Well Being Legacy

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Well Being Trust and partners traveled across the country, hearing from community members and national leaders about what it takes to enhance health and well-being. Ultimately, we hope to lift up a “living agenda” of practices, policies, and investments that can assure the vital conditions for intergenerational well-being at the community level.

Much of this work formed the basis for Well Being Legacy, which is being advanced via a growing partnership of more than 50 local communities and national organizations.  In July, Well Being Trust convened the inaugural gathering of Well Being Legacy in Oakland, California. With our co-hosts and partners, we brought together 180 youth, community, and national leaders to advance a nationwide conversation on creating the conditions for intergenerational well-being for all.

Among the underlying questions: What needs to be asked of each generation to leave a legacy of well-being for future generations? How can we best ensure benefits accrue equitably to all? What are the implications for leaders to contribute to “living legacies” worthy of our lives and roles?

Over three days, we explored what it could mean for the nation if every person had the opportunity to realize their fullest potential for well-being — mentally, physically, spiritually, socio-culturally, and economically. Rooted in the lived experience of the attendees, the learnings of diverse communities across the nation, and the growing evidence base on what works in advancing comprehensive strategies for well-being, we addressed impactful ways to increase equitable access to living wage jobs; affordable housing and active mobility; lifelong learning opportunities; healthy environments and safe places to live, work, and play; and meaningful ways to engage in our democracy.

The event unpacked the seven vital conditions for intergenerational well-being, examined the legacies of past decisions, and explored what it will take to create new living legacies.

This legacy work is at the core of the community transformation focus of Well Being Trust. As our most “upstream” strategy, it complements our portfolio of other more “downstream” investments in clinical transformation for whole person care; policy advocacy for increasing affordable access to quality mental health services; and social engagement with tweens, teens, and their families to “normalize the conversation” and build well-being and resilience skills.

In 2019, this work will be carried even further in coordination with communities and thought leaders around the country.


1Why does this matter?
None of us can achieve our full potential without vital conditions that we all depend on for our lives and livelihoods. These include: basic needs for health and safety; lifelong learning; meaningful work and wealth; stable housing; a healthy environment; reliable transportation; and a sense of belonging and civic muscle. We have no say in how these conditions were shaped by our predecessors—their legacies are the starting points for our lives; however, we possess enormous capacities to transform current and future conditions, for better or for worse. What are we doing now—or could we do—to secure these vital conditions for ourselves and for future generations?

2What do we seek?
Over the next few years we will listen to, learn from, and connect leaders who are creatively reshaping their living legacies. Together, we will lift up a practical agenda for intergenerational well-being that goes beyond partisan dogmas, self-destructive divides, shortsightedness, and the weight of inaction. Over time, if we enact this agenda with enough strength and inclusion, it could drive a renaissance of more equitable health and well-being across America, now and for generations to come.

3What is our approach
Through widespread engagement across places and perspectives, we are curating a portfolio of well-being policies, practices, and investment priorities. This will yield a living, transpartisan agenda anchored in local values and informed by both veteran changemakers and credible researchers. Early dialogues with a widening circle of leaders are creating new spaces for honest exchange and hard work. As this initiative expands, we will discover what it takes for our generation to strengthen our commonwealth and secure the vital conditions for equitable health and well-being, even against seemingly insurmountable threats.

4Who is involved?
Scores of individuals and organizations have already contributed. A partial list includes:

  • 100 Million Healthier Lives/Institute for Healthcare Improvement
  • 19th US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy
  • American Hospital Association
  • Avivar Capital
  • Catholic Health Association
  • Children & Nature Network
  • City of Oakland and Mayor Libby Schaaf
  • Community Initiatives
  • Enterprise Community Partners
  • Grantmakers in Health
  • Health Care Without Harm
  • Institute for People, Place, and Possibility
  • National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions
  • National Civic League
  • National League of Cities
  • National Network of Public Health Institutes
  • Nonprofit Finance Fund
  • PolicyLink
  • Prevention Institute
  • Public Health Advocates
  • Public Health Institute
  • San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank
  • Social Impact Exchange
  • Stakeholder Health
  • The Rippel Foundation/ReThink Health
  • Trust for America’s Health
  • UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families, & Communities

Initial design of the Well Being Legacy initiative is advanced by a team from three organizations: Community Initiatives; the Institute for People, Place, and Possibility; and The Rippel Foundation/ReThink Health. Overall leadership and initial funding comes from Well Being Trust, a national foundation committed to advancing the mental, social, and spiritual health of the nation. Learn more at: www.wellbeingtrust.org.


5Vital Conditions for Health & Well-Being
The Well Being Legacy initiative distinguishes two related ways of viewing health and well-being:

  • Personal Health & Well-Being: Individual perspectives and experiences that affect how we think, feel, and function, as well as how evaluate our lives as a whole.
  • Vital Conditions for Health & Well-Being: Properties of places and institutions that we all depend on to be healthy and well.

Personal experiences may rise and fall, from birth to death. However, the vital conditions persist over generations. In fact, as a group, the following seven vital conditions strongly shape the exposures, choices, opportunities, and adversities that each of us encounter on day one and throughout our lives.


Learn About Transforming Conditions for Intergenerational Well-being, Visit wellbeinglegacy.org/.

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