Ruth Westreich, President, Westreich Foundation

Artist / Activist / Philanthropist

Ruth Westreich, president of the Westreich Foundation, generously supports people and non-profit organizations that challenge The Normalcy Bias. Every day each one of us has learned to accept the unintended consequences of decisions that put profits before people and planet. Ruth believes it is possible to change this by taking incremental steps to educate oneself, learn from the underheard voices and then take action to become a change maker.
Above all, Ruth is a connector and strategist who creates communication bridges that bring together people and varied disciplines in health, the environment, discovery science and investigative journalism.

For decades, The Westreich Foundation has supported a variety of people and causes, including improving access and availability of whole-person medicine and personalized health, as well as restorative and organic agriculture and respective foods. In recent years, the realization that personal health cannot be achieved without planetary health has guided Ruth into new avenues of environmental activism and creativity through her art.

A recent example that illustrates the interconnectedness of human and planetary health is the Our Common Home Gallery exhibit, Care of Our Common Home, conversations of Consequence at University San Diego.

“Her activist art provides a unique platform for intergenerational dialogue on climate change and other critical issues that we face in building a better world for future generations.”

– Emily Young, PhD, executive director, The Nonprofit Institute, University of San Diego

The Westreich Foundation uses thought-provoking art, activism and philanthropy to engage and unite people around the science and societal issues that erode and threaten human and planetary health, while providing an educational platform that inspires, connects, and supports organizations and people working toward healthier people and the planet.

Ruth Westreich Accomplishments

One of Ruth’s major accomplishments was to help found the Nonprofit Institute at the University of San Diego 19 years ago. She was the principle funder for 13 of those years establishing a Master’s and Doctoral in Nonprofit Leadership and Management. The Institute broadened to include a globally recognized research center, Governance Symposium, and many other certificate programs that support the nonprofit sector.

She has served as a board member of the Bravewell Collaborative, Samueli Institute, Scripps Center for Integrative Health, trustee of Bastyr University and many more prevention and health creation organizations.

Ruth was elected as a member of the American College of Nutrition in 2018. And is also a member of Jeff Bland’s Personalized Lifestyle Medicine Institute’s leadership council, a member of the American Nutrition Association’s Leadership Council, UCLA Arts and Healing BOD, The Collaborative Advisory Council, USDs Nonprofit Institute BOD, Cal State San Marcos Institute for Palliative Care advisor, UCSDs Center for Integrative Medicine BOD and committee for Patient Experience at UCSD. She was also a supporter of Mimi Guarneri and the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine and National Organization for the Arts in Healthcare and many more.

She is a published award-winning author of two books.

Creativity Unzipped: Why Your Thoughts Matter
3 national awards

Finding Ourselves on Sacred Ground
A Nautilus Award winning photography book


2019 American Nutrition Association – Founders Circle Award
2018 American College of Nutrition Membership
2017 Doctorate of Humanities from So Calif. Uni. Life Sciences
2017 AHA Go Red for Women Legendary Woman of the Year
2016 AIHM Change Maker Award
2016 Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine – Award of Generosity
2015 American Nutrition Assoc. – Leadership Council Award
2015 UCSD Center of Integrative Med. – Impact Award
2015 Center for Community Solutions – Philanthropist of the Year
2012 – 2015 Samueli Institute – Outstanding Board Member
2015 Lightbridge Hospice – Lights of LightBridge Award
2015 University of San Diego, SOLES, Philanthropist of the Year
2014 Mitchell Thorp Foundation – Pillars of Hope Award
2014 Cal State San Marcos – Volunteer of the Year
2013 UCSD Center of Integrative Med. – Aware of Generosity
2013 Cal State San Marcos – Seeds of Growth Award
2012 San Diego Hospice – Volunteer of the Year
2012 CHAD Health Hero Award
2012 North County Philanthropy Volunteer Award
2011 University of San Diego – Woman of the Year
2008Monarch Miracle Award
2008Casa de Amparo – Donor of the Year

Change Makers We Admire