Gov. Newsom will open office in Fresno, invest $10 million in education

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a $10 million investment in Fresno’s education system and a new field office in Fresno during his visit to the city on Friday. Newsom delivered the keynote speech during the second day of the eighth annual California Economic Summit, which brought together over 800 civic and business leaders in downtown Fresno.


“I care deeply about this damn Valley because I care about this state,” Newsom said. “I’m so sick and tired of this notion that somehow we’re living in two different worlds in the state, coastal economy and inland economy.”

Newsom outlines investment plan for San Joaquin Valley

The $10 million investment will go toward one of the 18 DRIVE initiatives proposed by the Central Valley Community Foundation and 150 local organizations as part of a $4.2 billion investment plan to revitalize Fresno.

“What you put together, that document, is as good as it gets,” Newsom said of the investment plan. “It is the spirit of regions rising together and it’s a template for this state. It really is. And so my commitment to you is to make it real.”

Governor Gavin Newsom Highlights Investment To Inland Communities In Economic Summit Keynote

Governor Gavin Newsom highlighted the state’s economic wins today in his keynote address at the California Economic Summit in downtown Fresno, citing big investments in regional education. 

Economic growth, he said, tends to happen along the coast and is not shared statewide. 

Quality of life and racial equity are Inland values, too

I had the privilege of spending a few days in Fresno this past week, to learn about the important and inspiring work happening in the city. According to research by the Urban Institute, Fresno ranks 59th out of 59 cities in California when it comes to racial disparities in economic outcomes. But the city is also the birthplace of BitWise, a multi-million dollar company that promotes tech entrepreneurship and workforce skills among low-income communities and people of color. And now, over 150 organizations in the city are coming together in an ambitious project known as Fresno DRIVE, with 18 investment initiatives that have racial inclusion and sustainability as core values undergirding plans for economic development, human capital, and neighborhood revitalization.

Leading Inclusive Regional Economic Development in California

In our effort to drive economic advancement at scale, we continue to expand our regionally focused work. Last week, JFF again convened key regional leaders for the Future Ready California Network Summit in Fresno, California. We are spearheading an effort involving a growing body of leaders from multiple sectors to identify sustainable ways to create thriving communities. Earlier this month, we also brought similar expertise to the recently released 10-year community investment plan for the Greater Fresno Region under the DRIVE initiative.

Economic summit: $4.2-billion Fresno investment plan announced

The Central Valley Community Foundation announced a plan to attract $4.2 billion in investments to revitalize Fresno at the eighth annual California Economic Summit.


More than 800 civic and business leaders from across the state met in downtown Fresno on Thursday for the first day of the two-day summit organized by the nonprofit California Forward. State and local stakeholders discussed how to advance job growth, environmental sustainability and racial inclusion throughout California, with a specific focus on Fresno.

Governor Newsom highlights regional economic initiatives during keynote at the 2019 Summit

California’s strengths and work to address challenges were the focus of Governor Gavin Newsom’s keynote address to more than 900 civic, business and community leaders on the last day of the 2019 California Economic Summit in Fresno. “We are a universal state, the most diverse state and the world’s most diverse democracy. The world looks to us to see if it’s possible to live, advance and prosper together across every conceivable difference,” said Governor Newsom, who has supported the Summit since its first gathering in 2012. “Then you travel the state…and start to realize there are universal truths. Everybody wants to be protected. Everybody wants to be respected and everyone wants to be connected in some way shape or form.”

‘Rise together’ is the California Economic Summit’s theme. Fresno should embrace it, too

The California Economic Summit is being held in Fresno this week for the first time, and its theme is “Regions Rise Together.” The idea is that all parts of the state matter, not just the tech-centric, land-valuable coastal areas, and that being connected is the key ethic guiding California into the future.  “We need an economy that works for all Californians, no matter who you are or where you live,” says Gov. Gavin Newsom on the summit’s website. “The California Economic Summit will be a critical moment for us to come together, across all sectors, and commit to building inclusive and sustainable growth for the entire state.”

Fresno is the Future, Gov. Newsom’s Economic

Adviser Says

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s chief economic adviser believes in Fresno.  As the California Economic Summit convened at the downtown Double Tree Hotel ballroom, an estimated 900 attendees from around the state listened to what makes Fresno tick. And holding it here is key for Lenny Mendonca.

