The California Wellness Foundation, one of the largest health grant-making organizations in California, has announced that Judy Belk is its new president and CEO. Her appointment takes effect on April 7, 2014.
She is the first African American woman to lead the 22-year old organization.
In a statement released by the foundation’s board, Belk is praised for her solid background in philanthropy. “Judy has stellar operational and strategic leadership expertise in philanthropy and a strong sense of valuing the voices of grantees,” Barbara C. Staggers, M.D., M.P.H., chair of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, said. “This coupled with her track record in myriad philanthropic efforts that support underserved communities makes her a strong match for The California Wellness Foundation.”
Since 2002, Belk has been the senior vice president of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, one of the nation’s largest independent nonprofit advisory firms, which advises on more than $300 million annually in more than 30 countries.
Before joining RPA and helping to position the firm as a global “thought leader,” Belk served as vice president of global public affairs at Levi Strauss & Co., reporting directly to the chairman and CEO, with responsibilities for both the company’s and foundation’s leadership in the global fight against AIDS, as well as their economic development, environmental and antiracism initiatives.
On her new role at the foundation, she says, “I am proud to join the Foundation and support its mission to promote a healthier California. Since its founding, TCWF has played a historic role in courageously funding in public health areas that had drawn little or no philanthropic attention. I’m looking forward to working with TCWF’s impressive Board, its talented staff and committed community partners across the state in leveraging the Foundation’s resources and voice in bringing about meaningful health changes.”
An advocate for diversity and inclusion, 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.
A native of Alexandria, Virginia, and resident of Los Angeles, Belk received her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., and her master’s degree in public administration from California State University, East Bay, where she was recognized as the 1999 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year.