Judith Bell

Vice President of Programs


Judith Bell is the Vice President of Programs at The San Francisco Foundation. Judith brings extensive experience in strategic planning and policy development, with a focus on economic and social equity to the Foundation. Previous to joining the Foundation, Judith was the President of PolicyLink where she had been since its inception, becoming President in 2004. As President, Judith worked 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. Her leadership helped ignite a new national narrative around access and opportunity for all people with a focus on improving health and infrastructure, including increasing access to healthy foods.

Judith contributed to 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. She 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.

Before PolicyLink, Judith 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. 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. She is a regular writer for news outlets and academic publications and has authored several studies including, Why Place and Race Matter: Impacting Health through a Focus on Race and Place. She is a frequent speaker, trainer, and consultant on advocacy strategy.

She 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.