Anti-Poverty Leader Marks 50 Years

The Times They Are a Changin’
Sonoma Gives, history- Photo by Candido Morales

Harvesting wine grapes in Sonoma County; photo by Candido Morales.

It was the turbulent ‘60s, a time of intense strife and historic social change. Martin Luther King Jr. rallied for equal rights and Cesar Chavez called farmworkers to unite. In small town Santa Rosa, CA this passionate cry for change—for opportunity for all—struck a chord in the hearts of four men: immigrant Aurelio Hurtado, Catholic priest Gerald Cox and fraternity brothers Lou Flores and George Ortiz. Theirs was a collective passion:  To fight for social justice, to offer a hand-up to those who struggle most. Together they created California Human Development (CHD)—a now far-reaching non-profit alliance that has stretched across time and geography to impact more than 500,000 lives and counting.

Industrious Yet Hungry, Hard Working Yet Homeless

Farmworkers sleeping in fields. Troubled teens—addicted to mask the pain. Families living 10 or more to a room. Mothers who work long hours yet can’t pay the bills. People made to feel unemployable because they have a disability. Children and seniors and everyone in between who are hungry—often.  These are northern California’s poor and at the heart of CHD’s mission for five decades.

A Hand Up and Out of Poverty

Based in Santa Rosa, CHD is waging the War on Poverty across 31 northern California counties. We create opportunities for people who struggle in the grips of poverty to achieve self-sufficiency. Through training and employment, affordable housing, immigration assistance, disABILITY services and recovery from addiction, we give those who labor most a hand up to the American Dream.

Celebrating 50—More

Are things better since the 1960s when so many committed to creating a more just world?  Yes…with room to grow. The children of ‘60s’ immigrants, for instance, are now school teachers, bank presidents, police officers and astronauts. Just this year at CHD alone, we saw these improvements (to name a few):

  • Affordable homes for farmworker families at Sonoma County’s new Ortiz Family Plaza


    Lake County fire victim rebuilding his community and his life.

  • Temporary jobs and work projects to restore fire ravaged Lake County
  • Training and new employment for low income and disabled workers
  • Protection for young immigrant Dreamers brought to the U.S. as children
  • Teens and women beating addiction and rebuilding their lives
The Next 50 

As CHD celebrates its 50th Anniversary and enters its sixth decade in the fight against poverty, we find the future holds many questions. Policy changes in Washington, DC have the potential to seriously impact northern California’s most impoverished residents. Future funding is uncertain and CHD along with other anti-poverty nonprofits must remain flexible to provide meaningful services and vital safety-net assistance for those at-risk. But, while the future may be uncertain, CHD’s mission for the next 50 years and beyond remains unwavering and crystal clear:


Farmworker child, rich in spirit!

We are committed to ending poverty through self-sufficiency, one precious life at a time.


Next 50 Fund

Your gift is a gift toward a more just world. Donations provide opportunities to end poverty in Sonoma County and throughout northern California.


Call: John Way, Community Investment Manager at 707-523.1155, ext. 4788