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CARESTAR Invests More Than $2M to Improve Racial Equity in Emergency and Prehospital Care

BERKELEY, Calif., June 21, 2023 - The CARESTAR Foundation announced today an investment of more than $2 million in 10 nonprofit organizations that are collectively working to bring greater racial equity to emergency and prehospital care in California.

"We are committed to investing in innovative solutions that will help to improve the lives of all Californians that seek emergency and prehospital care," said Tanir Ami, chief executive officer of the CARESTAR Foundation. "The grants that we are announcing today will support a variety of projects that are aimed at addressing racial disparities in this field in a multitude of ways, touching on mental health, crisis intervention, workforce development, advocacy, and awareness."

The investment includes the addition of three new collaboratives to CARESTAR's Transformations & Innovations Initiative, which catalyzes new and better ways for Californians to engage, receive, and experience emergency response and care. The three new partners include:

  • Kings View Behavioral Health System: $450,000 over three years to expand the reach and coordination of its mobile behavioral health crisis response teams in Fresno County, and increase partnerships and engagement with racially diverse community members and organizations.

  • Northern California Emergency Medical Services: $150,000 to conduct a gap assessment of disparities and biases in the local EMS system. The results of the assessment will be used to identify key initiatives for a new collaborative that will develop community and culturally informed training for EMS personnel, identify equipment needs for underserved communities, and create culturally appropriate and accessible guides and materials for community members.

  • San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District: $450,000 over three years in partnership with the City of San Ramon, Contra Costa Crisis Center, Contra Costa County EMS, SRV 911, and Contra Costa County Health Services. Funding will be used to launch a pilot program that will divert mental health calls from 911 to the Contra Costa Crisis Center, reducing the need for EMS agency response and unnecessary transport to hospital emergency departments.

Additional investments are being made to:

  • California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN): $250,000 over two years general operating support to help ongoing advocacy efforts, advancing health and racial equity by building people power, shaping narratives, and changing policy in order to transform systems.

  • College for Behavioral Health Leadership: $15,000 to fund a California-based EMS representative to join the organization's Equity Grounded Leadership Fellow Program, which brings together a cohort of individuals working in the behavioral health system, who have a deep desire to effect change in their organizations, communities, or regions.

  • Cristo Rey De La Salle East Bay High School: $100,000 over two years to support the Corporate Work Study Program, providing students an opportunity to work with community-based organizations focusing on emergency services.

  • Exhaling Injustice: $150,000 over two years general operating support to help the organization expand its operational capacity including mobile response teams training and development, and training to reduce police-induced trauma.

  • Health Alliance for Violence Intervention (HAVI): $450,000 over three years general operating support to help the organization continue its work in building hospital and community collaboration to advance equitable, trauma-informed care for victims of violence.

  • Still I Rise Films: $150,000 over two years to support the production of a documentary that follows the lives of three young men training to become EMTs in California while struggling with their experiences of growing up poor, young, and Black in America.

  • Youth ALIVE!: $75,000 to help the organization maintain 24/7 monitoring of Oakland Police Department incident notifications and hospital trauma center admissions to deploy crisis intervention specialists to hospital bedsides of shooting victims within an hour of being admitted.

Staff from Youth ALIVE! Caught in the Crossfire (CiC) program.

About the CARESTAR Foundation The CARESTAR Foundation is a philanthropic organization reimagining emergency and prehospital care in California to elevate community voice and power, build a movement, and be a catalyst for systems change. CARESTAR partners with innovators to enable strong and meaningful work transforming the field of emergency and prehospital care so all Californians can receive equitable, unified, compassionate care where and when they need it. The organization was founded in 2017 as a result of the sale of CALSTAR (California Shock Trauma Air Rescue), an air ambulance company based in Northern California. CARESTAR honors CALSTAR'S legacy and lifesaving work in the field of emergency and trauma transport and care, while centering racial equity in both its grantmaking and its operations. Connect with the CARESTAR Foundation on LinkedIn, or visit us at

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