Program Areas

Improving Human Service Systems (IHSS)

California Children’s Trust, a statewide coalition-based initiative to achieve health equity and healthy development for California’s children, youth and families, exemplifies the complexity and cross-sectional nature of the work ZFF supports through our Improving Human Service Systems program.Learn More

Through grantmaking, networking and partnerships, the IHSS program works with public agencies, providers, advocates, universities and other funders to promote effective coordination among the child welfare, behavioral health, education and justice systems. The program employs seven general strategies to improve outcomes for vulnerable children, youth, and families involved or at risk of involvement in these systems. Although the Zellerbach Family Foundation focuses its resources in the Bay Area, the IHSS program supports statewide efforts that impact local work or are necessary to inform or pave the way for local change.


  1. Voice: support efforts that build capacity and provide opportunities for vulnerable individuals to have a voice in affecting change in the systems in which they are involved
  2. Innovation: support the development of new and timely programs or tools that have the potential to improve practice or system effectiveness
  3. Workforce development: support training, curricula development, and learning opportunities to promote a more efficient, effective and coordinated human services workforce
  4. Organizational capacity building: support leadership transitions, strategic planning, technical assistance, and the development of performance management systems to enhance organizational capacity
  5. Research and evaluation: support research to identify and document service needs, and evaluation to measure and document the impact of practices, programs, or policies
  6. Collaboration and coalition building: encourage interagency and multi-disciplinary collaboration, and support coalitions to develop coordinated responses to complex problems and maximize limited resources
  7. Policy development and advocacy: support the development, revision, and/or implementation of effective policy at the organizational, local and state levels

Please read our Theory of Change

Grantee Highlights
ZFF supports grantees like Life Learning Academy for their efforts and their contributions. Read More»

To learn more about other ZFF grantees please visit our highlights page.

For more information, please contact:

Amy Price
Program Executive