Honoring Joe Brooks: A Bay Area Leader and Advocate
As we celebrate Black History Month, we honor the life and legacy of leaders that have paved the way for a more equitable California.
When we learned about the recent passing of Joe Brooks, we felt the heartbreak and admiration that so many others in our community shared. Joe left a huge mark on philanthropy in the Bay Area and throughout California, inspiring us all who continue to push forward his legacy as community leaders, advocates and mentors.
From 1972 to 1984, Joe was the president of the Emergency Land Fund, saving Black-owned land in the rural Black Belt of the southeast U.S. He later served as executive director of the Rent Stabilization Board in Berkeley.
Between 1991-1999, Joe served as San Francisco Foundation (SFF)’s Program Executive for the foundation’s Neighborhood and Community Development program. In 1993, he helped establish SFF’s FAITHS program to enhance the work of faith-based organizations and congregations to organize and advocate for equitable policies and services for low-income residents and communities of color.
Joe’s work also extended beyond philanthropic leadership – he served as a mentor and supervisor for the SFF Fellows and helped advise Angela Glover Blackwell on the founding of PolicyLink, where he served as a senior advisor for the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color.
“Joe demonstrated an unending commitment to justice and equity, long before the words were in fashion,” said Chet P. Hewitt, CEO, Sierra Health Foundation and The Center.
We also encourage you to read this dedication to Joe by CFBMoC member and SFF CEO Fred Blackwell for more on his life.
Rest in power, Joe. Thank you for paving the way!
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