The Center for Civic Partnerships, based in Sacramento, CA, is a support organization that strengthens individuals, organizations, and communities by facilitating learning, leadership development, and networking. The Center has extensive experience providing technical support to over 200 cities, communities, and organizations in California and across the nation. In addition, the Center sponsors educational programs and develops resource materials for funders, local policy-makers and government administrators, nonprofit organizations and community members. The Center’s main areas of focus are community-building and organizational development with a cross-cutting emphasis on sustainability.
The Center’s parent organization is the Public Health Institute (PHI). PHI is the nation’s leading independent nonprofit organization attracting inspired leaders who are committed to saving lives and improving quality of life by strengthening public health locally and globally. PHI has two complementary focuses: as a partner with government to support its role in public health assessment, policy development and assurance; and to promote and sustain independent, innovative research, training and demonstration programs. For more than 40 years, PHI has been on the forefront of tackling some of the nation’s most complex and challenging public health issues.
The Center was created out of what was initially the California Healthy Cities Project. In 1987, Joan Twiss, Director of the Center, received a modest grant $249,000 for 18 months from the Preventive Health Services Block grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, administered by the California Department of Health. The project later became California Healthy Cities and Communities (CHCC). After the addition of new programs to assist cities, communities, and organizations, in 1996 CHCC was brought under the inclusive name of the Center for Civic Partnerships.
The Center has a strong reputation for successfully managing multiple, concurrent projects and adhering to project timelines and deliverables. Center projects are enhanced by the breadth and depth of experience provided by staff in program planning, implementation and evaluation; technical support and training; policy development; community development; population health; working with diverse populations; development and oversight of competitive grants programs; fiscal management and fund development. The Center has a multidisciplinary staff with expertise in community-building, organizational development, public health, and public administration.
Programs, Services and Products
California Healthy Cities and Communities (CHCC)
CHCC has been a leader in the national healthy communities movement since 1988 with the establishment of the first domestic statewide program. The program promotes a positive physical, social and economic environment that supports the well-being of its members through: broad participation in identifying needs, mobilizing community assets, planning and implementing solutions; collaborative partnerships among public agencies, the private sector and community-based organizations to optimize community resources; programs, policies and plans to promote and protect health and foster greater equity; and ongoing monitoring and feedback on programs and policies to ensure quality and appropriateness. In addition, the program offers its members educational programs, technical assistance, grants and resource brokering to support and sustain communities, a quarterly newsletter, website, listserv, planning and resource guides, and access to many other publications. Intensive technical support for CHCC is provided for all participating cities and communities. Annually, CHCC staff visit each community, respond to hundreds of inquiries for information, make dozens of presentations and provide approximately 300 telephone consultations.
The program has received national and state level recognition and awards for its leadership, successful partnerships and publications. Funding includes grants and contracts from multiple public and private sources, including the California Department of Health Services, The California Endowment, and California Nutrition Network for Healthy, Active Families.
In a sweeping demographic transformation, the over-65 population will skyrocket in the next 25 years, reaching record highs and changing the expectations and demands placed on cities and communities across the country. The Center is working with statewide and national leaders on developing and promoting models of healthy aging to help communities better deal with this enormous demographic shift. A May 2006 publication by the Center for Civic Partnerships features an overview of these issues; recommended actions which increase the opportunities for older adults to remain in their homes/communities; promising practices, and resources. The publication will be distributed to key elected and appointed officials in every California city and state level organizations.
The California Healthy Cities and Communities Network
TheNetwork, an annual membership program, is designed to help communities create healthful programs, policies and environments based on a broad definition of health, a shared vision, community representation, collaborative partnerships, asset building and measuring progress. Members have access to: technical assistance; funding opportunities and resources via the Network’s listserv; an electronic peer network to share solutions and best practices; specialized workshops and trainings; discounts on conference fees; and a subscription to Connections, California Healthy Cities and Communities’ quarterly newsletter.
The Community Compass© program is a flexible visioning, assessment and strategic planning service. The focus is to help communities evaluate where their community is today, their desired future and how they’re going to accomplish their goals. With reliable information and consensus—representing the perspectives of multiple sectors within the community—the community can move forward in a more inclusive way.
California Healthy Cities and Communities Resource Guide (1997)
The guide helps people who plan to, or are currently, undertaking a healthy city/community effort. Get ideas for how to implement and evaluate your effort. Find answers to frequently asked questions. Receive examples, samples, tips, tools and resources to assist you. The guide is currently available for $50 (including tax and shipping).
