William J. Ruh brings extensive experience to new position as Rancho Santa Fe Foundation board chair


The Rancho Santa Fe Foundation Board of Directors has a newly appointed chairman: William J. Ruh took over the position, formerly held by Neil Hokanson, at the beginning of 2015.

“Bill brings to the foundation an impressive depth of business acumen and expertise to the position of chairman of the foundation,” Hokanson said of Ruh. “His energy and incisive thinking will be instrumental in building on the foundation’s record of success and in developing new initiatives as opportunities to excel present themselves in the years ahead.”

Ruh said he has no plans to make any changes that may alter the trajectory of the growth that the foundation is experiencing.

“Our mission is to continue to provide a personalized service and exceptional investment stewardship for the generous donors of the foundation,” he said.

Looking forward to his two-year term, Ruh’s primary focus is to build upon Hokanson’s leadership and dedication and to work with Christy Wilson — foundation executive director — and her team to ensure that there’s a “solid foundation in place for the coming growth of the organization,” he said.

The foundation has come a long way since Ruh joined the board in 2008. He formerly served on the Investment Committee and held the position of board treasurer. During this period, he saw managed assets grow to a total now approaching $100 million.

Ruh brings a wealth of experience to his role as chairman. For more than 20 years, he has managed a series of private equity firms and was most recently appointed both managing principal and executive vice president of Aequitas Capital.

Before Aequitas, Ruh was a managing principal and co-founder of Castle Creek Capital, LLC, an alternative asset management company dedicated to community bank investing, and Castle Creek Financial LLC, a registered broker/dealer.

“Bill was instrumental in the growth of the Rancho Santa Fe Education Foundation (at R. Roger Rowe School) and in other community organizations while he and his wife, Lisa, raised their family in the Ranch,” said Wilson of Ruh’s previous community service.

He will team up with 28 foundation board directors, men and women who have been successful in business and have a strong legacy of giving back to their community, Ruh said.

A recent board-approved initiative is North County Senior Connections, a program supported by the foundation’s Community Impact Fund.

Collaborating with two local charities, the foundation purchased and refurbished a food truck that delivers food to the elderly in need throughout North San Diego. The pilot program, which started last fall, has been very successful and support for it will continue, said Ruh.

Ruh also plans to remain very active with San Diego’s military population through The Patriot Initiative (TPI). Last year, TPI awarded grants totaling $69,000 to eight nonprofit programs serving military members and their families in San Diego County in its first grant cycle of 2014, according to the Rancho Santa Fe Foundation website.

The Rancho Santa Fe Foundation was founded in 1981 by a group of community-minded residents who sought a more efficient and effective channel for philanthropy. Working with local charities, it is able to make high-impact gifts that make a tangible difference locally and regionally while still connecting donors globally.

Ruh wants to hear from Rancho Santa Fe residents and nearby neighbors to inform them how the foundation can help make a difference in their charitable interests and causes.

“We invite them to partner with us, and we look forward to helping them reach their philanthropic goals,” he said.

Visit for more information about the Rancho Santa Fe Foundation.