Judy Belk • Writer

SHARing stories that matter

Judy Belk



Always looking for a good story

Judy has a particular passion for exploring stories focused on family (especially the dysfunctional types), community, race and social change…which means she never has a shortage of material.

Her work, primarily essays and short stories, have appeared in a variety of publications including USA Today, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, National Public Radio (NPR) and several small literary magazines---all which have given her the confidence to keep plugging away.

Judy’s work has been recognized by Hedgebrook, a women’s writers’ retreat on Whidbey Island in Washington State, where she was awarded two transformative residencies and experienced firsthand the power of women authoring change.  A native of Alexandria, Virginia (before it was a tourist destination), in 2013, Judy was inducted in the Alexandria African American Hall of Fame in recognition of her writing and commitment to social change.



‘First Step Act’ Aids Newly Released Prisoners, but Philanthropy Is Still Much Needed

Chronicle of Philanthropy 

When I first saw my sister Granada after her release from prison, she told me her return home made her feel as though she had landed on Mars.

"So much has changed. Everyone’s head is down — glued to their phones," she said.



Judy’s life’s work has been grounded in the field of philanthropy. She currently serves as President and CEO of The California Wellness Foundation committed to promoting equity, advocacy and access for underserved communities. She writes frequently on social change, the art of giving and the nonprofit sector.

She currently serves on the boards of the Surdna Foundation and the Hedgebrook Board. She’s a former board member of the Marlborough School for Girls, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California, the Ms. Foundation for Women and The Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

Judy is a graduate of Northwestern University and California State University, East Bay.

She currently resides in Los Angeles.


Judy Belk is a phenomenal writer. I have had the joy of working with her for several years as a member of my master’s level narrative class, and an editing client.  Judy has a unique ability to translate her remarkable life into timely and provocative essays, transporting the reader into time and place and person in such a profound way that we feel the story as much as read it. We are a part of it. It is a gift for all of us lucky enough to find her work on an op-ed page, NPR, a magazine, website, or here, on her own page. You are in for a treat.



See more of Judy's Published Work



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