Organizational Development Services Program
The Organizational Development Services (ODS) Program builds capacity among grantees of The California Wellness Foundation by working directly with executive directors to identify and implement improvement strategies in such areas as board development, fund development, strategic planning, fiscal management, staff development, marketing & media strategies, and technology. The ODS program is comprised of several interconnected components including:
- individual support and coaching via on-site visits, phone and email;
- peer support and exchange among executive directors;
- group trainings and facilitation for board, staff and volunteers;
- a mini-grant.
Organizational Learning and Evaluation
The Organizational Learning and Evaluation (OLE) program enhances the capacity for organizational and evaluative learning among grantees of The California Wellness Foundation. The OLE program has two major components – a series of educational offerings (conferences), and a technical support component which will provide more in-depth and tailored support to a smaller group of grantees.
Sustainability Toolkit: 10 Steps to Maintaining Your Community Improvements (2001)
Discover how to sustain the improvements you have made in your community or population. This toolkit takes you through a 10-step process for determining which efforts should be maintained and deciding how to successfully continue them. The toolkit contains examples and stories from communities throughout the nation, activities (with templates on a CD-ROM), sample plans and tips and resources. The toolkit is currently available for $90 (including tax and shipping).
Based on the Sustainability Toolkit, this interactive, hands-on workshop gives participants an opportunity to better understand the issues related to sustainability and exposes them to tools and a process to use to make sustainability decisions. This workshop is ideal for collaboratives, nonprofit organizations or any other groups working to sustain the impact of their work. Fees for this workshop start at $1,500 per day for up to 60 participants.
Additional Areas of Concentration
The Center has extensive experience working with municipal governments, special districts, community-based organizations and residents to plan and implement programmatic, policy and environmental interventions to promote the physical, social and economic well-being of communities.
The Center has extensive experience in serving as an intermediary for program funding, including the development of requests for proposals, the review and selection of awardees and the monitoring of tracking systems. The Center has experience working in this capacity with cities, communities and nonprofit organizations in urban, suburban and rural areas throughout California.
The following is a partial list of publications produced by the Center:
Planning and Educational Products and Tools
- Around the Table, community partnerships for healthier eating (2007)
- A Healthy Community Perspective on Aging Well: New Ideas for an Older California (2006)
- Final Report: Cross Sector Dialogue on Impact of Housing/Land Use and Mobility on Physical Activity and Older Adults (2006)
- Investing in Sustainability, Adding Value in Georgia (2004)
- Fresh Ideas for Community Nutrition and Physical Activity (2002)
- Profiles of Participating California Healthy Cities and Communities (2002, 2000)
- Sustainability Tool Kit (2001)
- Community-Based Systems Change: Getting Started (2001)
- Cities as partners in community-based public health. Policy & Practice, Partnership for the Public’s Health (2001)
- Developing Youth and Community Through Tobacco Prevention (2000)
- Implementation of AB13: The Impact of Social Will on Tobacco Control in California Cities. California Department of Health Services (1999)
- Connections quarterly newsletter, published since 1988
- Twiss, J.M., and Kleinman, T.K. (Eds.) (2003). From organizational practices to public policies: Local strategies to increase healthy eating and physical activity. Sacramento, CA: Public Health Institute.
- Twiss, J.M., et al. Community Gardens: Lessons Learned from California Healthy Cities and Communities. American Journal of Public Health. September 2003, Volume 98, Number 9, 1435-1438. Washington, DC.
- Twiss, J. M., Johnston, M. J., & Deitsch, L. (2002). Building capacity in communities: The role of technical support. Health Promotion Practice.Kegler, M. C., Twiss, J. M. & Look, V. (2000). Assessing community change at multiple levels: The genesis of an evaluation framework for the California Healthy Cities project. Health Education & Behavior, 27 (6), 760-779.
- Kegler, M. C., Twiss, J. M. & Look, V. (2000). Assessing community change at multiple levels: The genesis of an evaluation framework
- Twiss, J. M., Duma, S., Look, V., Shaffer, G. & Watkins, A. (1999). Twelve years and counting: California’s experience with a statewide healthy city and communities program. Public Health Reports, 115, 125-133.
- Twiss, J. M. (1997). California’s healthy cities: Governance in action. National Civic Review, 86 (1), 81-91.
- Hafey, J. M., Twiss, J. M. & Duhl, L. J. (1996). The evolution of the healthy cities and communities movement in the United States. Western Consortium for Public Health.
- Hafey, J. M., Twiss, J. M. & Folkers, L. F. (1991). California. In J. Ashton (Ed.), Healthy Cities (pp. 186-194). Philadelphia, PA: Open University Press.
- Twiss, J. M. (1991). The healthy city: An idea whose time is right. League of California Cities, Western City, 1-4.
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