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Senior Peer-to-Peer Network 2019-2021

Senior Peer-to-Peer Network 2019-2021

Southern California Grantmakers (SCG) is pleased to announce the call for applications for our 2019-2021 Senior Peer-to-Peer Network. This exciting peer-learning professional development program brings together select senior program staff from SCG member organizations to engage closely with philanthropic colleagues to discuss and reflect on topics related to leadership development, organizational dynamics, collaborative philanthropic impact, philanthropy trends, and each member’s professional and personal goals.

For the past 11 years, SCG has invested in developing senior-level leadership in philanthropy through our Senior Peer-to-Peer Network program. This unique opportunity allows participants to gain insight from their peers in an intimate setting and develop leadership skills to prepare them for future endeavors.

Participants will convene on a quarterly basis over two years (2019-2021) to:

  • Re-invigorate their intellectual and emotional connection to their philanthropic work;
  • Engage closely with new colleagues in a forum dedicated to thoughtful reflection and mutual learning on questions central to both work and life;
  • Build leadership and management strengths while addressing weaknesses;
  • Develop a more defined life and career trajectory; and
  • Together consider how philanthropy, and each participant specifically, can have more impact during these times of change and uncertainty.


Who should participate?

SCG will select 10 to 14 senior staff for the 2019-2021 cohort. Participants must commit to attending every session. The ideal participant will bring the following:

  • Significant experience as a senior-level leader in program/grantmaking activities, but not yet in the President/CEO/Executive Director position at a grantmaking organization;
  • More than three years in a senior leadership role at one or more grantmaking organizations;
  • Demonstrated willingness to engage in a peer network setting, with an expressed interest in learning and sharing openly; and
  • The full support of his/her organization’s leadership and the intention to remain with the organization for the duration of the two-year program.
  • Please note that in order to create an environment for open sharing and peer learning, no more than one participant per foundation will be selected to participate. 

This year, we are thrilled to announce Judy Belk as our 2019-2021 Senior Peer-to-Peer facilitator. 

As president and CEO, Judy Belk leads The California Wellness 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. Cal Wellness began grantmaking in 1992 when Health Net, one of California’s largest health care and insurance providers converted from nonprofit to for-profit status, establishing one of the most significant “health care conversion” foundations at the time. Today, the foundation’s assets are more than $900 million, and it awards approximately $35 million in grants annually to support access to health care, quality education, good jobs, healthy environments, and safe neighborhoods. Cal Wellness is known nationally for its funding of violence prevention efforts and for a leading role in preventing gun violence. 

In her role as CEO, Belk uses her vision and her voice to help Cal Wellness “level the playing field” and fulfill the vision of functioning as a social justice public health funder. Since her appointment in April 2014, Belk has focused on strengthening several key areas of foundation operations and worked with board and staff to develop the organization into a more accessible and vocal grantmaking institution. She championed the addition of two initiatives to the foundation’s grantmaking that will invest $13 million in health issues that disproportionately impact women of color and the implementation of a mission-related investing strategy to leverage more of the foundation’s financial resources. With the full support of the foundation’s board of directors, she works to integrate Cal Wellness’ commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion into every aspect of the foundation’s operations.

Belk is a seasoned leader with more than 25 years of senior management experience in the philanthropic, government, nonprofit and corporate sectors. Before joining Cal Wellness, she served as senior vice president of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, a position she held since 2002. Previously, Belk served as vice president of global public affairs at Levi Strauss & Co., reporting directly to the chairman and CEO. 

Belk is a frequent writer and speaker on organizational ethics, race and social change, and her work has been recognized with several state and national awards. Her pieces have aired on National Public Radio and appeared in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. Blog posts at the foundation’s website have addressed the impact of gun violence on families and communities, argued the imperative of safe drinking water and advocated for better access to oral health care for seniors. 

Throughout her career, Belk has been a strong advocate in promoting diversity, equity and inclusion both within and outside of the philanthropic sector. She has been a passionate voice in raising awareness of the needs of women and girls, as well as communities of color. 

She currently serves on the boards of the Surdna Foundation, a national New York-based family foundation, and Hedgebrook, a women’s writing retreat in the state of Washington that promotes women’s voices and social change. She is also an advisory board member for the University of California Firearms Violence Research Center, the first state-supported institution of its kind in the country. Past board service includes the Marlborough School, a Los Angeles-based independent school for girls, Southern California Grantmakers, National Center on Family Philanthropy, the Ms. Foundation for Women, the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California and the Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

Belk received her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and her master’s degree in public administration from California State University, East Bay, where she was recognized as the 1999 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year. 

Belk has lived and worked in California her entire professional career. A current resident of Los Angeles, she is a native of Alexandria, Virginia, where, in 2013, she was inducted into the Alexandria African American Hall of Fame. She is married to Roger Peeks, M.D., who currently serves as medical director, strategic development of Valley Community Healthcare in North Hollywood. They have two adult children.

Past Senior Peer-to-Peer cohorts have been facilitated by Peter Long, President and Chief Executive Officer, Blue Shield of California Foundation; Fred Ali, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Weingart Foundation; Jim Canales, then President and Chief Executive Officer of The James Irvine Foundation; John Kobara, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at the California Community Foundation; Claire Peeps, Executive Director of The Durfee Foundation; and Joan Weinstein, Interim Director of The Getty Foundation.


The Senior Peer-to-Peer cohort meets quarterly over a two-year timeframe. Please hold Thursday, July 25th, 12 noon—2:00 pm for the first meeting. If selected to participate, you will be notified with additional details. The facilitator and participants will set subsequent dates, times, and locations for each meeting.



$1,600 for the two-year program. Selected participants will be invoiced for the full amount. There is no fee to submit an application.



Please be prepared to answer the following short-answer questions:

  1. What are you most passionate about in life and work? What is the single most important thing that drives you professionally and personally? What do you do to maintain balance in your life? (Limit: 400 words)
  2. Why do you want to participate in this program, how do you hope to benefit from the Senior Peer-Peer Network, and how will you contribute to it? (Limit: 300 words)
  3. Describe your leadership role within your organization and within the field today and your desired role. (Limit: 300 words)
  4. Given your experience, talents and interpersonal skills, what unique assets would you bring as a contributing member of the Peer Network? (Limit: 300 words)
  5. How would your best friend—or someone else who really knows you—describe you? (Limit: 200 words)

How to apply

Please submit your online application by Friday, May 17, 2019.