The California Senior Leaders Alliance

California Senior Leaders Alliance (CSLA), a fiscally sponsored project of Community Partners, is an elder-created and led statewide civic engagement organization. CSLA is seen as the most diverse grassroots civic engagement and advocacy organization in the State. With over 100 active senior members representing communities of color, low-income seniors, LGBT and seniors with disabilities. CSLA is committed to meeting the needs of California’s diverse aging population. CSLA is dedicated to: 1) creating healthier communities that enable seniors to age in place with holistic integrated care and services; and 2) to promoting education and awareness about promising programs, models and policies with special attention to the needs of the most vulnerable seniors. Affordable senior housing, accessible transportation, economic and food security; and most recently Compassionate Choices, the Coordinated Care Initiative and the Village model are among the policy and programmatic issues on which CSLA focuses.

CSLA’s work contributed to the adoption of the Elder Economic Security Index as a measure that is now used by the California Department of Aging and the 33 Area Agencies on Aging in planning for the needs of older adults throughout the State. Another success of CSLA’s efforts include the passage of Assembly Bill (AB) 191 (Bocanegra) Strengthening the Connection between CalFresh and Medi-Cal in 2013. Our most recent achievements centered on the Coordinated Care Initiative community training in the Chinese community of Southern California which was televised. Additionally, our Capitol Action Team’s advocacy efforts around Compassionate Choices on SB128 (Wolk & Monning) End of Life Option Act which Governor Jerry Brown signed October 2015.

CSLA members meet with Sacramento and local policymakers and/or their staff frequently year round through calls, in-person meetings and through CSLA members’ capacities as appointed representatives by their legislators.

OUR MISSION

The Alliance’s mission is, “To promote, advocate for and contribute to the health and well-being of seniors, their families and communities statewide, through a diverse and grassroots coalition of California Senior Leaders”. Policy priorities include health care reform, integrating long term care and supportive services, economic security, including affordable housing, transportation, inter-generational and age-friendly communities, programs and policies for special populations (e.g., veterans, LGBT elders, rural residents and vulnerable youth), and promoting civic engagement. Senior Leaders work locally, regionally and statewide to help effect change.

HISTORY                                                                                                                                                            

The California Senior Leaders Alliance (CSLA) was created in 2008 by members of the California Senior Leaders Program (CSLP) as a grassroots, policy-focused network through which Senior Leaders can work collectively on pressing issues facing California’s seniors and their families. Founded by faculty and graduate students at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health, CSLP has, since 2002, honored and provided training and technical assistance to over 150 outstanding older Californians who have made substantial contributions to healthy aging, community building, and social justice through their volunteer efforts on the local and state levels. Both the CSLA and CSLP were funded by the California Wellness Foundation with additional funding from the Atlantic Philanthropies and technical assistance from the UC Berkeley School of Public Health.

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

The California Senior Leaders’ Alliance will accomplish our goals by:

  • Promoting civil rights and civic engagement
  • Working at every level, from local, grassroots organizing to educating legislators in Sacramento
  • Building networks with a wide array of organizations and coalitions to magnify our collective capacity for promoting change
  • Creating a powerful vehicle for Senior Leaders to work collaboratively toward helping address shared issues and concerns
  • Identifying and building on our strengths and assets
  • Honoring the worth of all seniors and mentoring the next generation of Senior Leaders
  • Celebrating our diversity
  • Advocating for sound health and social policies that are senior-, family- and community-friendly

AREAS OF PRIORITY

  • Economic Security
  • Accessible, Quality Health Care
  • Affordable Housing
  • Coordinated Care Initiative
  • End of Life Options
  • Elder Civic Engagement
  • Village Movement
  • Transportation
  • Criminal Justice Reform for Youth