Happy new year!

This year, the Sierra Health Foundation and The Center are focused on ensuring that community-based nonprofits and underserved communities have the assistance they need to participate in and benefit from recovery-focused initiatives. We are honored to take up this charge.

One month into 2023 and it’s clear that public investments are shifting from responding to the COVID-19 pandemic to recovering from it. The shift will happen simultaneously at the local, state and national levels. The impending funding reductions across a broad array of public services will significantly impact the health and well-being of communities across California.

Programs established to respond to the pandemic’s impact on our physical and behavioral health, education and economy are ramping down. Also, at risk are the community health worker jobs that leveraged the connections of trusted community members into effective COVID services.

These critical roles and the organizations and community residents who took them on were integral to our public health systems’ ability to engage people who were most vulnerable to or skeptical about COVID. These organizations and residents facilitated people’s participation in services they needed to protect themselves, their families and communities.

Over the past three years, the Sierra Health Foundation was an active COVID response funder and The Center was an intermediary. We witnessed firsthand the creativity, commitment and ingenuity of community-based nonprofits and their staffs. Their leadership transformed pandemic recovery.

We believe community must be at the center of all recovery efforts. For us to successfully and equitably recover, nonprofits must organize, innovate and engage their communities.

From building affordable housing to providing the human capital required to develop an equitable climate-resilient and carbon-neutral infrastructure, community-based organizations are well placed to create the healthy future we all seek.

We look forward to partnering with public and private funders who share this vision, and most importantly, with community-based organizations who are essential to our success.

Together, we can take what we learned during the pandemic and work alongside communities to build back healthier, stronger and more equitable.

Chet P. Hewitt