California Forward




Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2020):

Revenue: $2,515,467
Expenses: $3,184,894
Assets: $2,564,900


Public policy advocacy




Micah Weinberg

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California Forward (CAFWD) is a think tank and policy advocacy group that supports left-of-center policy goals, including government-subsidized housing, increased economic benefits for ethnic minorities, and campaign finance reform. CAFWD supports many policies of California Governor Gavin Newsom (D).

CAFWD was founded by California Common Cause, the Center for Government Studies, the New California Network, and the Commonwealth Club of California’s Voices of the Reform Project. The group was formed with $16 million in funding from “five major foundations.” 1 2

CAFWD has a political advocacy sister-group, the California Forward Action Fund, which received more than $39,000 from CAFWD in 2019. 3

Policy Goals

California Forward devises and advocates for policy goals through a network of sub-groups: the California Stewardship Network, the California Economic Summit, and the Young Leaders Advisory Council. 4

CAFWD supports regional plans to develop weather-dependent energy sources with government support, increased state-wide regulations on pollution, and the establishment of a $1.5 billion forest fire prevention plan. 5

CAFWD’s economic goals are oriented around supporting ethnic minority Californians, including regulations to “reduce capital access barriers” and the implementation of the Community Economic Resilience Fund, a $600 million government-financed investment fund currently in development. 6

CAFWD supports a “cradle to career” education platform, including an increase in state education grants and more emphasis on supporting low-income communities. 7

CAFWD supports combatting California’s “broadband crisis” with regional plans and a statewide investment supported by federal funds. 8

CAFWD supports an increased emphasis on “social determinants of health” or environmental factors that allegedly impact health outcomes, particularly crime, poverty, and “systemic racism.” 9

CAFWD supports government efforts to increase house ownership through tax credits, government investment programs, regulations which encourage easier mortgage financing, zoning reforms, and numerous other reforms. 10

In 2016, CAFWD supported the Voters’ Right To Know Act, which proposed a state constitutional amendment for a slate of campaign finance reforms, including doubling campaign finance violation fines and requiring political ads costing more than $50,000 to display their top three donors. The proposed amendment failed to qualify for the ballot. 11 12

The amendment was endorsed by the Voters’ Right To Know Coalition, of which CAFWD was a partner along with the Analyst Institute, the California Clean Money Campaign, Common Cause, the Campaign Legal Center, End Citizens United, MapLight, RepresentUs, and YouGov. 13

Relationship With Governor Newsom

California Forward supports many of the policies of California Governor Gavin Newsom (D). Governor Newsom is an honorary summit chair of CAFWD’s 2022 California Economic Summit, 14 and he spoke at the group’s 2021 and 2020 summits. 15 16

CAFWD endorsed Governor Newsom’s 2022-2023 budget plan. 17

CAFWD collaborated with Newsom’s administration on the appointment of former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D) as Infrastructure Advisor for one-time federal funds given to the state by the Investment and Jobs Act. 18

California Dream Index

California Forward publishes the California Dream Index, which rates the counties and regions of California according to CAFWD’s policy goals, including “home ownership,” “broadband access,” “short commutes,” and “affordable rent.” 19


California Forward generated $2,515,467 in revenue in 2019. 20 The organization receives “core support” from the James Irvine Foundation and the Morgan Family Foundation. 21 Other financial supporters include Bank of America, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of California Foundation, Chevron, AAA Insurance Group, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, Dignity Health, the Latino Community Foundation, the California Resources Corporation, SEIU United Health Care Workers West, the Central Valley Community Foundation, Futuro Health, the Rural County Representatives of California, Edison International, PG&E, 22 and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. 23

CAFWD receives government funding from the Employment Training Panel of California and the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources. 24


Micah Weinberg became California Forward’s chief executive officer in 2019. He has also served as chief executive officer of the Healthy Systems Project, a consulting firm now primarily focused on regulations related to the Affordable Care Act, since 2001. Weinberg previously worked as president of the Economic Institute of the Bay Area Council, a business association based in Silicon Valley, and as a senior research fellow at the New America Foundation, a left-of-center public policy think tank. 25


