Thursday, March 20, 2014

Philanthropic Leader Appointed First African American Woman President and CEO of The California Wellness Foundation

Committed to Increasing Philanthropic Resources for People of Color, TCWF Makes History By Naming Three Distinguished African Americans Into Leadership Roles

Woodland Hills, CA –  Judy Belk, a seasoned leader with more than 25 years of senior management experience in the philanthropic, government, nonprofit and corporate sectors, has been announced as the new President and CEO of The California Wellness Foundation effective April 7, 2014. Barbara C. Staggers, M.D., M.P.H., chair of the Foundation’s Board of Directors stated, “Judy has stellar operational and strategic leadership expertise in philanthropy and a strong sense of valuing the voices of grantees.  This coupled with her track record in myriad philanthropic efforts that support underserved communities makes her a strong match for The California Wellness Foundation.”

Belk is currently senior vice president of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA), a position she has held since 2002.  In this position, Belk played a pivotal role in building RPA into one of the nation’s largest independent nonprofit advisory firms, which currently advises on more than $300 million annually in more than 30 countries.  Previously, Belk served as vice president of global public affairs at Levi Strauss & Co., where she led a global team in pioneering work on AIDS education and prevention, and women’s economic development, and launched Project Change, a national antiracism initiative, which was recognized by President Bill Clinton with the first Ron Brown Award for Corporate Leadership in 1998.  She also developed and led the company’s philanthropic efforts in postapartheid South Africa.

“I am proud to join the Foundation and support its mission to promote a healthier California,” Belk said. “Since its founding, TCWF has played a historic role in courageously funding in public health areas that had drawn little or no philanthropic attention.”  Belk said that, in the process, the Foundation has expanded the definition of health and wellness for all Californians, particularly underserved, diverse communities.

Throughout her career, Belk has been a strong advocate in promoting diversity, inclusion and equity both within and outside of the philanthropic sector.  She has been a passionate voice in raising awareness of the needs of women and girls, as well as communities of color. She has been actively involved in the D5 Coalition, a national initiative of philanthropic leaders committed to increasing philanthropic resources for women, the LGBQT community and people of color.

“The Foundation is at a key crossroads in its history,” said Cole Wilbur, TCWF’s interim president and CEO.  “As we sunset the Responsive Grantmaking Program, the Foundation welcomes Judy, an enterprising leader with deep knowledge in philanthropy, to lead the next era of our grantmaking.”

She currently serves on the boards of the Surdna Foundation, a national New York-based family foundation, and the Marlborough School, a Los Angeles-based, independent school for girls.  Past board service includes Southern California Grantmakers, Northern California Grantmakers, National Center on Family Philanthropy, the Ms. Foundation for Women, the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, and the Independent Sector.

The California Wellness Foundation is a private independent foundation created in 1992 with a mission to improve the health of the people of California by making grants for health promotion, wellness education and disease prevention.  Since its founding, TCWF has awarded 7,338 grants totaling more than $890 million.

Source:  Press release

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