CA FWD’s commitment to creating inclusive and sustainable growth is driven by supporting interrelated policy action areas that help all Californians prosper. From housing for all, to ecosystems and climate resiliency, these diverse areas are inextricably linked.

The policy priorities listed below are advanced in the coming year with the strength of our collaborative approach, including the California Stewardship Network, the California Economic Summit network and work groups, and our Young Leaders Advisory Council — and we measure our progress with the California Dream Index.

To stay up-to-date on the Action Areas below and receive our weekly CA FWD Newsletter, sign up today!

Priority Actions

For 2022, California Forward has identified the following priority actions.

    Housing for All

Housing has become the primary obstacle to livability in almost every region. High costs are pushing millions of people below the poverty line and many into homelessness. Compounding existing housing challenges, longer commutes negatively impact air quality and worker’s health, while more and more employers struggle to attract and retain skilled workers.

California Forward, together with partners, has risen to this challenge with ambitious policy initiatives and strategic alliances with triple-bottom-line economic development organizations.

“The triple bottom line for housing — equity, environment, economics — requires attainable homeownership for California’s working families.”
-Jennifer Hernandez, CA FWD Leadership Council


  Strengthen local capacity and support homeowners, community-based developers and contractors by bringing together a range of financial tools, partners and programs that will help scale efforts to create affordable, entry-level homes

  Design the California Dream for All program framework to provide financing assistance for qualified homebuyers

  Support legislation that increases the overall supply of housing in the state


Working to Build Affordable Housing for Farmworker Families and Beyond
1024 576 Nadine Ono

The Chavez Foundation includes a team leading efforts to build housing in four western states

Making the Space to Talk Solutions to Homelessness in Tuolumne County
1024 576 Nadine Ono

Dana Butow works to bring the public into conversations about solutions to homelessness in the rural county

State shells out seed money for an ambitious program for homebuyers
1024 576 Fiona Ma and Micah Weinberg

The California Dream for All program would allow the state to invest alongside first-time homebuyers so that they could afford to purchase a home in California

    Ecosystems & Climate Resiliency


Water and land are the most foundational and critical resources on the planet. Consecutive years of drought, flooding, and destructive wildfires demonstrate the varied impacts of climate change and the urgent need for deliberate, impactful action.


  Advocate to ensure California builds on the state’s 2021 $1.5-billion investment for wildfire and forest resilience to reach the $3-5 billion that will be required annually, with a focus on developing the workforce, infrastructure, community capacity, partnerships and regulatory environment needed to address the size and scale of the crisis

  Broaden outreach, coalition-building and regulatory advocacy. Goals include fostering collaboration across diverse communities, sectors and landscapes; addressing barriers to prescribed fire and tribal cultural burning; developing thriving wood products industries; and protecting and enhancing upper watershed health

  Integrate a regional climate adaptation agenda through collaboration with the Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation (ARCCA)

  Develop an energy advocacy plan that incorporates regional variations and ensures a sustainable, reliable and equitable energy system for all Californians


Embedding Climate Across Summit Priorities and Actions
1024 576 Deb Kollars

New California Economic Summit work group aims to build regional resilience to climate impacts

Ffirefighters from Stockton, Calif., put out flames off of Hidden Valley Rd.
Mobilizing to Address California’s Wildfire Crisis
1024 576 Deb Kollars

With an estimated 4.5 million homes near wildfire danger zones, solutions that take on the crisis are growing more critical

Reflecting on Farmworkers’ Journey From Delano to Legislation Signing
1024 576 Ish Herrera

Walking alongside farmworkers reminded of their shared dreams and hope for a better future

A Prescription for the Health Impact of Wildfire Smoke: Controlled Fire
1024 576 Nadine Ono

Study highlights potential of using prescribed fires as part of solution to California’s growing crisis

    Thriving Economies

welder working

By bringing government, business, and civic leaders together to identify regional priorities, share innovations and align with state investments and other policies we can target the root causes of economic insecurity and unsustainable resource management. The result of this unified effort will be the establishment of a functioning system of “California Capitalism” that will be a model for the rest of the nation and the world.


  Advance state-level solutions to capital access barriers faced by small businesses owned by people of color in California

  Support legislation aligned with the principles and recommendations included in the Investing in Small Businesses Owned by People of Color work group framework

  Advance inclusive economic growth by supporting the equitable implementation of the Community Economic Resilience Fund (CERF) and building power and generational wealth for communities of color through the New Paradigm coalition


Why the Data Gap on Small Businesses Owned by People of Color Matters
1024 585 Jennifer Lovett

Addressing the barriers for BIPOC entrepreneurs made more challenging by lack of local data

Redressing Racial Inequity Through Access to Capital
1024 576 Nadine Ono

Summit workgroup aims to reframe lending to support more California small businesses owned by people of color

How to Build a Better Manufacturing Ecosystem in California
1024 576 Jennifer Lovett

Recommendations for sustaining and growing the job-rich sector

    Education Cradle to Career

Graduation hats in the air

California’s learning ecosystem must prepare workers to earn a livable wage.

