Judith Bell Selected as New Vice President of Programs at The San Francisco Foundation


The San Francisco Foundation (TSFF) recently announced Judith Bell as their new Vice President of Programs.


Bell brings extensive experience in strategic planning and policy development, and a focus on economic and social equity to the Foundation.


Bell joined PolicyLink in 1999 at the inception of PolicyLink and became President in 2004. As President, she worked in partnership with PolicyLink Founder and CEO Angela Glover Blackwell to develop the organization into a national leader on a range of equity issues, with her particular focus being policy development and campaign strategy at the local, state, and national levels.


She has led PolicyLink efforts to increase access to healthy foods – particularly the successful establishment of the national Healthy Food Financing Initiative – and the Convergence Partnership, which brings together some of the nation’s largest foundations to collectively advance healthy people and healthy places through the many touchstones of health and equity, including the food system, community economic development, and prevention.


“We are very excited to have Judith join us,” said Fred Blackwell, CEO of TSFF. “Her leadership at PolicyLink helped ignite a new national narrative around access and opportunity for all people. Her strong belief in equity aligns with our mission and makes her the perfect addition to our senior management team as we plan the next chapter of expanding opportunity across the Bay Area.”


Bell also played a leadership role in launching and advancing the federal Promise Neighborhoods program and by helping to create the Promise Neighborhoods Institute at PolicyLink.


“One of my dreams has been to someday be part of a foundation that would allow me to continue to pursue equity and provide support to the organizations doing equity work,” said Bell. “A community foundation, dedicated to advancing equity, deeply engaged in community and with a history of advocating for greater fairness and inclusion, is a great way to do so.


“It is incredibly sad to leave PolicyLink. But that sadness is mediated by the knowledge that I’m going to a place that is equally committed to equity and to creating opportunity for people of color and low-income communities. It’s a bit like leaving home to take on big new responsibilities, but not going too far away and holding on to what was learned along the way,” she said.


Before PolicyLink, Bell directed the West Coast Regional Office of Consumers Union, where she engaged in efforts to improve the quality of life for all consumers, particularly in access to health care. While there, she spearheaded a campaign to preserve more than $14 billion in charitable assets, resulting in the creation of several foundations in California and across the country.


Bell holds an undergraduate degree from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a master’s of public administration from Harvard University where she was a Lucius Littauer fellow.


Bell will begin transitioning to her new home at TSFF on September 1, and will start her new position full-time on October 1.


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