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Collaborating at Work

Transformations & Innovations Grants

Through this initiative, we seek to invest in community-based collaboratives reimagining and transforming local emergency and prehospital care.

Please note that the TII grant program is closed to new applications in 2024 as we move into a two-year cycle to ensure the time and space for new partnership development. 


Given the critical role of the emergency and prehospital care system to protect public health and safety, and provide healthcare in our homes and communities, with the Transformations & Innovations Grants Program, we want to catalyze new and better ways for Californians to engage, receive, and experience emergency response and care. This includes rethinking how and where people receive emergency and prehospital care, as well as ensuring care is delivered by first responders and other healthcare providers who reflect and respect the rich diversity of our communities.

We are specifically looking for collaboratives that:


  • prioritize the experiences, needs, and ideas of residents who identify as Indigenous, Black, Latinx, Asian, or another racialized group - as well as communities that have historically been under-resourced;

  • include diverse community representatives/agencies; 

  • include one or more agencies responsible for local emergency response; and

  • have support from, or the potential involvement of a Local Emergency Medical Services Agency (LEMSA). 


Grant Details

FUNDING AMOUNT: Awards range in size from $100K - $150K for one year grants, or $300K - $1M for multi-year grants. The maximum grant request amount per application is $1M.

APPLICANTS: Collaboratives can be in any stage of development, from the early introduction of potential partners, to fully functioning, multi-disciplinary groups. Applications that include (or demonstrate strong potential to include) involvement from the following will be prioritized:


  • local emergency response agencies;

  • community organizations or representatives;

  • Local Emergency Medical Services Agency (LEMSA); and/or

  • hospital/trauma centers.

SCOPE OF WORK: The scope of work proposed can be narrow and deep - focusing on specific components of the emergency and prehospital care system, or broad and wide across the landscape - as long as a collaborative is committed to engaging local community members, improving racial equity within the system, and considers local data. The following are examples (not requirements) of activities a collaborative could pursue: 

  • assess the current system and highlight any racial disparities or biases

  • create a shared vision, engaging a range of stakeholders to reflect on current realities and consider what communities want, need, the barriers, and opportunities

  • share processes, progress, and outcomes with key regional and state agencies to support the integration, spread, and sustainability of innovations achieved 

REPORTING REQUIREMENTS: Progress report meetings with CARESTAR will be held approximately every six months, and larger gatherings with other grantees will occur 1-2x per year. 

Leighton Honorees

Every year, in memory of Jeff Leighton, a former CARESTAR advisor, the Foundation designates a portion of its TII grantmaking funds to support collaboratives serving rural, frontier, or tribal areas in California. The aim is to provide these regions, which encounter distinctive and challenging obstacles, with critical funds to rethink and coordinate emergency and prehospital care to better align with the needs of their local communities. With expertise in non-profit foundation development, operations, finance, and investment management, Jeff Leighton helped establish the CARESTAR Foundation in 2018. His illness and subsequent passing during this period led the board of directors to want to honor and recognize Leighton’s outstanding contributions to CARESTAR and strengthen the rural areas of California Jeff loved so much.

Eligibility & Review Criteria

To apply for a Transformations & Innovations grant, the lead applicant/organization must be a California-based non-profit organization or public entity, with at least one collaborative member physically located in the geographic area where the project will occur. The strongest applicants will include the involvement of a LEMSA. 

Overall, applications will be reviewed based on the following criteria:

  • Problem identification

  • Project and vision of success

  • Population served

  • ​Community involvement

  • Use of data

  • Potential for systems change

  • Strength and diversity of the lead agency/applicant

  • Strength and diversity of the collaborative

Application Process & Deadlines



  • Complete the eligibility quiz to ensure you meet the requirements to apply.

Please note that this grant program is currently closed to new applications. 


Full Application

  • Successful completion of the eligibility quiz will open the full application.

  • The application can be submitted whenever the lead organization and collaborative are ready.

  • Full applications will be reviewed within 4-6 weeks of submission.


Online or In-person

  • Applicants that advance to this final stage will be invited to meet with CARESTAR (online or in-person). Invitations for interviews will go out within 2-3 weeks of submitting the full application. 

  • Supplemental information or materials may be requested at this time.


Notification of Grant

  • Applicants will be notified about their award status within 2-3 weeks of the interview. 

  • Final grant details including amount and timing will be outlined in an award letter and a grant agreement.


Please contact us at with any questions.

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