Coalition of Central Valley and Inland Empire leaders delivers a unified message in Stockton

Published by Inland Rising on


Coalition of Central Valley and Inland Empire leaders delivers a unified message in Stockton


Friday, September 20, 2019
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STOCKTON, Calif. – Today in Stockton, California, hosted by Mayor Michael Tubbs, Inland California Rising convened an unprecedented coalition of elected leaders, philanthropists, and nonprofits from across our state for our third regional summit. Today’s event focused on building a world-class cradle-to-career pipeline with the potential to unleash the talents and abilities of all residents, as well as inspiring state and regional philanthropy to invest in ways that transform regions in partnership with communities. 

Approximately 200 community leaders joined us at the University of the Pacific, for a welcoming ceremony, which was followed by several key breakout sessions focusing on education, environment, public health, reinventing the social safety net and talent and technology. 

Participants joining in our discussion included Mayor Michael Tubbs and key members of Governor Gavin Newsom’s Administration, which include Kate Gordon, Director of the Governor’s Office of Planning & Research, Kathleen Kelly Janus, Senior Advisor on Social Innovation, and Lenny Mendonca, Governor Newom’s ChiefEconomic & Business Advisor and Director of the Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development. Other participants included Ashley Swearengin, President & CEO of the Central Valley Community Foundation, Karthick Ramakrishnan, Professor & Director at UCR Center for Social Innovation, Don Howard, CEO of The James Irvine Foundation, Chet Hewitt, President & CEO of the Sierra Health Foundation, Janet Lamkin, President of United Airlines, California, and Micah Weinberg, CEO of California Forward.

“The problems we face are systemic and profound, but they are not insurmountable. Together, Stockton’s regional efforts have been in step with Governor Gavin Newsom’s agenda and his Inland California Rising Initiative,” said Mayor Michael Tubbs. “Thanks to this administration, we have an opportunity to move towards a vision that aligns with our values, rooted in our understanding that throughout this state, everyone, everywhere has value. After today, we must act and implement people-centered solutions to truly build a California for all.”

“We can and will build a California for all by ensuring that people pay attention to all of California,” said Lenny Mendonca, Governor Newsom’s Chief Business and Economic Advisor and Director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. “Our inland communities are places of great opportunity and innovation. As we look ahead to a state of 50 million people by 2050, these communities are where renewed growth and opportunity must take place. We look forward to continuing to partner on locally-driven initiatives – like the ones we saw today – so that all regions rise together.“

“Regions Rise Together is about lifting up the best of what’s happening in California’s regions, and building connections across those regions to help all Californians thrive and build resilience in the face of a changing climate and economy,” said Kate Gordon, Governor Gavin Newsom’s Senior Advisor on Climate and Director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. “I’m happy to be here in Stockton today to listen carefully to residents share what issues matter to them.”

“We appreciate the partnership and leadership of Mayor Tubbs and the Office of the Governor in this  effort to build a powerful and effective community movement for equity, economic inclusion and health in inland California,” said Chet P. Hewitt, president and CEO of Sierra Health Foundation and The Center.”

Today’s meeting is one of a total of four summits which are being held throughout 2019 in our state’s inland communities. The final session will take place in Fresno, California. Our summits help clarify priorities and identify strategies to address common issues, including higher education, health care, housing and transit, economic development and transportation infrastructure.

Inland California Rising draws on leaders from the philanthropic, business, non-profit, and public sectors who are united in their desire to turbo-charge progress for Inland California, in ways that also benefit the state overall. Initial backers of this effort include mayors from the major Inland California cities, foundation CEOs from each community, higher education leaders, and a rapidly growing coalition of civic and community leaders. The Center for Social Innovation at UC Riverside is providing initial data and staff support for Inland California Rising.

The James Irvine Foundation has provided early support to the initiative, which was founded by Ramakrishnan, the center director and Swearengin, the community foundation CEO. The Sierra Health Foundation and United Airlines have provided valuable support for the Stockton convening, and we expect more investors to support Inland California initiatives and partners in the coming months.

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