UC Davis Health CEO David Lubarsky joined business and community leaders Monday to announce their commitment to revitalizing some of Sacramento’s most underserved communities.
The five organizations – UC Davis Health, SMUD, Blue Shield of California, Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency and the Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce – pledged a combined $750 million for a long-term effort to revitalize Sacramento’s Promise Zone. Promise Zones are high poverty communities where the federal government partners with local leaders to improve neighborhoods. In Sacramento, the Promise Zone includes 22 square miles of neighborhoods, from Del Paso Heights in the north to The Avenues in the south.
The funding will go toward economic and workforce initiatives that will be implemented over the next three years in the Promise Zone. This work is expected to exceed the pledged amount by taking advantage of partnerships in the community.
“We need to work together to effectively address economic disparities in order to meet the needs of people in our community. This is a core value of our mission – to help the people who need us most,” Lubarsky said. “Economic wellbeing is one of the social determinants of good health, so if we can improve people’s economic health, statistically it’s been proven to improve physical health throughout a person’s life. We hope this vital effort will have far-reaching, positive effects on these communities.”
The leaders signed a memorandum of understanding at SMUD headquarters.
“This is a part of SMUD’s Sustainable Communities Initiative that optimizes our public good investment,” said SMUD CEO and General Manager Arlen Orchard. “By working collaboratively with our partners, we can increase the use of transportation technologies and energy efficiency programs in disadvantaged neighborhoods -- ultimately improving access to resources, air quality and health for everyone in our community.”
The Promise Zone partnership will have three major areas of focus:
• The UC Davis Aggie Square Project is in the center of the Promise Zone. It will have education classes, workforce training, inclusive community spaces, shared workspace, and will actively advertise job openings for community members.
• SMUD’s Sustainable Communities Initiative will focus on improving economic, social and environmental conditions with energy savings and electric vehicle installation projects in the Promise Zone.
• The Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce and Blue Shield of California are working together on a health and wellness training program. The Community Economic Wellness Training and Entrepreneur Academy and Health Training Programs will develop community health workers through science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education in the community.