In this episode, we chat with Jim Becker, President and CEO of Richmond Community Foundation, an organization dedicated to building healthy and thriving communities.

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A perspective from the CEO of a Community Foundations on the importance of long term and holistic thinking during a crisis

I think what gives me hope is watching nonprofit leaders emerge, build, and step into their power in ways that I haven't seen; fearlessly framing programming and advocacy work around restructuring systems that need social justice attention. Click To Tweet

Philanthropy is increasing as Foundations and Donor Advised Funds (DAFs) are called to distribute money now, rather than holding them in the “parking lot”. Legally, foundations are required to distribute 5% of their assets each year in grants to nonprofits. According to Market Watch, private foundations hold an estimated $1 trillion in assets and DAFs contain $120 billion. But the ultra-high net wealth individuals and foundations are advocating for distribution now. For example, the “Patriotic Millionaires” are advocating for the next stimulus package to ensure philanthropists distribute 10% money to charities while the country grapples with the pandemic. Also, to encourage people to give more freely in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the California couple David and Jennifer Risher created the #HalfMyDAF challenge which offers matching donations to donors who pledge to empty half of their donor-advised-fund account and direct that money to charity by September 30.

Fundamentally, a foundation is an investment vehicle where dividends are distributed to charity. Benefits include strategic advice on giving, ability to aggregate funds overtime to support large initiatives, and, of course, tax burden reduction. A community foundation’s mission is very general: to improve the quality of life in a given area. In this episode, we chat with Jim Becker, the President, and CEO of the Richmond Community Foundation of California. Jim offers a thoughtful and holistic perspective on community needs as well as strategies for funding, not just in his region but nationally. 

The Richmond Community Foundation approaches its work with three pillars: coach, connect and contribute. Jim embodies that mentality and more. As a white, male leader in the US, Jim knows he has privilege. He’s an advocate for self-study first, but then action towards allyship and investment in minority-led organizations. Ultimately he urges us to consider societal progress by looking at the community structure and family units. Ensuring financial literacy, basic education and access to healthcare. Listen to this episode as we learn from Jim and his experience.

Key Takeaways: 

(01:04) – “It all comes down to the soul of the community”  — Richmonds Community Foundation’s Coach-Connect-Contribute model and how it differs from traditional community foundations.

(11:14) – How has COVID-19 really impacted philanthropy? How can standing nonprofits keep holding on?

(15:38) – An unconventional but powerful alternative strategy to stay on the fundraising map if you are a small, limited-resources nonprofit.

(24:33) – On Jim’s rich and conscious upbringing and why the communities are the true nucleus of impactful and noticeable social change.

(27:51) – The elephant in the room: How the acknowledgment of your own privilege is not a disadvantage, but the first step to serve others and fight against racial and classism issues.

(35:51) – Recovering and resilience: How the teaching of financial literacy is the main key to help families thrive through hard times. 

(44:21) – On Government funding and its lack of flexibility towards fundraisers and citizens in times of crisis.

Connect with Jim

Connect with Jim on LinkedIn

Richmond Community Foundation

Episode Resources

Girls Inc

Early Alert Canines 


The Imagine Bus Project 

Market Watch: ‘What are we waiting for?’ Abigail Disney and other multimillionaires want the new stimulus bill to force other rich people to give more money to charity