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Emerging Practices: Integrating a Racial Equity Lens - A BAHFG Program

Monday, July 11, 2016 -
12:30pm to 3:30pm PDT
Northern California Grantmakers
160 Spear Street, Suite 360, San Francisco, CA 94105
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Right now, despite our values, the race of a person and their zip code still determines how long and healthy a life they’ll live.

If you were a health foundation, how would you go about changing this?

The California Endowment has dug deeply into this question and developed a racial equity approach that assesses its own internal policies and practices and includes targeted grantmaking strategies to support racial equity. 

Racial equity means working to address root causes of inequities, with the goal that race is no longer a predictor of negative outcomes. Activities include elimination of policies, practices, attitudes and cultural messages that reinforce structural racism. Many foundations share this interest, and several have begun integrating a racial equity lens in their mission and goals. 

Join the Bay Area Health Funders Group, a network of multi-sector health advocates who come together to share learnings and spark ideas for collaborative action, for a panel discussion on the Endowment’s lessons learned and emerging best practices when applying a racial equity lens.   The program will also feature Judith Bell, Vice President of Programs at the San Francisco Foundation who will share their new regional equity agenda focused on expanding racial and economic opportunity.  After the panel, The Endowment team will lead us through a hands-on workshop, offering participants an opportunity to be among the first to test its new Equity Impact Assessment Tool and review its Diversity Audit, of the organizational diversity and inclusion policies and practices.  

Come Join Us to

  • Learn how evidence-based approaches have enabled the Endowment to achieve its organizational and community goals.  

  • Hear emerging practices currently being used on a statewide, regional and local levels.

  • Consider how to apply a racial equity lens to address barriers and develop community-based solutions.

  • Access never-released tools designed to help foundations apply a racial equity frame to their work. 


  • 12:30pm- 1:00pm: Pre- Workshop Networking Lunch

  • 1:00-2:00pm- Panel Discussion  

  • 2:00-3:30pm- Equity Assessment Tool workshop 


  • Judith Bell, Vice President of Programs, The San Francisco Foundation 

  • Mona Jhawar, Evaluation Manager, The California Endowment 

  • Sandra Witt, Director, Building Healthy Communities, The California Endowment

  • Dianne Yamashiro-Omi, Interim Program Officer, Community Health, The San Francisco Foundation 

Targeted Audience

This event is open to program, evaluation and operation staff of foundations. 

About the Bay Area Health Funders Group (BAHFG)

Bay Area Health Funders Group gathers in common cause toward the well-being of our communities. Funders from a spectrum of interest areas identify shared concerns and areas where they can support each other’s priorities.

Network members fund critical health issues such as access and equity and also welcome partners making investments to help build healthy communities more broadly, including nutritious foods, early childhood education, family services and environmental health. 

Speaker Bios

Judith Bell is the Vice President of Programs at The San Francisco Foundation. Judith brings extensive experience in strategic planning and policy development, with a focus on economic and social equity to the Foundation. Previous to joining the Foundation, Judith was the President of PolicyLink where she had been since its inception, becoming President in 2004. As President, Judith worked to develop the organization into a national leader on a range of equity issues, with her particular focus being policy development and campaign strategy at the local, state, and national levels. Her leadership helped ignite a new national narrative around access and opportunity for all people with a focus on improving health and infrastructure, including increasing access to healthy foods.

Judith contributed to the successful establishment of the national Healthy Food Financing Initiative and the Convergence Partnership, which brings together some of the nation’s largest foundations to collectively advance healthy people and healthy places through the many touchstones of health and equity, including the food system, community economic development, and prevention. She also played a leadership role in launching and advancing the federal Promise Neighborhoods program and helped create the Promise Neighborhoods Institute at PolicyLink.

