Until Feb. 1, 2023, we were Group Health Foundation. This post was written under our former identity. To learn more about our new name, read our announcement here.
Charlotte Zhang arrives at Group Health Foundation with years of experience at established family offices that managed capital on behalf of affiliated foundations. Her investments yielded returns that funded a variety of nonprofit work, spanning early childhood education to autism research. Charlotte is a founding partner of Seed Consulting Group, a California-based nonprofit that provides pro bono strategy consulting to environmental and public health organizations, as well as a member of the West Coast Steering Committee of the Women’s Association of Venture and Equity.
As the associate director of investments, Charlotte is excited to bring her experience to bear by building out a portfolio at scale for the Foundation’s assets and aspirations. She oversees the selection of external investment managers, conducts portfolio research, and helps to institutionalize processes, tools, and resources.
“The bar to which I hold the investments I choose to advance in our process is high,” says Charlotte, pointing to the concentrated number of high-quality investment partnerships she’ll be identifying and managing. Whereas most investors adhere to a strict mix of asset allocation to maximize returns, the Foundation invests thematically—in innovation, technology, or growth in the global middle class.
Charlotte’s journey to the Foundation is informed by her own experiences. Her parents immigrated to the United States in their late twenties, at times relying on government support for basic needs such as health care and nutrition. As someone who believes in the power of education in altering the trajectory of one’s life, Charlotte took on the challenge of rising to the top of her class in high school and college, graduating with honors from the University of California, Berkeley.
She chose to work at firms with ties to family foundations that had programmatic focuses on education. However, as Charlotte’s career progressed, she encountered few women—especially women of color—oftentimes finding herself the first in many rooms. It became clear to her that formal education could only go so far in the face of systemic barriers. The coronavirus pandemic and historic uprisings for racial justice put all of it into focus for her.
“Sure, formal education can help people advance,” says Charlotte. “But if you aren’t healthy, then education is a luxury you may not even worry about. Health is such a basic factor—an even stronger determinant of a person’s success. You need to first be able to access these basics before thinking about how education can improve outcomes.”
Before even applying for her role, Charlotte was excited by the fact that the Foundation is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, which enables it to devote more resources to advocacy and public policy. Charlotte is thrilled to be working for an organization that understands achieving long-term, large-scale change requires getting involved in the political process.
Charlotte looks forward to moving to Seattle from San Francisco in the spring and eating her way through the city’s best restaurants. A self-described foodie, she’s committed to becoming part of the Yelp Elite Squad in the coming year and is well on her way with over 70 published reviews.