Dr. Robert K. Ross, the honoree
A pioneer gets the pioneer award – his work in the medical and philanthropic fields have earned him the Brotherhood Crusade’s 2012 Pioneer of African American Achievement Award
The Brother Crusade’s annual Pioneer of African Achievement Award will honor Dr. Robert Ross, president and chief executive officer for The California Endowment (THE), at its 2012 Awards Dinner on November 2. Having chosen Dr. Ross as the 2012 honoree, he will join a selected group of Black men and women who, over the years, have accepted this prestigious award that was named after the two men who have placed the institution at the top of Black philanthropy in the United States, Walter Bremond, Jr., the founder, and Danny J. Bakewell, Sr., the institution builder.
When Charisse Bremond, the Brotherhood Crusade’s current president and CEO, assumed its leadership, seven years ago, she was third in the line of superstars to lead the institution, she made a promise. She stated, “I asked you to envision a South Los Angeles devoid of poverty associated challenges where every individual was given sufficient opportunity to succeed in school at work, and in life…” Honoring Dr. Ross is another step in the direction of keeping that promise.
Dr. Ross has an extensive background as a clinician and public health administrator. His service includes: medical director for LINK School-Based Clinic Program, Camden, New Jersey; instructor of clinical medicine, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; and faculty member at San Diego State University’s School of Public Health. His work in philanthropy at the endowment is really an extension of his profession as a medical doctor.
At the Endowment, his work actually parallels that of the Brotherhood Crusade in that it has focused on the health needs of underserved Californians by championing the cause of health coverage for all children, strengthening the capacity of community health centers, improving health services for farm worker and ex-offender populations, and strengthening the pipeline for bringing racial and ethnic diversity to the health professions. He was also named by Capitol Weekly as one of California’s most influential civic leaders in health policy in 2006.
Dr. Ross said, “At The California Endowment, our giving is a partnership between the foundation and community. We know that just giving money will not necessarily result in change. It’s the community itself that makes the change. Our funding is just one of the vehicles that helps communities get there.”
He has received numerous awards and honors including the Council on Foundations’ 2008 Distinguished Grant-maker of the Year Award, "Youth Advocacy Humanitarian of the Year" award; the "Outstanding Community Service Award" from the Volunteers of America; the "Leadership Award" from the Hospital Council of San Diego and Imperial Counties; and the National Association of Health Services Executives “Health Administrator of the Year Citation.” He was also a recipient of the national Public Officials of the Year Award presented by Governing Magazine in 1999. Other honors include awards from Planned Parenthood Southern Pennsylvania, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and West Philadelphia Economic Development Corporation. He also was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar from 1988 to 1990, focusing on urban child health issues.
About Dr. Ross, Danny J. Bakewell, Sr., chairman of the board of directors of the Brotherhood Crusade stated, “He has set the standard that changed the way charitable foundations have related to communities of color which had not been evident in the past. His work also compliments the high standards that the Brotherhood Crusade has operated in the community for the past 44 years and we are pleased to honor him as the recipient of this year’s Bremond/Bakewell Pioneer of African American Achievement Award.