The California Wellness Foundation has named Alex M. Johnson as the program director for their grantmaking efforts around violence prevention.
“For the past 18 years, Alex has been working one way or another to advance equity for underrepresented groups,” Fatima Angeles, vice president of programs at Cal Wellness, said in a press release. “He has a passion for justice, and he will continue to be a force for good in this new role. We are fortunate to have him on our team.”
Johnson previously served as executive director for the Children’s Defense Fund – California until 2016, when he joined Californians for Safety and Justice as the organization’s managing director.
Johnson is also the current president of the Los Angeles County Board of Education. Before joining CDF-CA, he worked as a senior policy advisor to Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.
“We are at a unique period in time in which individuals and communities are passionately, and strategically seeking possibilities – possibilities for healing, for peace, for safety and health, and for justice,” Johnson said in the press release. “Cal Wellness has always been at the forefront of finding solutions and focusing on what’s possible, and I’m excited to be a part of that energy and vision to bring the possible to fruition.”
In addition to the news of Johnson’s hire, Cal Wellness has recently announced the grantees for their Advancing Wellness project, which will disburse $13.4 million of philanthropic funding into California communities.
Three-quarters of a million dollars is earmarked for foster youth and those touched by the juvenile justice system. The grantees are:
California Youth Connection, an Oakland-based nonprofit which focuses on youth-led policy reform around issues impacting the state’s foster youth, garnered a $250,000 grant to sustain their core work.
The Office of Foster Youth Support Services at the University of California, Riverside, will also receive $250,000 from Cal Wellness. In collaboration with the Guardian Scholars Program, the Office of Foster Youth Support Services connects students to various resources and supports, including assistance with registration, enrollment and financial aid; mentoring and social programming; and access to scholarships and emergency funds.
The Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, a San Francisco based group working to end incarceration, was also awarded $250,000.