Remembering Joe Brooks, Former SFF Program Executive, and Community Leader

Remembering Joe Brooks, Former SFF Program Executive, and Community Leader

It is with a heavy heart that we remember Joe Brooks, who passed away on Wednesday. Joe was a respected community leader, a dedicated husband and father, and a mentor to many — including myself.

Between 1991-1999, Joe served as SFF’s Program Executive for our Neighborhood and Community Development program. In 1993, he helped establish SFF’s FAITHS program. “We began to have a conversation about what it could look like if we had the congregational community come together — and not just one denomination, but interdenominational,” Joe shared in an interview with SFF in 2021. “It really came across as something that could make a difference.” More than three decades later, our FAITHS program now includes 600 agencies, congregations, and organizations all working together to advance racial equity in the Bay Area.

Over his career, Joe was a dedicated public servant, an effective nonprofit leader, an impactful policy advocate, a mentor to many SFF fellows, and a trailblazer for Black people in philanthropy. He was often the first person with a comment or question in any meeting that he attended, always setting the right tone for the discussion.

The grandson of a Baptist minister in Berkeley, Joe grew up watching his grandfather and other congregants support one another and their communities in the Bay Area. “How can you remain silent when [injustice] is so obviously wrong and when your voice can make a difference?” he told us. “[By] not keeping my mouth shut or being silent, I have turned on so many other people in this world.”

Indeed, he did. I hope you can join me in sending prayers and good wishes to his family and giving thanks for his humble, thoughtful, and always visionary leadership.

Rest in peace, Joe.

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 9: From left, Dwayne Marsh, Tessa Rouverol, Fred Blackwell, Jr., and Joe Brooks from the San Francisco Foundation pose for a portrait on Market Street in San Francisco, Calif., on April 9. 1997. (Photo by Dan Kraus /MediaNews Group/East Bay Times via Getty Images)