In 2008, the Morgan Family Foundation launched the California Stewardship Network as a civic venture, investing in 10 economic regions that agreed to focus on breakthroughs led by stewardship teams composed of business, community and government civic entrepreneurs.
Currently, fifteen diverse regions across California have come together to make up the body of the California Stewardship Network, developing innovative regional solutions to the state’s most pressing economic, environmental, and community challenges. These solutions require “breakthrough innovation” driven by a “new generation” of civic entrepreneurs—diverse regional teams composed of both established and emerging leaders.
Stewardship is the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to us. This Network focuses on the “stewardship of place”—which requires attention to the economic, environmental, and social dimensions of a region.
Civic entrepreneurs are individuals who see an opportunity for change, and bring the same passion and persistence to community problem solving that business entrepreneurs bring to building new ventures. They mobilize teams and collaborate across boundaries to address interrelated economic, environmental, and social challenges. They come from all walks of life—from the business, public, labor, and non-profit sectors. While they have been responsible for important advances in California’s regions over the last decade, it is an enduring challenge to grow and replenish the pool of civic entrepreneurs in a strategic and systematic fashion. Civic entrepreneurs are individuals whose focus is stewardship, whose approach is collaboration, and whose outcomes are innovative solutions.
While each regional team has developed its own stewardship strategy, all share a common approach. These strategies are:
• Effective at integrating economic, social and environmental considerations
• Innovative approach to public-private partnerships
• Successful engagement of business, education, government and community leaders
The teams represent the diversity of California ranging from San Diego, Los Angeles, Ventura County and the Inland Empire in the South to the Sacramento Valley, the Fresno Region, the Bay Area, Monterey Bay and the Central Coast to the Sierra Region, Sonoma and Butte Counties and the Redwood Coast near the Oregon Border. These groups meet on a regular basis and exchange Promising Practices and collaborate on cross-regional initiatives.
In 2019, the California Stewardship Network merged with CA Fwd, a non-profit organization founded in 2008 that advocates for shared prosperity across all of the state’s regions and for improved government performance and accountability. The result is a greatly strengthened organization that possesses a deeper footprint in all corners of the state to identify and promote public policy to benefit all Californians. This civic infrastructure will improve effectiveness in expanding the economic, environment and social wellbeing of our regions.