  1. [1] Gumz, Jondi. “California budget reforms in the hopper for November ballot.” Santa Cruz Sentinel. November 18, 2009. Accessed October 8, 2022.
  2. “California Forward.” Ballotpedia. Accessed October 8, 2022.
  3. “California Forward Form 990.” ProPublica. Accessed October 8, 2022.
  4. “About Us.” California Forward. Accessed October 8, 2022.
  5. “Action Areas.” California Forward. Accessed October 8, 2022.
  6. “Action Areas.” California Forward. Accessed October 8, 2022.
  7. “Action Areas.” California Forward. Accessed October 8, 2022.
  8. “Action Areas.” California Forward. Accessed October 8, 2022.
  9. “Action Areas.” California Forward. Accessed October 8, 2022.
  10. “Action Areas.” California Forward. Accessed October 8, 2022.
  11. “California Voters’ Right to Know Act (2016).” Ballotpedia. Accessed October 8, 2022.
  12. “Ballot Measures.” Ballotpedia. Accessed October 8, 2022.
  13. “About Us.” Voters’ Right To Know. Accessed October 8, 2022.
  14. “About the Summit.” California Forward. Accessed October 8, 2022.
  15. Ono, Nadine. “Governor Newsom Joins Day One Of The 2021 California Economic Summit.” California Forward. Accessed October 8, 2022.
  16. Guenther, John. “Commitments To Inclusion Powered Day Two of 2020 California Economic Summit.” California Summit. December 4, 2020. Accessed October 8, 2022.
  17. “CA FWD Comments on Governor Newsome’s 2022-2023 Budget Proposal.” California Forward. Accessed October 8, 2022.
  18. “Governor Newsom Names Antonio Villaraigosa infrastructure Advisor to Leverage Federal Dollars in Building California Infrastructure for the Next Century.” California. August 11, 2022. Accessed October 8, 2022.
  19. “Explore the California Dream Index.” California Forward. Accessed October 8, 2022.
  20. California Forward. Return of an Organization Exempt From Income Tax (Form 990). 2019.
  21. “Made Possible With Core Support From.” California Forward. Accessed October 8, 2022.
  22. “Partner With Us.” California Forward. Accessed October 8, 2022.
  23. California Forward.” David and Lucille Packard Foundation. Accessed October 8, 2022.
  24. “Partner With Us.” California Forward. Accessed October 8, 2022.
  25. “Micah Weinberg.” LinkedIn. Accessed October 8, 2022.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: January 1, 2008

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2020 Jun Form 990 $2,515,467 $3,184,894 $2,564,900 $209,591 N $2,165,589 $348,097 $1,781 $445,940 PDF
    2019 Jun Form 990 $4,548,441 $2,140,152 $3,140,437 $115,701 N $3,797,351 $740,618 $3 $387,832 PDF
    2018 Jun Form 990 $2,673,084 $2,632,089 $831,352 $214,905 N $1,457,934 $1,228,614 $4 $325,198 PDF
    2017 Jun Form 990 $2,152,693 $2,741,636 $839,857 $264,405 N $1,499,385 $653,271 $37 $190,133 PDF
    2016 Jun Form 990 $931,357 $2,436,530 $1,394,950 $230,555 N $760,877 $170,293 $187 $194,140
    2015 Jun Form 990 $3,352,478 $3,023,546 $2,909,098 $239,530 Y $3,268,339 $83,857 $282 $218,403 PDF
    2014 Jun Form 990 $555,000 $4,019,835 $2,559,314 $218,678 Y $512,221 $41,825 $954 $218,995 PDF
    2013 Jun Form 990 $109,465 $4,628,375 $6,165,769 $360,298 N $96,383 $11,000 $2,082 $224,465 PDF
    2012 Jun Form 990 $1,851,243 $6,906,514 $10,751,285 $426,904 N $1,643,514 $197,644 $10,085 $362,534 PDF
    2011 Jun Form 990 $16,350,705 $7,365,835 $16,231,319 $851,667 N $16,312,031 $0 $28,946 $375,431 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    California Forward

    SACRAMENTO, CA 95814-0000