“It’s incredibly important that the Economic Summit is in places where the future of California is and representing both the opportunities and challenges in the state of California,” Mendonca said. “People are thirsting for real conversation about how do we move the economy forward in a way that is vibrant, inclusive, sustainable, and Fresno is the place that is pushing that conversation forward.

Chancellor, DRIVE partners discuss economic initiative with governor

Interim Chancellor Nathan Brostrom joined colleagues and partners from the Central Valley to present Governor Gavin Newsom with a draft of the Fresno DRIVE plan.  UC Merced has been a partner in the creation of DRIVE (Developing the Region’s Inclusive and Vibrant Economy), a regionally focused, inclusive, and holistic approach to economic development planning to generate increased investment in the Greater Fresno region from the public and private sectors.

When it comes to today’s politics, think locally if you want to get something done

I’m confused. It seems that policy, the work of governing to create plans for action, is getting lost in national politics. Daily headlines read more like a sports page, who’s ahead or behind, which game plans gain strategic advantage. Politics have morphed into performance — governing more about image. What’s going on in D.C. feels so very far removed from my life on a farm and in a valley often called the Other California.

Valley economy to be well-deserved focus at upcoming economic summit

These are exciting times in Fresno and the San Joaquin Valley. The region is growing and focused, like never before, on engaging more people to create an inclusive economy — one that confronts its challenges and inequities together and also leverages its unique assets.

But there’s much more work to do. A big step takes place this coming week, when California’s governor joins community members and leaders across the state at the California Economic Summit in Fresno (hosted by California Forward).

Fresno’s ‘tale of two cities’: Which neighborhoods receive the most government aid?

More than one out of five households in the city of Fresno receive some form of public assistance, either in the form of food aid through CalFresh or direct cash assistance from the government...


In October, a coalition of businesses and organizations including the Central Valley Community Foundation said it will soon announce a program of initiatives aimed at reducing economic inequality across Fresno and the Valley region.

Coalition wants to reduce economic inequality.

A new grant may help that effort

An ambitious 10-year effort to increase economic and racial equity in the central San Joaquin Valley received a significant boost Tuesday with a $50,000 grant from Bank of America.  The grant awarded to the Central Valley Community Foundation is part of the bank’s nationwide Neighborhood Champions award program. The foundation will use the money to establish a continuing database to help it gauge the success of a collaborative, 10-year economic development project called the Fresno DRIVE Initiative, said Ashley Swearengin, the foundation’s CEO.

Bank of America grant to benefit economic

development initiative

Bank of America has launched its Neighborhood Champions program in the Fresno area, selecting its first nonprofit organizations for a $50,000 grant.


As the inaugural awardee, the Central Valley Community Foundation will use the grant to create an online dashboard to track economic indicators as part of its DRIVE Initiative (Developing the Region’s Inclusive and Vibrant Economy.)

An Inclusive, Vibrant, Sustainable Economy

is the Goal

Beginning in late May 2019, OCED Executive Director, Ismael D. Herrera has been participating in a new initiative that will yield a 10-year investment plan to develop an inclusive, vibrant, and sustainable economy for all residents in the greater Fresno region. The Developing the Region’s Inclusive and Vibrant Economy (DRIVE) Initiative has three essential foundational components: Economic Development, Human Capital, and Neighborhood Development. 

How can Fresno make its economy more inclusive and prosperous? A new effort is underway

The statistics are staggering. Only 30% of Fresno County’s eighth-grade students are proficient in math. More than half of Fresno’s black children are living below the poverty line, according to Fresno’s 2018 Cradle2Career. The difference in household income in two adjacent central Fresno census tracts is $30,000 annually, census data shows. Since 2008, Fresno’s economy has seen only a 1.4% growth in its gross domestic product, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Fresno economic plan kickoff goes heavy on race issues,

light on business

A new initiative aiming to improve economic disparities in the Fresno metropolitan area was heavy on working out discomfort over the city’s ongoing race issues, and relatively light on business insights.


About 200 people gathered at downtown Fresno’s DoubleTree hotel on Wednesday for the launch of Fresno DRIVE (Developing the Region’s Inclusive and Vibrant Economy) Initiative.