Remembering Rick Pavich

We at Health Access were heartbroken this weekend, learning that our friend and colleague Rick Pavich had passed away on Friday, just a week since taking medical leave in his recent struggle with cancer.

Rick had been our Director of Operations and Development for almost nine years, joining Health Access in 2005. In that role, he made the trains run on time at Health Access–from developing budgets to negotiating with vendors, from filing grant proposals and reports to soliciting individual and organizational contributions, from negotiating leases for our three offices to making sure they were stocked, from running staff meetings and our 20th and 25th anniversary celebrations to ensuring we followed all the rules for lobbying, accounting, and everything else. We greatly valued his integrity, work ethic, professionalism, commitment, and attention to detail; his support of our work in ways big and small, noticeable and untold; his strong opinions on movies, music,and more; and yes, even his constant reminders to get our timesheets and expense reports in.

Rick Pavich (center), Health Access’ Director of Operations and Development, pictured with Joan Pirkle Smith, President of the Board, and Anthony Wright, Executive Director

We have been hugely fortunate to benefit from his extensive nonprofit experience with advocacy and political organizations. He began his career in Washington, DC, as a fundraiser for nonprofits such as Voters for Choice, the Human Rights Campaign, and World Wildlife Fund. In 1998, Rick came to California to become the Director of Donor Relations for Lutheran Social Service of Northern California, an organization with an array of programs including ground-breaking work in San Francisco assisting homeless people living with AIDS. Prior to Health Access, he served as the Executive Director of the National AIDS Memorial Grove, a 7.5-acre memorial honoring all lives touched by AIDS, located in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. It’s worth a visit if you are ever there.

We were happy to have Rick relocate from the San Francisco to join Health Access, even willing to brave Sacramento summers when he didn’t love the heat, but did appreciate other aspects of the Capital. Rick received his BA from the University of Utah, has been credentialed as a Certified Fund-Raising Executive (CFRE) since 1997, and holds a Masters degree in Nonprofit Administration from the University of San Francisco. We remember that Rick could still surprise us, for example referencing his background in musical theater. In just the last staff meeting, he broke out his fluency in Russian, to the shock of many.

He is survived by his spouse Sam and their twin mutts, Lily and Algernon. We will post information about services when they become available. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that contributions in his name be made to the World Wildlife Fund, one of his first employers in the field.

We will miss Rick dearly.