-level impact of TTH funding on addressing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

See the evaluation briefs

A version of this impact story first appeared in the Together Toward Health Impact Report.

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