The California Endowment today announced that Jasmine Dellafosse, a Senior Regional Organizer with Gathering for Justice working to close youth prisons in California, and Harold Grigsby III, who worked for Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs to help establish the city-wide scholarship program Stockton Scholars, were selected by their community to serve on the health foundation’s President’s Youth Council (PYC). The PYC is an advisory body of youth leaders that provide authentic youth perspective, thought leadership and candid feedback on The California Endowment’s strategies in pursuit of health and justice. Created by The Endowment’s President & CEO Robert K. Ross, MD, seven years ago, the 12-member PYC is a genuine effort to integrate youth input and decision making into The Endowment’s current 10-year Building Healthy Communities plan and its next strategic plan to launch in April 2021.
“More often than not, information about the effectiveness and impact of our work comes in the form of thoughtfully crafted memos from staff, PowerPoint presentations, and glossy evaluation reports with charts and graphics, all of which have been carefully and surgically created and edited,” said The Endowment’s President & CEO Robert K. Ross, MD. “These young leaders provide me with thoughtful, yet candid feedback that has pushed me and the foundation out of our strategic comfort zones to be more courageous about using our foundation’s brand and voice in the advocacy arena.”
The PYC and their hundreds of activist youth colleagues networked across California have demonstrated how connecting young leaders across the state can lead to positive, state-level and statewide policy change. A prime example of this is evidenced by the success of California’s common-sense school discipline reform efforts to move dollars from incarceration to prevention, for which youth played an integral role and resulted in significant local and state policies
“Places like Stockton are often kept out of the larger statewide conversations and investments, so it is a great honor to serve this council that helps drive change at a local and state level,” said PYC Member Jasmine Dellafosse. “In my experience as young organizer, the most important investment is an investment in our people. Through PYC we are able to push our leaders to make more intentional investments that will address the racial and health disparities in our communities.”
The PYC is supported by two foundation staff who provide meeting logistics and structure and meets three to four times annually. Members range in age from 16-25 years old and each serves an average of three to six-year terms. PYC members are diverse, represent underserved communities across California and are nominated by their respective communities to serve on the council. Click here for a complete list of PYC members with their photos and bios. Click here to read a blog by The Endowment’s President & CEO about the President’s Youth Council.
“Youth are often told to wait their turn and be patient, but the issues that we care about are urgent for our communities and require immediate responses,” said PYC Member Harold Grigsby III. “The PYC has given me the agency to help my community now, instead of sitting on the sidelines waiting.”
The California Endowment, a private, statewide health foundation, was established in 1996 to expand access to, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities, and to promote fundamental affordable improvements in the health status of all Californians. The Endowment challenges the conventional wisdom that medical settings and individual choices are solely responsible for people's health. At its core, The Endowment believes that health happens in neighborhoods, schools, and with prevention. Learn more at www.calendow.org.