Fresno to Host 2019 California Economic Summit

610 200 California Economic Summit

Contact: Ed Coghlan, CA Fwd

FRESNO, Calif. (Nov. 16, 2018) – The 2019 California Economic Summit annual meeting will be held in Fresno on November 7-8. It marks the first time the Summit will be hosted in the Central Valley. The announcement was made by California Forward and the California Stewardship Network today at the conclusion of the 2018 Summit in Santa Rosa. The two-day event attracted more than 500 public, private and civic sector leaders from across California.

“We are thrilled that California Forward and the California Stewardship Network have selected Fresno to host the Summit,” said Fresno Mayor Lee Brand. “The people of Fresno will extend a hearty welcome to the hundreds of influential people who will be coming from all over the state.”

The Summit has emerged as the only statewide meeting with a comprehensive agenda for taking on the challenges of our time: reducing California’s highest-in-the-nation poverty rate; rebuilding our middle class; restoring economic security and building community resiliency in a time of increasing global integration; greater automation; and climate change.

Summit Co-chair Lenny Mendonca read a letter from California Governor-elect Gavin Newsom at Friday afternoon’s closing plenary. It read, in part:

“I am eager to see the Summit’s ideas for how we can create more resilient communities, and for how we can revive rural resource-based economies in ways that also reduce catastrophic fires and support our climate change goals.”

Newsom has been integral to the California Economic Summit since it began seven years ago.

The Summit has championed initiatives aimed at the triple bottom line: seeking to simultaneously advance economic growth, ensure environmental quality and provide opportunity for all.

“In spite of California’s commendable economic performance, the California Dream has become an empty promise for many Californians, particularly for in-land residents,” said Pete Weber of Fresno, who is co-chair of California Forward’s Leadership Council. “It Is unacceptable that California has the highest rate of poverty in the nation and one-third of the nation’s welfare recipients. Our aim is to fix these problems.”

A highlight of the 2019 Summit will be the release of the “California Dream Index,” which will give Summit attendees an opportunity to help map pathways for restoration of upward mobility for all Californians.

Fresno and the Central Valley have been well-represented on California Forward’s leadership Council. In addition to Pete Weber, Central Valley Community Foundation CEO Ashley Swearengin currently serves, while Judge Chuck Poochigian and former Assembly Member Juan Arambula are both former members. The Fresno Business Council is one of 15 regional organizations to make up the California Stewardship Network.


California Forward (CA Fwd) is a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization, devoted to improving the performance of government in California. It believes that increased emphasis on accountability and transparency will create government that Californians deserve and expect. CA Fwd strongly advocates for confidence and trust in elected officials as being an essential ingredient to good government. 


The California Stewardship Network is an alliance of regional leaders committed to the economic, environmental and social wellbeing of our regions and our state. Our ongoing commitment is to grow our circle of steward leaders across California by documenting and sharing Promising Practices and by supporting the development of new regional stewardship teams.


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