by Ade Adeniji
Raised in Compton, California, Tammy Tumbling overcame adversity to find a place in philanthropy. At the age of 17, she became a teen mom and then tragically lost her own mother. She took legal guardianship of her three younger siblings and finished her undergraduate business degree at California State University-Dominguez Hills. She later went on to get a master’s in public administration. Today, she is the executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Orange County Community Foundation (OCCF), which has awarded $900 million in grants and scholarships across areas including homelessness, education and the environment. By 2024, OCCF is aiming to reach $1 billion in cumulative grantmaking.
We recently connected with Tumbling, who launched the African American Alliance Fund (AAAF) in 2020 amid a summer of racial reckoning. We asked her a few questions about why she started the fund, her work at OCCF, and how she is using her unlikely story to empower more people of color to have a seat at the philanthropic table. Here are some excerpts from that discussion, which have been edited for length and clarity.
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