Ellen Braff-Guajardo

HEFN Position: 
Steering Committee Member

Ellen Braff-Guajardo, based in Fresno, California, is a Senior Program Officer with the Sierra Health Foundation. As part of her role, Ellen serves as senior staff supporting the San Joaquin Valley Health Fund (SJVHF), a community-first funder collaborative whose mission is to advance health and racial equity across the vast San Joaquin Valley region of California. As of January 2019, the SJVHF has 18 funder partners and over 90 community organization partners. The SJVHF's community-driven policy platform identifies the following priority areas: environmental justice, immigrant rights, health access, education equity, and equitable housing and land use policies.

Ellen draws on her extensive philanthropic and nonprofit knowledge and experience to support organizations and leaders tackling some of the worst health outcomes and environmental conditions in California. Most recently, Ellen served as a national program officer for W.K. Kellogg Foundation on the Food, Health and Well-Being (Healthy Kids) Team, where she developed and led a national strategic grantmaking portfolio in support of healthy community and health equity with a focus on policy and systems change. Ellen spent the bulk of her career as an attorney and project director with California Rural Legal Assistance.

My Grantmaking Focus Is On: 

Supporting a movement in the San Joaquin Valley of California to advance health and equity so that everyone has true opportunity to thrive and prosper in a safe and healthy environment.

What Drew Me Into HEFN Leadership: 

Kathy Sessions is very persistent! (and environmental justice work and integrated civic engagement work is where it is)

I See the HEFN Community Making a Difference: 

HEFN matters. Without healthy environments, you can’t have quality education, quality housing, quality land-use, quality transportation, quality food systems, quality anything ….. HEFN matters.

When I'm Not at Work You Might Find Me: 

In nature. Nearby places like Yosemite – not in summer -- are my idea of paradise.

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