ABOUT US

California Forward (CA FWD) leads a statewide movement, bringing people together across communities, regions and interests to improve government and create inclusive, sustainable growth for everyone.

A 501(c)(3) organization, CA FWD drives collective action to identify solutions that can be taken to scale to meet the challenges the state is facing. The organization is driven by the belief that the collective impact of regional solutions across the state will help ensure the economic, environmental and social prosperity of all people.

CA FWD serves as the backbone for the California Stewardship Network, an alliance of regional leaders, and is home to the California Economic Summit and the California Dream Index. Since 2019, the organization has partnered with the Newsom Administration on the Regions Rise Together Initiative, organizing convenings with regional leaders to lift up and empower regional approaches to economic development. In 2020, CA FWD launched the Young Leaders Advisory Council, to ensure marginalized youth and young adults from diverse regions, communities, races and ethnicities have a voice in advancing access to greater economic prosperity for all Californians.

The Values That Drive Us

Equity

We envision a state where Californians of every region, race and creed prosper and where government is effective, transparent and accountable to them.

Stewardship

We believe that the solutions to the state’s most pressing challenges must be rooted in a triple bottom line approach that balances social equity, environmental sustainability, and economic opportunity.

Diversity

We empower collective action to create lasting and inclusive change by bringing people together who have different demographic backgrounds, regional communities, lived experiences, and political and sectoral perspectives. As a multi-partisan organization, we work to lift all voices.

Accountability

We hold ourselves and state leaders accountable for progress, relying on trusted data to inform and move policy forward.

Courage

We have the courage to speak out against policies that will stand in the way of achieving shared prosperity for all and to provide bold new alternative practices and policies that will help our state and communities thrive.

Reform Achieved

These values are also represented in reforms CA FWD has been involved with that fortify California’s governance. Since its launch in 2008, the organization has had a successful track record of proposing, endorsing and promoting a variety of reforms that have positively impacted the residents of California:

Create Accountability for Results

Citizens Redistricting

Prop 11 in 2008 took the decennial job of drawing political boundaries away from lawmakers and gave it to citizens to reduce partisan gerrymandering.

Top-Two Primary

Prop 14 in 2010 gave every voter the right to vote for all candidates in primary elections, giving politicians an incentive to appeal to all voters in their districts.

Term Limit Reform

Prop 28 in 2012 allowed state lawmakers to serve up to 12 years in either house of the Legislature, giving them a chance to build expertise and relationships.

Public Records Reform

Prop 42 in 2014 affirmed in the constitution the public’s right to local government records.

Ballot Initiative Reform

SB 1253 in 2014 increased public review of proposed ballot measures, increased transparency about supporters and encouraged legislative solutions.

Simple Majority Vote for the State Budget

Prop 25 in 2010 made it harder for partisan stalemates to hold up funding for essential state and community services.

Rainy Day Fund

Prop 2 in 2014 provided a mechanism for managing volatile revenue and saving money to provide essential services during economic recessions.

Legislator Suspension Reform

Prop 50 in 2016 gave the California Legislature clear authority to suspend members of the Senate or the Assembly without pay.

California Legislative Transparency Act

Prop 54, approved in 2016, requires the Legislature to distribute and post online legislation in its final form for at least 72 hours before a final floor vote by either house, to post online a video recording of every legislative meeting that is supposed to be open to the public, and to allow all individuals to create and share their own recordings of legislative proceedings.

Promote Cost-effective Public Services

California Legislative Transparency Act

Prop 54, approved in 2016, requires the Legislature to distribute and post online legislation in its final form for at least 72 hours before a final floor vote by either house, to post online a video recording of every legislative meeting that is supposed to be open to the public, and to allow all individuals to create and share their own recordings of legislative proceedings.

K-12 schools

CA FWD helped school districts use new authority and resources to close the achievement gap.

Grow Middle-class Jobs

Infrastructure Financing Tools

CA FWD and its Summit network has crafted and advocated for new local authority to finance infrastructure that supports jobs, communities and the environment and continue to work on improvements.

Workforce Investments

CA FWD and its Summit network has worked to steer state resources toward programs that increase job skills for a new generation of middle-class wage earners. In 2016 the state budget included $200 million for the Strong Workforce program to upgrade career technical programs which will train the state’s 21st century workforce at California’s Community Colleges.

Good Jobs

The California Economic Summit is leading a regions-driven effort to identify solutions that influence state actions to encourage job growth.