CA FWD’s policy work groups are created in consultation with members of the California Stewardship Network (CSN), regional practitioners and statewide thought leaders through a process that identifies the issues that matter most to cross-sector civic leaders throughout the state. Every year, each work group identifies a set of priorities that are critical to advancing the policy priorities of CA FWD. These priorities are presented during a working session at the California Economic Summit and integrated into the Roadmap to Shared Prosperity, which charts a collective action agenda for the coming year.
Being launched this year at the California Economic Summit is the Advancing Inclusive Regional Economies (AIRE) work group whose purpose is to support and empower California’s unique regions in advancing inclusive economies through inter-regional visioning, advocacy and sharing of promising practices. Regions-based strategies center on interconnectivity and collaboration and the leveraging of a region’s assets and opportunities to help address its most pressing challenges. This model places emphasis on cross-sector partnerships that generate multi-benefit solutions to address these challenges.
The unique challenges and needs faced by the state’s regions are spotlighted by CA FWD’s California Dream Index, which tracks 10 indicators of economic mobility. The Income Above Cost of Living indicator, for example, shows the percent of households with incomes above the real cost of living. This metric reveals large regional disparities, with the Central Valley region holding a 56% score in 2020 and the Sacramento region holding 73%.
Through the Community Economic Resilience Fund, the State has incentivized regions to think collectively and work together to pursue inclusive economic development outcomes. The momentum from CERF needs to be leveraged to develop additional pathways for furthering inclusive prosperity in each of California’s regions. The AIRE work group’s goal, therefore, is to elevate the work happening at the regional level.
The ARIE work group has proposed the following key recommendations with the goal of creating opportunities beyond CERF:
- Strengthen and support a regions-based Communities of Practice Group to share learnings and generate promising practices
- Encourage State alignment of other resources and programs towards CERF regions to support each step needed in the CERF process and regional inclusive economic strategy implementation
- Create opportunities and support for learning and alignment within regions
- Create spaces for philanthropic engagement and support
At the 2022 California Economic Summit, AIRE work group session participants will consider these and other ways to drive local actions through a regional mindset and further cultivate support in a way that aligns resources and priorities for sustained activities.