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Richard Tate Named Next President and CEO of The California Wellness Foundation


Contact: Sande Smith/ [email protected]

Board celebrates Tate as leader committed to community partners,
organizational culture, and bold philanthropy


LOS ANGELES (April 28, 2023) – The California Wellness Foundation board announced that Richard Tate, currently serving as the foundation’s executive vice president, will be the foundation's next president and CEO. Tate will assume the role on Sept. 1; Judy Belk will continue as president and CEO through Aug. 31, then serve as senior advisor through Dec. 31.

“Richard is an authentic and empathetic leader who brings optimism, boldness and dedication to all that he does,” Board Chair Dr. Pamela Simms-Mackey said. “After a rigorous vetting process, the board unanimously selected him to be our next CEO. We found deeply compelling the breadth of his contributions to Cal Wellness, his diverse background and experience, and his courageous vision for Cal Wellness and the philanthropic sector. We’re excited to partner with him in taking the foundation to the next level.”

Board members also recognized and appreciated that Tate – as a man of color and member of the LGBTQ community, two groups underrepresented in philanthropic leadership – brings his whole self into his work and encourages others to do the same. His lived experience and courageous leadership embody the foundation’s belief that wellness requires social justice and a deep commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

During his tenure at Cal Wellness, Tate has played a key role in aligning the foundation’s board, management and staff on organization-wide efforts to advance the foundation’s mission and vision. When he joined in 2016 as vice president of public affairs, he established Cal Wellness' first integrated public affairs department, a multidisciplinary team responsible for communications, community relations and public policy activities. In 2020, he was named executive vice president to also lead strategy, planning, learning and innovation, and serve as chief deputy to the president and CEO.

Tate has driven several ground-breaking foundation initiatives. He helped conceive and manage the Advance and Defend campaign, which in the aftermath of the 2016 election, raised the foundation’s voice and rapidly moved millions of dollars to advocacy partners; and played a key role in launching the Hope and Heal Fund in 2016, which in the aftermath of the 2015 San Bernardino massacre, became the first ever state-wide funder collaborative on gun violence prevention. In addition, he's helped the foundation respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by quickly moving more than $20 million to underserved communities and spotlighting health inequities; helped leverage Cal Wellness’ full $1 billion endowment to align with its mission; and served on the founding committee that launched Leverage the Trust California, the first-ever network of Black foundation trustees in the state, which recognizes that it matters who’s in the boardroom.

“I am honored to be entrusted with leading Cal Wellness,” Tate said. “In partnership with community, I envision us stepping more fully into our role as a disruptive force that pushes the boundaries of traditional philanthropy, advocates fiercely for racial and social justice, and uses our voice and influence to improve health and wellness for Californians. And I’m grateful to have a dedicated, talented staff and board working with me to move this work forward.”

Prior to joining Cal Wellness, Tate served as vice president of communications and marketing at Hopelab, the health-focused nonprofit organization of the Omidyar Group, and as a director of communications at Chiron, a global biotechnology company. Tate’s background includes more than 20 years of cross-sector leadership experience in business (pharmaceuticals, technology, media and journalism) and philanthropy.  An active leader in the state, Tate is currently on the board of the Stupski Foundation. He has served as board chair of Northern California Grantmakers and OUTWORDS and as a volunteer and board member for the Bay Area Surgical Mission. Born and raised in Missouri and Oklahoma, Tate completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Southern California. He has lived and worked in California his entire professional career and currently lives in Oakland with his husband.

“Over the past 7 years, I have developed an incredible partnership with Richard, and I could not be more excited to see the board select him as the foundation’s next CEO. Since he arrived, everything of significance that has happened at Cal Wellness has his fingerprints on it,” Belk said.  “He has been my thought partner, my co-conspirator, and the magic in the juice that makes my wild ideas and vision a reality. He’s earned the trust of staff, funding partners, grantees and other community members with whom we work, every day, to achieve all we hope for and believe is possible for all people across California.”

Tate and Belk will collaborate with the foundation’s board and staff to ensure a smooth leadership transition that strengthens relationships with community and government partners and colleagues in philanthropy.

About Cal Wellness

With $1 billion in assets, Cal Wellness is one of the state’s largest public health philanthropies. The foundation awards approximately $50 million annually in grants and program-related investments that promote health equity, justice and advocacy for communities and individuals whose lives and wellness are too often determined by their race, income, immigration status or where they live.

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