Before PolicyLink, Judith directed the West Coast Regional Office of Consumers Union where she engaged in efforts to improve the quality of life for all consumers, particularly in access to health care. She spearheaded a campaign to preserve more than $14 billion in charitable assets, resulting in the creation of several foundations in California and across the country. She is a regular writer for news outlets and academic publications and has authored several studies including, Why Place and Race Matter: Impacting Health through a Focus on Race and Place. She is a frequent speaker, trainer, and consultant on advocacy strategy.

She holds an undergraduate degree from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a master’s of public administration from Harvard University where she was a Lucius Littauer fellow.

Moninder-Mona K. Jhawar is the Learning and Evaluation Manager at the California Endowment and has over 15 years of experience within the public health sector.

Since 2008, she has worked within this role to leverage opportunities for learning and to synthesize contributions towards achieving impact through TCE’s current Building Healthy Communities efforts. Organizational learning is an additional aspect of her work that includes overseeing TCE’s diversity, equity, and inclusion audit. 

Sandra Witt joined The California Endowment in August 2011 as director of Healthy Communities North. Witt is responsible for advancing the vision and strategic direction, as well as helping achieve established goals and outcomes, through The Endowment’s philanthropic efforts in Northern California.

Prior to joining The Endowment, Witt served as the Deputy Director of Planning, Policy and Health Equity for the Alameda County Public Health Department where she was responsible for ensuring that programs and policies were accurate, effective and responsive to County residents, and consistent with the goal of eliminating health inequities. Concurrent to that role, she also served as the director of the Community Assessment, Planning, Education and Evaluation (CAPE) Unit of the Alameda County Public Health Department for which she developed and directed a unit of epidemiologists, evaluators and health educators responsible for assessing and monitoring the health status of County residents, and providing technical assistance to county, department, and community programs. In this capacity, she received an Outstanding Manager of the Year award.

With more than 20 years of experience in the field of public health, Witt has served in a variety capacities, including as an epidemiologist/community researcher for the Alameda Public Health Department (1998-1999); public health consultant for the International Health Programs of the Western Consortium for Public Health in Santa Cruz, CA (1997); and as a health and development program officer and consultant for the International Development Research Centre in Ottawa, Canada (1985-1990).

Witt received a Fulbright-Hayes Fellowship and Inter-American Foundation sponsorship for her doctoral dissertation research, “Child Health, Resilient Households and Protective Practices in Ecuador Shantytown.” She earned Dr.PH. in Maternal and Child Health from the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley. She also holds a Masters in Public Health and a Masters in Latin American Studies/Anthropology.

Dianne Yamashiro-Omi has served in the field of philanthropy for close to 30 years as a program officer and consultant for private and corporate foundations in the Bay Area.  Most recently, Dianne was the Program Manager for Equity and Diversity at the California Endowment, overseeing the foundation’s first diversity audit and publication of the Foundation Diversity Toolkit, a compilation of local and national foundation diversity policies and practices. She also instituted TCE's Racial Justice Institute, a series of trainings on structural racialization in partnership with Dr. John Powell of UC Berkeley’s Haas Diversity Research Center. 

Prior work includes focus on building the field of cultural competency and language access in health systems. Ms. Yamashiro-Omi is the recipient of the 2008 National Fundraising Executive’s Outstanding Philanthropy Professional, a founding member of Asian Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP), former Board member of Grantmakers Concerned for Immigrant and Refugees (GCIR), the Northern California Grantmakers (NCG), and current Vice-Chair of the California Commission on Asian Pacific Islander Affairs and a member of the Council on Foundation’s Advisory Committee on Diversity and Inclusivity.

Prior to joining The Endowment, she served as a foundation consultant with a number of organizations including the Levi Strauss Foundation, the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund, the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund, the Asian Pacific American Community Fund and the San Francisco Foundation.

Yamashiro-Omi also served as a program officer with the Koret Foundation and the Gap Foundation. In addition, she served as executive director, Board member and volunteer for a number of non-profits in the Bay Area.

Yamashiro-Omi holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Science from U.C. Berkeley and a teaching credential from the University of San Francisco.