Randall Russell has advocated for social equity in one form or another most of his career. His deep passion for social change and his executive acumen are a too-rare combination in the non-profit space. The Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg recognized this and, after an intensive search, chose Russell as President and CEO. As he states in his profile, the Foundation and St. Pete are the culmination of his journey - his opportunity to direct the evolution of philanthropy in a community that needs it and to shine a light in places that have remained dark for too long.
Years in St. Pete
Organizations involved in
Board of the Economic Development Corporation & the Board of the Innovation District
What gets you out of bed every day?
The passion to find a solution to equity.
Why St. Pete?
There are so many bubbles of fantastic activity and so many people with optimistic views, it feels like one place in the south we might be able to achieve the Foundation's mission of health equity.
What is one habit that you keep?
who are some people that influence you?
My heroes are two distinct lines of people. One is the civil rights movement leaders of the 60s. I grew up then and that whole period of optimism and righteousness about what was going to be fixed and whose job it was and how many people were upset. Across racial lines, just watching that blew my mind. And listening to the leaders - certainly Dr. King - but certainly so many others who don't get the recognition he did, well deserved. The whole civil rights movement is one of the things that fascinates me. As an individual, I'd have to say Joseph Goldsmith is one of the writers I like the most. He's a spiritual writer and he writes a lot about humanity and the way we treat one another. I like the gentleness because while the civil rights movement had force and fierceness to it, our hearts are really kind and gentle. I like that Goldsmith picks that up.
What is one piece of insight - a book, methodology, practice - that you would share with our readers?
Just because you think it, doesn't make it so.
What is one thing you wish you knew about your work 3 years ago?
I wish I knew how much I'd love it because I wouldn't have been as scared.
I'm here for as long as the community will have me. I really think this is my last stop as a career job and it is my last destination in life. So St. Petersburg is sort of it for me. I hope what's next is another 10 years of so of forming the Foundation and getting it heading in a way that really brings the legacy it can bring to our community.