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Three years into its 10-year, $1 billion commitment to Building Healthy Communities (BHC), leaders of The California Endowment (TCE) decided to hit the pause button and commission an external assessment of the implementation of its strategy to date. Their bold move helped unearth crucial insights to help them strengthen, improve, and build on the work already in progress in their ambitious program to improve the health status of all Californians.

Top Takeaways

  1. Efforts to increase the capacity of adults and youth to organize and participate in statewide policy campaigns and strengthen organizing capacity in communities are critically important to supporting community health. 
  2. Inherent in any complex strategy are tensions which should be observed, reflected on, and discussed so that they serve to further progress, rather than hinder the strategy.
  3. One such tension is that an emergent strategy requires both responsiveness to a dynamic, changing context and a relentless pursuit of a specific set of clearly defined goals.
The California Endowment (TCE) leaders acknowledge that they are ‘learning while they are doing,’ which is bold, courageous, and risky.