Funding Local Organizations to Advance Health Equity through Academia-Based Partnerships


Little Manila Rising

The Community Action Fund is an innovative grant program that supports California community-based organizations by building their capacity to partner with university schools and programs of public health on community-driven projects that advance health and equity.

$130K+ in grants disbursed in 2023

7 local California community-based organizations received funding in the grant program's first year

1M+ Californians estimated to be reached by CAF-funded projects

PHI’s California Alliance of Academics and Communities for Public Health Equity (the Alliance) is a statewide policy, training and research collaboration. The Alliance brings together California communities disproportionately impacted by health disparities and public health schools and programs, helping to build a common agenda, grow a workforce dedicated to advancing health equity and catalyze equity-driven policy change.

In 2023, the Alliance launched their Community Action Fund (CAF), a grant program that supports California community-based organizations (CBOs) in building their capacity to partner with university schools and programs of public health (SPPH) on projects of the CBO’s own design. The CAF acknowledges the crucial role that advocacy and service organizations play in designing, leading and implementing systemic changes for health and equity—building capacity and power in local communities while providing the financial support needed to devote staff resources to work alongside SPPHs.


Michael Rodriguez, MD, MPH
In the past twenty years there has been discussion in the field about the importance of directly supporting the work of communities most impacted by health inequities, but little has improved. With the Community Action Fund (CAF), the Alliance aims to catalyze a social movement by investing in those organizations that know what works best for their communities. Michael Rodriguez

Director, California Alliance of Academics and Communities for Public Health Equity

The inaugural 2023 funding round prioritized projects that worked in one or more of the following areas: Building an equity-minded workforce; Climate change and environmental justice; and Violence prevention. Each project is a collaboration between a supported community organization and a California-based SPPH.

After a robust selection process with over 50 applicants, the Alliance announced seven organizations that received grants totaling more than $130,000—and who, collectively, are estimated to reach over 1 million Californians through their CAF projects. Selected projects cover a variety of regions throughout California and have a strong focus on historically excluded or marginalized communities and authentic community engagement.

The funded CBOs include:

  • La Clínica de La Raza 
  • Little Manila Rising
  • Local Clean Energy Alliance
  • Mixteco Indigena Community Organizing Project
  • Raizes Collective
  • San Diego Youth Services 
  • Youth Leadership Institute

Participating academic partner institutions include California State University, East Bay; California State University, Bakersfield; California State University, Fresno; University of California, Berkeley; University of California, Los Angeles; University of San Francisco; and State Diego State University.

In January 2024, the Alliance announced a reinvestment of an additional $44,450 to the CAF. This supplemental funding for 2023 CAF recipients is further increasing the capacity of the selected community-based organizations to advance local solutions that support the communities most impacted by health inequities.

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