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Cal Wellness Announces Judy Belk To Step Down December 2023

Staff and board members celebrate Belk’s work at Cal Wellness and across philanthropic sector

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                     Contact: Sande Smith

December 9, 2022                                                                                                                                                    [email protected]


LOS ANGELES – The California Wellness Foundation board of directors announced that President and CEO Judy Belk will step down December 2023 from her role leading Cal Wellness, one of the largest health-focused foundations in California, with more than $1 billion in assets. Over the next year, the board will work closely with Judy to ensure a smooth leadership transition.

“When Judy joined Cal Wellness in 2014, she brought a passion for advocacy, communications, and bold action,” Board Chair Dr. Pamela Simms-Mackey said.  “Judy has pushed us to take risks that are informed by both listening to the communities we serve while heeding data-based  evidence. One of the keys to her success has been her willingness to share personal stories and experiences. In doing so, she has helped to highlight the real-life impacts of poverty, gun violence and racism that are core to the foundation’s mission. We are grateful we will have one more year of her courageous leadership.”

Under Belk’s direction, Cal Wellness directed the majority of grantmaking dollars in 2022 to BIPOC-led organizations; implemented a $13-million investment in initiatives to address health issues that disproportionately affect women of color; launched the Hope and Heal Fund, a pooled fund of more than 22 funders committed to preventing gun violence; and restructured Cal Wellness’ endowment such that more than 62% of its assets are managed by people of color and 92% of its investments are mission-aligned.

“I often tell people that this is the best job in California,” Belk said. “I get to drive much-needed resources to some of the state’s most innovative community partners and work with a dream team of staff and board colleagues who push me every day to stay the course in fighting for equity and justice. Given the strong position Cal Wellness is in, the timing is right for me to step down.  My successor will have the opportunity to craft a new strategic direction for the foundation and I will have the space to explore new ways to stir up some ‘good trouble.’ In the meantime, there’s still a lot on my ‘to-do’ list as I get the house ready for the next fortunate individual who will lead this incredible institution.”

The Cal Wellness board will begin the process for selecting the next CEO in the first quarter of 2023.




Watch the video below for a special message from Judy.

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