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The California Endowment: Empowering Grassroots Communities



Giving People a Voice


[01:31] Introduction of Dr. Craig Martinez.

[01:59] Introduction of Veronica Garibay and Phoebe Seaton.

[02:27] Craig describes the California Endowment and its mission.

[03:15] Craig explains that health happens in neighborhoods, not just in a doctor’s office.

[04:10] Craig shares why this work is important to him.

[05:27] What is the geographic description of the San Joaquin Valley, and what are the economic and social conditions there?

[07:00] What are the health outcomes overall within San Joaquin Valley?

[09:43] Craig shares that there’s a benefit to building healthier communities to get better health outcomes.

[11:26] Veronica describes the organization of the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability.

[15:23] What steps are needed to give people a voice when they aren’t being heard in their communities?

[20:01] Phoebe shares why this work is important to her.

[21:22] Veronica shares why this work is important to her.

[23:54] Craig shares that the people who produce the food for the country don’t have the most basic quality of life.

[25:26] Craig explains how the California Endowment and the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability are working together.

[28:10] Phoebe and Veronica explain the partnership of the work they’ve been doing together with the California Endowment.

[30:32] Phoebe and Craig share how people can access their work and get in touch with them.

[32:03] Craig, Phoebe, and Veronica share one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.

[32:45] Veronica, Phoebe, and Craig share the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.

[33:25] Veronica, Phoebe, and Craig explain what the San Joaquin Valley looks like 30 years from now.


Dr. Craig Martinez, joined The California Endowment in May 2012 as a program manager to work towards policy and systems changes that will result in improved neighborhood environments that support health. Prior to joining The Endowment, Dr. Martinez served as a health policy advisor in the Health Policy Office of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee. He is based in The California Endowment’s Los Angeles office.

Veronica Garibay is Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability. Veronica immigrated from Michoacan, Mexico at a young age along with her parents and four siblings to the City of Parlier in Fresno County. Veronica grew up in this small farmworker town and graduated from Parlier Unified District Schools. As a first generation student, she attended the University of California, Santa Barbara where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Law and Society in 2008. Upon graduation, Veronica joined the California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. Community Equity Initiative (CEI) as the programs first Community Worker. While at CRLA Veronica earned a Master of Public Administration from Fresno State.

Phoebe Seaton is Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability. Prior to launching Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, Phoebe directed the Community Equity Initiative (CEI) at California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. and was the Policy Coordinator for issues related to water and land use at California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation. She initiated the CEI to address critical infrastructure and service deficits in low income, unincorporated communities in California. She and her colleagues at CRLA litigated civil rights and fair housing claims and maintained a robust writ practice, litigating against local and state agencies. At CRLA, Seaton also directed the organization’s Delano office and engaged in legal advocacy on Housing and Employment claims. She received her JD from UCLA and her BA in History from UC Berkeley. Prior to and during law school, Phoebe worked in Guatemala, addressing human rights violations.


The California Endowment’s mission is to expand access to affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities and to promote fundamental improvements in the health status of all Californians. They focus on fixing broken systems and outdated policies, ensuring the balance of power is with the people. The goal is simple: First, change the way people view health—from the notion that health happens in the doctor’s office to a belief that health happens where you live, work, learn, and play. The California Endowment calls this “narrative change.” Second, integrate smart solutions in communities across the state. The California Endowment does this by working with our partners and grantees to fundamentally change “the rules”—laws, policies, and systems—that impede health in our communities. They are changing the narrative around health to ensure health and justice for all.

The Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability is a not-for-profit based in the agriculturally rich San Joaquin and East Coachella Valleys that works alongside the most impacted communities to advocate for sound policy and eradicate injustice to secure equal access to opportunity regardless of wealth, race, income, and place. Through community organizing, research, legal representation and policy advocacy the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability will impact land use and transportation planning, shift public investment priorities, guide environmental policy, and promote the provision of basic infrastructure and services. In collaboration with local and statewide advocates, Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability will reverse trends that have reigned throughout our history and confront the inequality and deficiencies that continue to plague this state.


“For example, if a doctor says to someone who has a chronic disease, ‘You need to eat healthier,’ and in their community they’re not able to access fresh fruits and vegetables, that points to the importance of having those resources in the community.”

“It’s really hard to promote healthy communities when you don’t have those things in place that help to promote healthy behaviors.”

“What was really important was developing that relationship and the trust with community residents, that we were an organization that isn’t going to drive the agenda; we’re going to be a tool to support their agenda and support their priorities.”


The California Endowment

Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability

California Communities Environmental Health Screening Tool (CalEnviroScreen)


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