The North State Region consists of the nine counties in Northern California that bisect or are located directly east of Interstate-5. Glenn, Butte, and Plumas form the southern border of this region, which also comprises Tehama, Trinity, Shasta and Lassen to the north, and Siskiyou and Modoc at the border with Oregon. The total combined population in the region as of the 2017 census projection was 611,086. Chico in Butte County and Redding in Shasta County are the two cities in the region, each with just over 90,000 residents. Red Bluff, the third-largest town, has fewer than 15,000 residents. Beyond these population centers, people are disbursed across the region in rural and often isolated towns.
18.5% of families in the North State Region live below the federal poverty level, and many more struggle in isolation to make ends meet. The median household income of those living in the North State Region is $44,834. In Butte County, the region’s most populous, 57% of students qualify for free or reduced- priced school meals and 27% lived in households described as “food insecure.”
Children across the North State Region also have high rates of trauma exposure, which is correlated with negative physical and mental health outcomes. Increasingly frequent and destructive wildfire events increase this challenge. In 2019, Cowell began making grants to support and leverage regional collaboration as a strategy to meet the needs of local communities; for example, the Center for Learning and Resilience in Chico, a multi-service center for young children and their families.
From 2019 through 2023, Cowell’s investment in the North State Region comprised 20 grants totaling $1.4 Million.