Home » Firm Selected for Feasibility Study on Contra Costa African American Holistic Wellness and Resource Hub

Firm Selected for Feasibility Study on Contra Costa African American Holistic Wellness and Resource Hub

by CC News
African American wellness hub

On Tuesday, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors received an update on the progress of the African American Holistic Wellness and Resource Hub

With a 5-0 vote, the Board of Supervisors agreed to allow staff to negotiate a contract with Ceres Policy Research to conduct a feasibility study on a African American Holistic Wellness and Resource Hub in Contra Costa County, as recommended by the Equity Committee.

Back in April, the Board of Supervisors set aside $7.5 million for the wellness center (Measure X money) and a possible location will be in the City of Antioch–this included an RFP for a feasibility study.

The successful bidder will be expected to accomplish the following outcomes:

  • Produce a feasibility study that outlines the “what” and the “how” of launching and sustaining an African American Holistic Wellness and Resource Hub in Contra Costa County. The study will outline the most pressing needs faced by the African American community in the County, what services should be housed within the African American Holistic Wellness and Resource Hub, the location(s) of those services to best serve the needs of the most vulnerable members of the African American community, and the initial county investment and total cost to establish the services.
  • Facilitate deep engagement with the African American/Black community to ensure that the feasibility study is a reflection of community members’ experiences and responds to their most pressing needs for holistic wellness services and resources
  • Share regular progress report updates with the Co-Directors of the Office of Racial Equity and Social Justice and the Steering Committee for the African American Holistic Wellness and Resource Hub Feasibility Study
  • Report the feasibility study findings to the Board of Supervisors, outlining clear next
    steps toward establishing an African American Holistic Wellness and Resource Hub in
    Contra Costa County

On Tuesday, the Office of Racial Equity and Social Justice Co-Directors Kendra Carr and Peter King presented the item and shared the process of what went into selecting Ceres Policy Research as the firm to perform the study.

Timeline:

  • October 2023: Board of Supervisors appoint 13 community members to the African American Holistic Wellness and Resource Hub
  • February 2024: Request for Qualifications (RFQ) released
  • March 2024: RFQ closes with one application received; Steering Committee and Equity Committee recommend release of a Request for Proposals (RFP) with additional funding; Board of Supervisors approves (Note – the cost is now $180k)
  • April 2024: Request for Proposals (RFP) released
  • May 2024: RFP closes with 7 proposals received (6 complete, 1 incomplete)

After going through multiple layers of a review process, 10 out of 11 steering committee members selected Ceres Policy Research as the consultant to conduct the feasibility study, While at its June 24 meeting, the Equity Committee accepted the Steering Committee’s recommendation of Ceres Policy Research and voted to move this decision forward to the full Board of Supervisors for final approval.

Desirae Herron, a member of the Steering Committee, shared that they believed Ceres Policy Research was the only organization that had a history of effectively conducting feasibility studies and honoring the “black voice and the black experience.” She called it a co-op structure because they wanted to ensure representation of the community with two-of-three of their owners being of African American decent.

“We felt our community would open up to them and that would effectively represent us,” stated Herron stating they hoped everything they do will be effective and create real change that is tangible.”

Supervisor Federal Glover thanked Directors Carr and King for their efforts along with the steering committee.

“I think that the direction of the committee and this board has been very clear in terms of what we were looking for,” stated Glover. “You had a steering committee that was made up of all African Americans and trying to direct that they would be the voices that they would speak for the hub, the feasibility studies and getting it off the ground. I know that the work took a lot of time, but I do appreciate it.”

Supervisor John Gioia appreciated the efforts of the steering committee and in response to the community basically saying they should look to the advice of those with “lived experience around the county” on this process who added the county delegated this process to those in the community who guided them in this process. He said a lot of time went to reviewing proposals and they spoke 11-1 in the recommendation.

Dr. Kirby Lynch, of Ceres Policy Research, shared they pride themselves in this field and have a team of strong leaders and that this will be designed to be able to attract funding at all levels, federal, state and county dollars. She acknowledged their main scope of work is around the feasibility study and outlining the “what and how” they launch this hub—including progress reporting.

“A large part of this is a community assessment and really going countywide,” stated Lynch. “We understand the hub is for East County, but we want to make sure we are covering all the supervisorial districts and see how we can expand models.”

She added it was also about researching models that work and seeing what would work in Contra Costa County—including location and cost analysis and ensuring everything makes sense and is sustainable.

Supervisor Ken Carlson thanked the steering committee and grateful they have reached this point.

Supervisor Diane Burgis stated in the end they all have the same goal and this process has been graceful, collaborative and inclusive which is in the spirit of what they were trying to achieve.

Supervisor Candace Andersen thanked the steering committee for giving people a chance to be heard, an opportunity to express how they feel and the direction it needs to go.

“The fact no one is here today speaking against this decision, is hopefully a sign moving forward there is some unity behind the process because I know its been challenging,” explained Andersen. “It’s been a very fair and transparent process. I think we are all looking forward to see how this rises up to serve our entire African American community which is so diverse depending on what part of the county they are living in because the needs are very different.”

Glover shared this has been over a year process and is confident Dr. Lynch who has gone through the listening process will ensure the goals and objectives by this process are met.

The Board of Supervisors then voted 5-0.


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3 comments

Hairy Bosch July 10, 2024 - 10:01 am

Classic non-profit money grab. A majority of the $7.5 million gift will quickly be used up in salaries and “operating costs”. When all is said and done there will be $5,000 for programs. None of which will have any results or impacts. Government spending at its finest.

Reply
M. July 10, 2024 - 12:58 pm

I work at a non profit. We provide mental health care to anyone on goverment insurance. Our staff is as diverse as our patients. Which doesnt matter at all unless someone was convinced it matters. No one cares at all if I am a different race than they are. What they care about is that I am good at what I do, keep learning new things and most importantly they love that I work here where I grew up. I now get to help families of people I went to school with. This is a waste. As we have been operating for a decade and are well established it would be easier and more costeffective to help us and similarly established non profits to expand our services than to build a brand new center that is focused on one category of people who make up a small percentage of the population. Will they be held to the standards our center is? We are regulalry audited for fraud waste and abuse( which is how it should be) will they? What will be rules around salary caps. I make about 50 to 60% of the current private market rate for someone of my experience, education and training. Will they be required to utilize the best most evidenced based techniques or will they be treating everyone through a politcal or idealogical lens.
I worry this is a money, political power vote grab.

Reply
Street Sweeper July 10, 2024 - 1:14 pm

What a sham!!

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