Bob’s Blog: Rest in Peace Notes….

Here in the TCE family, we experienced two painful, recent losses of the human spirit.

The first was of the remarkable lawyer-advocate, Harry Snyder in Berkeley.  Harry dedicated his professional life to legislative and consumer advocacy for California’s poor, uninsured, marginalized, and oppressed communities – and was the leader of the highly regarded Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports magazine. For decades, Harry led the West Coast Advocacy office which fought forcefully for opportunity and justice for working-class California families.  Harry was arguably California’s single most impactful and visible consumer advocate for the creation of The California Endowment, as our foundation emerged out of the nonprofit-to-for-profit conversation of California Blue Cross – imagining that this new philanthropic institution would be a health foundation “for the people” and marginalized communities of our state. Over the past two decades, Harry transitioned to creating and teaching an advocacy course at Berkeley with our own Tony Iton and they co-authored a popular book on health advocacy published by American Public Health Association (APHA). Harry became a trusted friend, confidante, and advisor to me during my tenure as President & CEO, nudging us to invest in advocacy and community organizing as a base strategy for TCE’s mission and work.  Harry, your morally grounded leadership and advocacy will be missed at TCE and across our state.

The second loss was of a much younger variety, that of Carl “CJ” Zingale – the son of my friend and former TCE Senior Vice President Daniel Zingale and his partner Chuck Supple.  In his brief 23 years of life, and quoting from his obituary, Carl “proved to be a fearless ocean junior lifeguard, snowboarder, serious skateboarder, sketch artist, and gifted writer,” and attended film school.  Carl struggled with living on the streets and substance use in his final years and reminds me and us at TCE of how much work we all have in front of us to provide support, hope, meaning, treatment, and housing to the thousands and thousands of Californians who live on the streets.

I honor and channel the fearlessness of the human spirit in the lives of Harry and Carl.  Both remind us to keep the lives of those who are struggling across California at the center of our attention.

Bob Ross



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