To advance governance and fiscal reforms that lead to a more responsive, effective and accountable government in California.
California's governing and fiscal systems are not well adapted to the state's complex and diverse society. The current political system often rewards partisanship over problem solving; fiscal decisions are frequently made according to considerations of short-term gains, rather than long-term impact; and important policy decisions generally lack representative public input.
In order to meet California’s challenges, we must address these more systemic problems. California must have governing and fiscal systems that are responsive to residents' needs and perspectives, effective in allocating public resources and accountable for achieving the results Californians rightfully expect from our government.
In 2007, the Irvine Foundation partnered with four other California foundations — The California Endowment, the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation — to support California Forward, an organization that is leading a bipartisan effort to improve California's fiscal and governing systems. California Forward received three-year grants from the five foundations totaling $15.9 million in August 2007. The foundations also plan to fund an evaluation that would provide ongoing analysis of California Forward's progress and continuing challenges.
California Forward was created by four respected civic organizations — California Common Cause, Center for Governmental Studies, New California Network and The Commonwealth Club of California's Voices of Reform Project — in response to an invitation by the five foundations. The foundations requested that they develop a bipartisan approach for advancing governance and fiscal reforms that would incorporate lessons of past efforts and would tap into existing expertise in these fields.
Bipartisan, Inclusive Approach
Key elements of California Forward’s approach include the following:
- A bipartisan Leadership Council, comprised of statewide leaders, sets the priorities for the organization.
- California Forward is reaching out to all sectors of society, including state and local public officials, private sector leaders, diverse community organizations and civic leaders, in developing and advancing its reform agenda.
- The organization is using a project-based approach, targeting specific areas of reform in a sequenced manner, toward the goal of achieving a comprehensive set of improvements to California's governing and fiscal structures.
More information about California Forward is available at www.cafwd.org.