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Guest Speaker: Richard Woo, Senior Advisor in Philanthropy, Impact Investing & Social Equity

Host: Bruce DeBoskey, Founder & President, The DeBoskey Group

Introduction to Our Guest Speaker

Richard Woo retired in January 2020 from organized philanthropy and community development with over 30 years of combined experience at The Russell Family Foundation, the Levi Strauss Foundation, and Levi Strauss & Co. where he played major roles in breakthrough social change initiatives.  In the 1980s before entering philanthropy, Richard worked in Northern California nonprofits in women’s reproductive healthcare, teen family planning, and youth development.

In the 1990s, Richard was the principal researcher and designer of Project Change, a 10-year anti-racism grants program undertaken by the Levi Strauss Foundation in selected communities of the American South and Southwest.  He served as Executive Director of the Levi Strauss Foundation overseeing global grantmaking in 40 countries focused on economic development, HIV/AIDS, and social justice.

From 2000 to 2020, Richard served as the founding CEO of The Russell Family Foundation in Gig Harbor, Washington.  In leading the start-up foundation, he partnered with staff, family trustees, and community directors to pioneer initiatives in Puget Sound restoration, grassroots leadership, impact investing, and fossil fuel divestment.  “Inside Philanthropy” recognized Richard in its 2019 Philanthropy Awards naming him the “Foundation President We’ll Miss the Most” for having “been a trailblazer in such areas as equity and impact investing.”

Richard’s past board service includes Philanthropy Northwest, the Council on Foundations, and Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy.  He now serves on the board of the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, the Impact Advisory Council of Tiedemann Advisors (impact investing), and the grants committee of Pierce County Connected Fund (Covid-19 Rapid Response).  His nascent consulting practice includes executive coaching, philanthropy, impact investing, and social equity building.

Richard’s personal mission statement is about “building whole, affirming and just community through deep listening, reflecting, and storytelling.”

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