While educational institutions have the largest role to play, an effective lifelong learning ecosystem requires alignment of strategies and tactics among multiple institutions – from early childhood development and preschool until retirement. To be successful, this approach requires the involvement of stakeholders, political leaders, faith leaders, civic leaders and others. An explicit focus on equity requires identification and dismantling of all obstacles to opportunity.


 Support the recommendations of the Recovery with Equity Task Force report to drive meaningful change in the state’s workforce and higher education systems

 Develop a state policy agenda for cradle to career issues informed by members of the California Stewardship Network and support aligned legislative activity

 Develop cross-sector workforce strategies to ensure California is able to make progress in key strategic areas


How the Number of Higher Wage Jobs Varies Across California’s Regions
1024 576 Patrick Atwater

New measurement shows significant differences in who holds higher wage jobs across demographics and regions

Building a Path from Early Childhood Education to Good Paying Jobs for Californians
1024 576 Jennifer Lovett

A look at new efforts to better align the state’s lifelong learning system

Scholarship Powers Creation of Diverse Pipeline of Electrical Lineworkers in California
1024 576 Nadine Ono

Community engagement leader at Southern California Edison shares how her background helped her build the program

    Connecting California

California Highway

1 in 8 homes in California still lacks access to high-speed broadband through a computing device or smartphone. The public health pandemic has displayed and even added to the current digital divide, disproportionately affecting our most vulnerable communities.

CA FWD believes that investments in infrastructure are vital to providing the access our communities need to stay connected and to thrive.


  Advocate for the state’s historic investments, legislative actions and State Broadband Action Plan to be implemented swiftly, efficiently and effectively in tandem with new federal funding streams.

  Advance regional solutions to the broadband crisis by supporting the work of the Regional Broadband Consortia in advancing solutions tailored to communities

Support efforts that boost the capacity of local leaders and staff to use economic development tools such as Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts that can help local and regional economies capture economic growth and target strategic investments in jobs, infrastructure and housing

“To help close the digital divide that exists in communities across California, the Governor announced at the 2019 California Economic Summit in Fresno that he will convene stakeholders, the private sector, education institutions, and government agencies with a goal of developing an inclusive “Broadband for All” plan for the state.”


Closing California’s Digital Divide through Collective Action
1024 576 Deb Kollars

Although broadband access has expanded significant gaps persist across all regions

State Launches Broadband Portal and Roundtable Gatherings
1024 576 Deb Kollars

California created an online portal and series of virtual roundtables to provide information on efforts to expand broadband access

    Health & Well-being

Venice beach sunset

When people think about maintaining their health, the medical world of doctors, prescriptions, clinics and hospitals often comes to mind. But health professionals, policy experts and community advocates are increasingly embracing a more comprehensive view – one that takes into account the many significant inputs that surround and shape our home and work lives, our health, and our well-being.

Social and environmental factors have a powerful influence on the quality of people’s health. Known as the “Social Determinants of Health,” these conditions shape not only the health of individuals, but the well-being and prosperity of their families, communities, and the state as a whole. When people lack adequate education, income, and economic security and face economic conditions including systemic racism and discrimination, everybody pays.


  Priority Action 1

  Priority Action 2


Central Valley leader champions early investments to transform healthcare for Black communities
1024 576 Amber Bolden

Healthcare administrator promotes sustainable community-based models to address health disparities in the Black community

Creating Equal Access to Oral Health Care
800 300 Jade Magaña and Amber Bolden

Four-year college graduate goes back to school to upskill and contribute to community health

Inland Empire Community Organizations Combat Health Disparities
750 300 Amber Bolden

Free doula services provided to Riverside residents to address significant disparities in maternal wellness

    Government Performance & Accountability

Dome of California State capitol

Since our launch in 2008, CA FWD has been committed to improving government performance and accountability. We believe all Californians regardless deserve state, county and local governments that works for them. 

We have had a successful track record of proposing, endorsing and promoting a variety of reforms that have positively impacted the residents of California. Learn more here.

   Justice System Change Initiative (JSCI)

In 2014, CA FWD launched the Justice System Change Initiative (JSCI) to help counties transform their incarceration practices to better advocate for public safety and equity while making government more efficient and accountable. JSCI has conducted Jail Utilization Studies (JUS) in five counties – Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Cruz, El Dorado and Merced. Each county’s goal was to address the issue of lowering their jail populations while at the same time not compromising public safety.


How data can drive real justice system change
1024 576 John Guenther

CA FWD’s jail utilization studies showed counties why people were incarcerated and incentivized smarter interventions

Roundtable Presents Discussion on Proposed Accountability Model for Law Enforcement
800 300 John Guenther

Conversation centered on idea to “price out” misconduct in public safety agencies

Reading to their children helps incarcerated parents maintain a powerful connection
610 200 Nadine Ono

Program allows parents in San Bernardino jails to record themselves reading books and sharing personal messages

Want to get more involved lending your time and talent to creating solutions and policies that move the state forward? Let us know by emailing or via our contact form.