The Strategic Plan and Equity Statement are visions of a brighter future for Santa Cruz County. A theory of change is a map or path for how we can achieve that future together.



The Strategic Plan and Equity Framework set a vision for what we want all people in the county to have and experience.

The vision is created with community participation, and focused outreach to neighbors whose aspirations are more vulnerable to changes in health, safety, housing, employment, and environment.


Equity Framework Community Engagement


Social Determinants of Health



The County serves people that live, work, visit, and have roots in Santa Cruz County. In order for all people to enjoy the County vision, the County uses focused approaches based on how different groups are situated within structures, culture, and across geographies. This is called Targeted Universalism, developed by john a. powell at UC Berkeley.

Success Videos


Indicators are the data and trends that we look at to understand the Population we serve. Indicators relate to key life milestones and basic needs. Indicators can show how we are doing as a county compared to other counties and states, and also show how different groups within the county are doing. Changes in indicators are one signal of the County's impact.

Community Indicators


Targets are measurable goals that define how we want Indicators to change over time. Targets are established for the whole Population and focused populations.



Factors either contribute to or hinder progress toward Targets. Contributing factors are those that are helping us reach our Target within an Indicator. Hindering factors are those that pose barriers that make it more difficult to reach our Target.

Factors are validated through feedback by community and peers to ensure an accurate and inclusive understanding of what is happening.


Objectives are what the County does to address Factors and help us reach our Targets. The County divides its Objectives into six pillars:

Objectives are measurable, time-bound, and inclusive tests of change that reflect the County's major work and are led by County staff closest to the work. Objectives go through a major refresh every two years, and are updated twice per year.

Performance Management

Performance Management is how the County holds itself accountable to achieving Objectives. The County practices five competencies to develop leaders across the organization and get results:


Be results-based and data-driven


Act on disparities


Use oneself as an instrument of change


Be curious and compassionate


Collaborate with others


The County has two foundational skillsets that build on competencies through different tools and techniques:

Lean — Lean is a philosophy that focuses on maximizing value while minimizing waste in processes. It emphasizes the elimination of non-value-added activities and the streamlining of operations for improved efficiency. Lean uses tools like Performance Measurement, Value Stream Mapping, 5S (Sort, Set in order, Shine, Standardize, Sustain), and Kanban to identify and eliminate waste, reduce cycle times, and optimize resource utilization.

Results-Based Facilitation — helps leaders design, lead and contribute in meetings that effectively move groups from talk to action and hold participants accountable for advancing the work.


The 5-2-2 of Results Count


County Partnership with Casey Foundation


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