How is our well-being affected by the legacies of policy and investment choices made by prior leaders? What are we doing now to shape the vital conditions that we all depend on to reach our full potential? What legacies will our choices leave to the next generation?

At a pivotal moment in American history—amidst mounting challenges, partisan gridlock, and deep despair among many—the Well Being Legacy initiative looks to places across the country where ordinary people routinely confront shared challenges and reach across differences to enrich their health and well-being as a whole community.

Why 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?

What 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.

What 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.

Who 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.

Vital 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.