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President’s Biography

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Colburn “Cole” S. Wilbur, M.B.A.
Interim President and CEO

Colburn “Cole” S. Wilbur, M.B.A., was named interim president and CEO of The California Wellness Foundation on June 19, 2013. The Foundation worked with the Center for Nonprofit Management to appoint Wilbur to serve in the position until a permanent successor is recruited.

He is a trustee and former president of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, a position he held from 1976 to 1999. As president and as a trusted philanthropic advisor to both David and Lucile Packard and their children, Wilbur guided the foundation through periods of unprecedented and sustained growth in assets, grantmaking and staff. Now as trustee, he is active in support of the foundation’s environmental initiatives. Prior to joining the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, he was the executive director and CEO of the Sierra Club Foundation. He also worked in international banking and managed a computer service bureau.

In 1999, Wilbur received the Distinguished Grantmaker Award from the Council on Foundations. He served as a senior fellow at the Council from 1999 to 2000 and, in 2005, was appointed interim president and CEO. He has been a member of the Council’s Family Philanthropy Program and is currently on the faculty of its Essential Skills and Strategy training programs.

Wilbur is actively involved in the leadership of numerous philanthropic, civic and community organizations. He is chair of the Senior Policy Advisory Council of the China Sustainable Energy Program in Beijing; serves on the boards of Colorado College, the Institute for Global Ethics, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte and Philanthropic Ventures Foundation; and is on the advisory boards of the Sierra Club Foundation, the Entrepreneurs Foundation and the American Land Conservancy. His past board affiliations include Council on Foundations, the Foundation Center, Northern California Grantmakers, Peninsula Grantmakers, the Global Fund for Women, the Peninsula Conservation Center, and the University of San Francisco’s Institute for Nonprofit Organization Management.

He is a graduate of Stanford University where he received both his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in business administration. Coauthor of “The Complete Guide to Grantmaking Basics” and “Giving with Confidence: A Guide to Savvy Philanthropy,” Wilbur has spoken to hundreds of groups of foundations and philanthropists around the world regarding ethics and values, and on a wide variety of methods to improve how foundations can be more effective.




Our Guiding Principles

Guided by our mission, we pursue the following goals through our grantmaking:

  • To address the particular health needs of traditionally underserved populations, including low-income individuals, people of color, youth and residents of rural areas.
  • To support and strengthen nonprofit organizations that seek to improve the health of underserved populations.
  • To recognize and encourage leaders who are working to increase health and wellness within their communities.
  • To inform policymakers and opinion leaders about important wellness and health care issues.


The mission of The California Wellness Foundation is to improve the health of the people of California by making grants for health promotion, wellness education and disease prevention.

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