Bea Solis, a founding member of our Los Angeles Funders’ Collaborative, passed away on March 20, 2020. The California Endowment, where she worked, shared the sad news of her passing. This is a huge loss for the state of California; Bea was a rare combination of someone who had a systems change perspective, and could translate that into specific action, while remaining deeply committed to centering the voices of vulnerable communities and communities of color. She kept us all accountable to the values or racial equity and justice, and her wisdom and leadership will be sorely missed.
Over the years, Bea helped move and shape our work at Smart Growth California. She catalyzed the funder collaboration that supported the Measures Matter report, and provided the key support for An Agenda for Equity: A Framework for Building a Just Transportation System in Los Angeles County, both by USC PERE. Bea also shaped and moderated several of our funder convenings, including Innovations for Building Healthy, Equitable Communities; The Hardest Road: Building an Equitable Los Angeles; Climate Change, Heath, and Equity; and Billions for Healthy, Equitable, and Sustainable Communities.
While the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the Los Angeles Funders’ Collaborative from meeting in person – something we’ve done every month since 2011 when Bea and Ann Sewill from CCF convened our initial gathering – we did schedule a video conference call to remember Bea, mourn her passing, and reflect how she influenced each of us. Below are some reflections from members of our Los Angeles Funders’ Collaborative Steering Committee:
Bea was a founding member of this collaborative and her vision of the intersection of health, the built environment and community organizing helped shape our work. When we first started the LA Funders’ Collaborative, CCF and TCE cosponsored a funder convening to talk about these issues. Dr. Dick Jackson from UCLA spoke and Bea really got it. She was an early adopter of things. She was collaborative and fun, the right amount of snarky, good-hearted, and could see the silly.
-Ann Sewill, California Community Foundation
Heartbreaking news! My heart goes out to her loved ones. May she rest in peace and her legacy of serving the community continue.
-Jacqueline Waggoner, Enterprise Community Partners
Oh this is so very, very sad, indeed. I was just thinking of her yesterday, wishing for her wisdom and perspective during this public health emergency. This is such a loss for her family and for our communities.
-Joanna Kabat, Liberty Hill Foundation
So heartbreaking, she was so incredibly committed and knowledgeable. Bea was always kind-hearted and a kindred soul. She knew how to build things from ground up. She was also a founder for LA Funders for Early Child Investment. She was involved with so many funder initiatives. She was always so generous to everyone.
-Jennifer Pippard, First 5 LA
Bea was so connected and knowledgeable, it was like she was like the research librarian of the group who they key folks to contact. She was gracious and powerful. I think about her boys. I’ve shared with my KP colleagues who knew her and am fielding lots of responses of grief, and admiration for Bea.
-Roberta Tinajero, Kaiser Permanente
I am so sad to hear this news and wish Bea’s family strength during this difficult time. Bea was an amazing leader and role model; I so admired her insights and perspective on all of the topics our work touches. This is a true loss.
-Lisa Craypo, Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation
I have admired Bea and her life’s work for longer than I have been in philanthropy. I am so sorry for her family, especially in this weird time where everything is upside down.
-Alex Paxton, Water Foundation
I am also very saddened by this news; Bea was a wonderful human being and we will all miss her very much. What a terrible burden for her family and community at this already incredibly difficult time.
-Jean Armbruster, LA County Department of Public Health
So sad to hear this news. I’ve known Bea since before either of us were in philanthropy. A long time ago, she and I met when we were both working on increasing access to linguistically and culturally competent health care services for limited English proficient communities. I remember thinking at the time, “she really knows a lot about this issue!” Such a huge loss for LA and our state.
-Earl Lui, The California Wellness Foundation
Bea solidified concept of intersectionality and intentionality. It’s all intersected if you’re deliberative about it.
-Alfredo Gonzalez, Resources Legacy Fund
Bea Solis was instrumental in her leadership for the Los Angeles Funders’ Collaborative group, a subset of Smart Growth California.
-Ann Wallace, TFN
If you would like to share a few words in memory of Bea, please contact Ron Milam. Photos of Bea are from Smart Growth California’s 2017 Funder Summit in San Diego. Rest in Power Bea Solis, thank you for everything.
To learn more about Bea’s life and legacy, watch a recording of her moving memorial service.