WHAT WE DO
Alianza (ah-lee-ann-zah) 1. a union of people and/or organizations working together for a common goal. 2. The only such union based in the Eastern Coachella Valley supporting resident leaders in improving their community. 3. The first local grassroots effort with a solid foundation to bring together a diverse group of partners. 4. The best team at engaging residents to lead efforts for lasting community good. See also: coalition or alliance.
Alianza is the only alliance in the Coachella Valley bringing together community members, nonprofits, and government to lead efforts we need for a thriving region. Previously known as Building Healthy Communities, our expanding work is built around leadership development and an understanding that healthy and economically prosperous communities exist only when our population is represented in all decisions impacting our daily lives. That is why we work to make people active players in the processes shaping policies and public funding priorities.
Alianza recognizes that the vitality of our region is deeply interconnected and that a thriving Eastern Coachella Valley benefits the whole valley — east and west. We focus in the city of Coachella and the unincorporated communities of Thermal, Mecca, Oasis, and North Shore near the northwest shore of the Salton Sea. These communities are predominantly Latino with a rich history and culture too often overshadowed by economic disadvantages. People farm the fields that help feed the nation, yet they live in substandard housing, drink tainted water, and struggle to feed their own families. Amid these challenges, pride in community cohesiveness and parents’ aspirations of a better life for their children fuel hope in the Eastern Coachella Valley.
The concentration of low-income residents in the Eastern Coachella Valley creates significant barriers to self-determination and access to basic resources and services. Communities in the east face a lack of investment in the areas of housing and housing infrastructure (water and wastewater); infrastructure (roads, sidewalks, lighting, parks); and health (primary care physicians, specialists, providers for the uninsured).
With Alianza’s support, people in the Eastern Coachella Valley are:
- bringing parks, paved roads, and public transportation to marginalized neighborhoods
- improving local community representation on the region’s water district board
- connecting neighbors to affordable health services
- bringing a more positive learning environment into schools
- planning new culturally inclusive community festivals
Alianza is grateful to The California Endowment for making a 10-year investment in the Eastern Coachella Valley with the Building Healthy Communities effort. Our decision to transition from a finite initiative to a long-term sustainable organization reflects our commitment to build on the foundation we have created and drive lasting and systemic positive change through strategic collaboration and civic engagement in the next decade and beyond. The California Endowment will continue to be a significant partner as Alianza pursues its vision to improve the health, vitality, and opportunities for everyone living in the Coachella Valley.
Since 2010, Alianza (previously Building Healthy Communities Coachella Valley) has helped residents of the Eastern Coachella Valley apply their determined spirit and strong work ethic to campaigns that enrich their community. These are just some of our alliance’s many accomplishments.
Clean water for the underserved
♦ Changed the Coachella Valley Water District from an all at-large board to a district board, helping ensure better minority representation at a government agency serving many disadvantaged areas. In response to residents’ concerns, the water district formed the Disadvantaged Community Infrastructure Task Force to work on water quality and service issues.
♦ Created legislation that was ultimately approved setting new statewide standards for arsenic filtration systems and water billing in mobile home parks.
Changing lives through improved infrastructure
♦ Gave residents of North Shore a vital link to shopping, jobs, and health care by successfully lobbying for the first public bus route serving that community.
♦ Improved air quality in low-income neighborhoods by helping secure funding for paved roads in nearly 40 Eastern Coachella Valley mobile home parks.
Access to health care
♦ Secured funding to expand an Affordable Care Act health insurance enrollment campaign that reduced the eligible but uninsured population by 45,000.
Support for youth
♦ Worked with school district leaders to start a pilot project introducing restorative justice at Bobby Duke Middle School in Coachella, before expanding these efforts to four middle schools — giving educators new disciplinary tools that keep students in the classroom.
♦ Organized two youth-led festivals: The Hue, an annual music and arts celebration, and the Eastern Coachella Valley’s first LGBTQ Pride Festival, which is now an annual event.
La Mesa serves as the governing body guiding Alianza’s work. The group is composed of leaders from each campaign team, representatives from partner organizations, and community members all coming together through a collective impact approach. La Mesa convenes regularly to make decisions on policies and methods to best strengthen Alianza’s collective action and advance campaigns that meet the community’s needs.
PATTY BARAHONA, YOUTH LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE
LEX ORTEGA, LGBTQ COMMUNITY CENTER OF THE DESERT
SECOND VICE CHAIR
SERGIO CARRANZA, PUEBLO UNIDO CDC
SUGUET LOPEZ, LIDERES CAMPESINAS
CHRISTIAN RODRIGUEZ, KOUNKUEY DESIGN INITIATIVE
SAHARA DANIELA HUAZANO
PATRICIA S. CARRILLO
Director of Development and External Relations
Special Projects Manager
KARINA LIZETH ANDALON
Youth Program Manager
Youth Organizing Fellow