Meet the foundations that took home NCRP Impact Awards

Award for Large Private Foundation: The California Endowment

Dr. Robert K, Ross, President & CEO The California Endowment

Dr. Robert K, Ross, President & CEO
The California Endowment

In just 18 years, The California Endowment has become a top player in expanding access to affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities. Through its Health Happens Here campaign and Building Healthy Communities plan, the foundation has embraced its role as a changemaker and is making fundamental improvements in the health status of Californians.

Recognizing the opportunity to expand health care in a state where 22 percent of the population was uninsured, the Endowment played a central role in the successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It was one of two major funders that made serious investments in the national coalition, Health Care for America NOW!, without which this landmark legislation would not have succeeded. When the law was debated in the United States Supreme Court, it filed two amicus briefs supporting the ACA. It was no surprise to the Endowment that California was the first state to have its health insurance exchange up and running.

To ensure successful implementation in California, the foundation decided to commit an unprecedented $225 million for ACA outreach, enrollment and implementation. The Endowment led an aggressive multi-year communications campaign to educate uninsured Californians about the laws benefits and to encourage them to enroll. In addition, recognizing that the state’s health care workforce needed to meet the needs of Californians, the Endowment allocated $78 million of its commitment to support health care workforce development.

To date, more than 1.9 million Californians have signed up for Medi-Cal, and an additional 1.4 million through California’s Health Benefit Exchange. California accounts for 17.5 percent of Exchange enrollees and an even larger percentage of new Medicaid enrollees nationwide.

NCRP commends the Endowment’s CEO, Robert K. Ross, MD, who has consistently used his voice to advocate for greater philanthropic support of nonprofit advocacy and community organizing as critical social change strategies. In an article published by the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Dr. Ross writes, “We need to help build the voice, engagement, and power of those living in the most distressed communities. We need to throw our weight behind long-term social change efforts and the movements for social justice.”