Richard Tate is President and CEO of The California Wellness Foundation, one of California’s largest philanthropic public health institutions. With $1 billion in assets, Cal Wellness awards more than $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. Tate leads the foundation in pursuing its mission to protect and improve the health and wellness of the people of California, with a core belief that access to quality health care is a human right. Tate is also a board member and officer on the Cal Wellness board of directors.
As a man of color and member of the LGBTQ community, two groups underrepresented in philanthropic leadership, Tate brings his whole self into his work and encourages others to do the same. His lived experience and leadership embody the foundation’s belief that wellness requires social justice and a deep commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
Tate joined Cal Wellness in 2016 as the VP of Public Affairs and built the foundation’s first integrated public affairs department, a multidisciplinary team responsible for communications, community relations and public policy activities. Since then, Tate has led the expansion of the foundation’s digital communications infrastructure; advocacy efforts to advance access to healthcare, immigrant rights, gun violence prevention and racial justice; and organization-wide learning and innovation capacity.
In 2020, he was appointed Executive Vice President and served as chief deputy to the president and CEO, playing a key role in aligning Cal Wellness’ board, management and staff on organization-wide efforts to advance the foundation’s mission and vision.
During his 7-year tenure at Cal Wellness, 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. He 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 helped the foundation respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by quickly moving more than $20 million to underserved communities and spotlighting health inequities.
Prior to his time at Cal Wellness, Tate served for ten years as a senior leader at Hopelab, the health-focused nonprofit organization of the Omidyar Group and a pioneer in digital health research and development. He was Hopelab’s first director of communications and marketing and advanced to become a vice president and member of the executive leadership team. He oversaw all public relations, media outreach and product marketing, including Hopelab’s participation in the launch of the federal Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation at the White House, where President Barack Obama featured HopeLab and its products as exemplars of social innovation.
Before working in philanthropy, Tate was a director of corporate communications for the multinational biotechnology company Chiron Corporation, through its acquisition by Novartis AG. He managed communications and media relations related to Chiron’s biopharmaceuticals business, working closely with company executives, product marketing teams, investor and government relations personnel, research scientists and patient advocates. He began his career in communications as an editor and journalist and held editorial positions at the national newsmagazine The Advocate, Citysearch.com, and the Los Angeles lifestyle magazine Buzz. He also was an assistant director of undergraduate admissions at the University of Southern California.
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. Tate earned his bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Southern California, where he was a Deans Scholar and winner of USC’s Edward W. Moses Writing Competition. Tate has lived and worked in California since 1991 and divides his time between the Cal Wellness Oakland and LA offices.