Key Points

Foundations increasingly recognize that improving conditions in many communities requires addressing inequities in access to rights and resources. Yet there are challenges to effective investment in underresourced regions, especially when foundations have limited familiarity with the region and may assume limited local capacity to leverage philanthropic investments.

This article discusses how Sierra Health Foundation partnered with other California and national foundations to establish the San Joaquin Valley Health Fund, a collaborative whose grants focus on strengthening the capacity of communities and organizations in the Valley to advance policy and systems changes that promote health and racial equity.

This article highlights the groundwork that facilitated the fund’s success, examines the strategies that ensured a community-first orientation, and reflects on how foundations can utilize this approach elsewhere to build the infrastructure needed to advance equity for all.

Open Access