Ophelia B. Basgal
Chair, SFF Board of Trustees, and Visiting Scholar, UC Berkeley Terner Center for Housing Innovation
Why do you do what you do?
I’ve been interested in issues of poverty since I was a kid. When I was 12, I led activities as a volunteer at a settlement house — a community center in a low-income community. Since then, I’ve always been interested in advocating for communities of color and low-income communities. And I’ve spent most of my career focused on affordable housing because without stable housing, it’s almost impossible to do well in other areas of life.
What drew you to serving on the board?
I had worked in corporate philanthropy, but this was a chance to be part of community philanthropy that creates real community change.
How would you describe your role as a board member?
I see the role of a board as providing leadership, asking hard questions and serving as a sounding board. We also have a fiduciary responsibility that I take very seriously. I want to ensure that we’re making an impact and asking ourselves whether what we’re doing is working.