It’s not about fixing people, it’s about fixing systems.

At the Center for Economic Justice and Action (CEJA), we are committed to community-engaged research and programming that alleviates poverty, reduces economic inequality, and advances the essential needs of all people.

Director’s welcome | Winter 2024

Welcome to the Center for Economic Justice and Action (CEJA), formerly known as the Blum Center on Poverty, Social Enterprise, and Participatory Governance. We are delighted that you are visiting us and hope that our new website is helpful in learning about us and our work. Most of all, we hope you will get involved!

Thanks to a five year award from the University of California, we are thrilled to be the home of the new UC Essential Needs Research, Training, and Promising Programs Consortium. Our call for UC essential needs research grant proposals has been released and is available to view.

We are in awe of the incredible work being done by CEJA students, from our summer community-based student interns, to our Blum Scholars, to the center’s research assistants. Check out our opportunities page for how to get involved. 

And, of course, there is our new name! We are grateful to Richard Blum’s founding vision and look forward to increasing our scope of work, impact, and programming through our renewed focus. Thank you for being part of this journey with us.

Heather Bullock


What are “essential needs?”

The UC system defines “basic needs” as an ecosystem that ensures equitable access to essentials such as nutritious food, secure housing, healthcare, affordable transportation, personal hygiene resources, and emergency support for students with dependents.

The terms “basic needs” and “essential needs” are often used interchangeably and we use both terms on our website. However, we encourage using the term “essential needs” to emphasize their foundational importance to well-being, thriving, and student success.

students in front of worksite
graduate students at table speaking at conference

Food, rest, exercise and student health (FRESH) study

In the Summer of 2023, we received a grant from the National Institute Health (NIH) that will expand our food security work. We are studying relationships among college students’ experiences of food insecurity and Life’s Essential 8, key influencers of cardiovascular and metabolic health.

two student laying in the grass
group of staff in a line with conference badges

Making a difference starts with us

To make a gift to the Center for Economic Justice and Action (CEJA), please visit UCSC’s secure website. We are grateful for your support!

Our history

We would not be where we are today without Richard Blum’s vision, founding gift, and our foundational years as UCSC’s Blum Center on Poverty, Social Enterprise, and Participatory Governance. To illuminate the center’s evolution, current mission, strengths, and initiatives, we relaunched as the Center for Economic Justice and Action in Fall of 2023.

field on campus taken from blum award plaque
Last modified: Mar 07, 2024