The Weingart Foundation, one of Southern California’s most influential philanthropic institutions, announced that Dr. Robert K. Ross will join its board of directors.
The announcement, posted on the Weingart Foundation website and written by Board Chair Monica Lozano, comes on the heels of a major shift at the foundation.
At the end of the summer, the foundation unrolled its 2017 Program Plan, committing all of the organization’s grant-making to organizations and projects that advance equity in Southern California.
“For us, equity means expanding opportunity by correcting the imbalances we see across racial, ethnic, and socio-economic lines in our education, health, human service, economic, and criminal justice systems,” Lozano wrote. “It also means having a board and staff that reflect the values that underlie our equity commitment. Dr. Ross’ values and his commitment to addressing systemic barriers to opportunity are in direct alignment with those of the Foundation.”
For the last 16 years, Ross has served as the president and chief executive officer of the California Endowment, a foundation focused on expanding access to quality healthcare for underserved individuals and communities in California. Prior to his time at the Endowment, Ross’ experiences include director of San Diego County’s Health and Human Services Agency, as well as commissioner of public health in Philadelphia.
Armed with multiple medical degrees and a master of public administration, Ross has worked for years advancing equity in healthcare and health justice. Under his leadership, the California Endowment “has focused on the health needs of underserved Californians by championing the cause of health coverage for all children, reducing childhood obesity, strengthening the capacity of community health centers, improving health services for farm worker and ex-offender populations, and strengthening the pipeline for bringing racial and ethnic diversity to the health professions,” according to its website.
Through the lens of these priorities, it is unsurprising that the Endowment and the Weingart Foundation have leveraged partnerships and collaborated on certain initiatives. Some of these collaborative efforts include encouraging a dialogue around the Greater Public Schools Now initiative, and supporting California Community Foundation’s Our Children Relief Fund.
Dr. Ross’ long list of personal affiliations and achievements include serving as a member of the President’s Advisory Committee on Educational Excellence for African Americans (for which he is the co-chair of the Diversity in Philanthropy Coalition) and board member of the University of Southern California Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy.
Currently, the Weingart Foundation’s board of directors is made up of eight individuals, including Lozano and Weingart Foundation President & CEO Fred Ali. Ross will officially begin his time on the Weingart Foundation’s board in January 2017.