The California Wellness Foundation:
Youth Violence Prevention
The California Wellness Foundation (TCWF) has been the state’s leading philanthropy tackling the problem of youth violence in California. Their Youth Violence Prevention Initiative, launched in 1993, advanced a public health model of reform addressing two main areas: reducing firearm injury and death, and increasing state resources for youth crime and violence prevention.
Commonweal has consistently promoted the TCWF priority of increasing state resources for crime and violence prevention. Commonweal has tracked state spending for youth crime and violence prevention programs since 1997 (see chart). Commonweal also played a lead role in the creation large state revenue streams supporting youth service programs, including the Schiff-Cardenas Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act (JJCPA) which has supplied more than $1.2 billion for these programs over the last 13 years.
TCWF grantees working on firearm reduction policy were successful as well—promoting new legislative controls on automatic weapons, augmenting rules on handgun safety and encouraging local ordinances to control firearm proliferation.
Though the TCWF initiative ended in 2003, the foundation has continued to provide core support grants to help organizations to sustain the policy and safety gains realized during the Initiative. As a grantee, Commonweal provides the following services:
- Advising the foundation on program and policy development
- Working with state and community leaders to improve supervision and re-entry programs and strategies for juvenile offenders returning to home communities
- Producing detailed analyses (digests) of legislative bills pending in each session of the California legislature, including vote status, and periodic budget reports for advocates and stakeholders
- Policy advocacy to support TCWF violence prevention objectives, though a well-developed network of contacts with state and local policy leaders.