The Economic Wellness Initiative is a community-based, county-wide effort that addresses the vital role economic conditions play in family and community health. With over half of Sonoma County families living paycheck to paycheck, our community's well-being is currently at risk.
To address these growing health and economic disparities, the Economic Wellness Initiative was formed in January 2014 by Health Action, a framework and leadership team that supports and coordinates Sonoma County's shared vision of being the healthiest county in California.
Health Action recognizes that access to healthcare is only one piece of the puzzle for helping people stay healthy, and that income is a root cause of health disparity in our community.
In Health Action's 2013-2016 workplan, economic wellness was identified as one of three priority areas, with an over goal that"…Sonoma County families have the economic resources to make ends meet, and lead a long and healthy life."
The Economic Wellness Initiative is coordinated by an operations team comprised of local community, business, labor and agency leaders. The operations team coordinates the agenda, action plan, strategies, evaluation, and partnerships to advance economic wellness in Sonoma County, including:
- Supporting neighborhood initiatives that address economic root causes of health inequities.
- Advocating for policies and resources that impact income, wealth and health inequities.
- Fostering institutional change by connecting government, business and community programs and services to these efforts.
- Supporting the work with data and research.Work groups focus on the following economic wellness core areas:
- Asset Building and Income Protection - financial stability and independence.
- Jobs – expanding middle-wage job, quality and conditions, youth and senior employment training.
- Housing - affordable, accessible, and safe housing.
Expanding the government's largest poverty fighting effort, the Earned Income Tax Credit.
- The Economic Wellness Initiative supports the expansion of the United Way's Earn It! Keep It! Save It! free tax preparation program and provides financial education and resource coaching support to tax preparation sites throughout the county.
Integrating economic empowerment strategies and tools into existing services.
- Providing financial resource coach training for community partners.
- Launching the "Money Matters" pilot project with the Maternal, Child, Adolescent Health home visiting program.
- Launching the "Taking Charge" pilot project with the Women, Infant, Children (WIC) nutrition program.
Ag Innovations Network
CA Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Economic Development Board
La Tortilla Factory
Operating Engineers Local 3
Petaluma People Services
Redwood Credit Union
Sonoma County Office of Education