Richard C. Blum

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Richard C. Blum
Blum in 2009
Richard Charles Blum

(1935-07-31)July 31, 1935
DiedFebruary 27, 2022(2022-02-27) (aged 86)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
EducationUniversity of California, Berkeley (BS, MBA)
Andrea Schwartz
(m. 1959; div. 1977)
(m. 1980)

Richard Charles Blum (July 31, 1935 – February 27, 2022) was an American investor and the husband of United States Senator Dianne Feinstein.[1] He was the chairman and president of Blum Capital, an equity investment management firm. Blum was on the boards of directors of several companies, including CB Richard Ellis, where until May 2009 he served as the chairman of that board. He was a regent of the University of California from 2002 until his death.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Blum was born in San Francisco, California, to a Jewish family. He was the son of Louise (Hirsch) and Herbert Blum, who sold robes and raincoats.[3] He attended San Francisco public schools.[4] He received his Bachelor of Science in business administration in 1958 and a Master of Business Administration in 1959 from the Haas School of Business of the University of California, Berkeley.[5]

In the 1970s, Blum supported then Mayor of San Francisco George Moscone.[3] After Moscone's assassination, Blum supported the new mayor Dianne Feinstein; they married in 1980.[4] Blum had three daughters from his first marriage to Andrea Schwartz Blum.[6]


Blum joined investment brokerage Sutro & Co. at the age of 23, becoming a partner before age 30.[4] At Sutro, Blum led a partnership that acquired Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus for $8 million, selling it to Mattel four years later for $40 million.[4] On the back of this deal Blum started in business for himself in 1975, founding what is now Blum Capital Partners;[4] a stake in URS Corp. was one of its first investments.[4]

Blum with Ron Conway and Paul Pelosi in 2012

Blum founded Blum Capital in 1975.[7] Blum previously served as chairman of the board of directors of CB Richard Ellis,[8][9] as well as serving as director on the boards of directors of three other portfolio companies: Fairmont Raffles Holdings International Ltd., Current Media, L.L.C., and Myer Pty Ltd. in Australia.[10] Blum co-founded Newbridge Capital in 1994.[11]

Blum served on the boards of multiple companies, including Northwest Airlines Corporation,[12] Glenborough Realty Trust, Inc., Korea First Bank,[9] URS Corporation,[13] and National Education Corporation.[14] Blum was the founder and chairman of the American Himalayan Foundation[15] and was Honorary Consul to Mongolia and Nepal.[16] Blum was also a member of the advisory board of Berkeley's Haas School of Business.[17]

On March 12, 2002, Blum was appointed by California Governor Gray Davis to a 12-year term as one of the Regents of the University of California.[18]

On April 25, 2009, at a talk featuring the 14th Dalai Lama, Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgenau presented Blum with the Berkeley Medal, the university's top honor. The talk was sponsored by his American Himalayan Foundation and the Blum Center for Developing Economies at Berkeley.[19]

Blum was also the primary owner of Career Education Corporation until 2015[20][21] and served on the boards of the CB Richard Ellis (chairman), Newbridge Capital (co-chairman), and Blum Capital.[22]

Personal life[edit]

Blum with his then-partner Dianne Feinstein in the late 1970s

Blum had a strong interest in Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism, and in 1981 he attempted to climb Mount Everest from the Tibetan side with Sir Edmund Hillary.[23][24] He was the chairman and founder of the apolitical American Himalayan Foundation (AHF), which has given millions of dollars to build hospitals and schools in Tibet and Nepal, but refrained from political involvement with the Chinese control of Tibet.[25]

Blum was at various times a trustee of The Carter Center; co-chairman of The World Conference of Religions for Peace;[9] member of Governing Council of The Wilderness Society;[5] member of the board of trustees of the Brookings Institution; member of the board of trustees of the American Cancer Society Foundation; member of the board of directors of the National Democratic Institute;[26] and a member of the board of trustees of the Richard C. Blum Center for Developing Economies at the University of California, Berkeley. He contributed $15 million toward the establishment of the center, which addresses extreme poverty and disease in the developing world. In 2019, Blum provided an additional $12 million to endow a chair at the center.[27][28]

He donated to the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF), Merced and Los Angeles (UCLA) and Sonoma State University, as well as Macalester College. He pledged $1.25 million to the University of San Francisco (USF) in 2007, and another $1.5 million to USF for "global education" in 2019.[29] He was awarded the UCSF medal in 2012.[30] He served on many other boards, including the Seva Foundation and as chairman of the Himalayan Foundation.[31] In the arts and culture, he made grants to the Creative Visions Foundation, the Daniel Pearl Foundation, San Francisco's Asian Art Museum, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles.[29]

Blum was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2016.[32] He was hospitalized in September 2021 for an undisclosed reason.[33] He died from cancer at his home in San Francisco on February 27, 2022, at the age of 86.[3][34]


  • Blum, Richard C.; Stone, Erica; Coburn, Broughton (2006). Himalaya: Personal Stories of Grandeur, Challenge, and Hope. ISBN 978-0-7922-6192-6.
  • Blum, Richard C.; Hayes, Thomas C. (2016). An Accident of Geography: Compassion, innovation, and the fight against poverty. ISBN 978-1-62634-334-4.


  1. ^ "AHF Annual Dinner : Events". American Himalayan Foundation. October 11, 2010. Archived from the original on July 28, 2014.
  2. ^ Tempest, Rone (November 18, 2005). "Deal-Maker's Worlds Mesh at Party in S.F." Los Angeles Times.
  3. ^ a b c Asimov, Nanette (February 28, 2022). "Richard Blum dies: S.F. financier, UC regent and husband of Sen. Dianne Feinstein". San Francisco Chronicle.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Abate, Tom (May 11, 2003). "The man behind URS, next to Sen. Feinstein". San Francisco Chronicle. pp. I1–I2.
  5. ^ a b "Regent Richard C. Blum". Regents of the University of California. Retrieved September 29, 2018.
  6. ^ "San Francisco Mayor Is Planning To Marry an Investment Banker". The New York Times. March 5, 1979.
  7. ^ Zuckerman, Gregory; Eder, Steve (November 11, 2011). "Seeing Winners Become Losers". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  8. ^ Fader, Carole. "Fact Check: Did Sen. Feinstein get a sweetheart deal on post office sales for her husband?". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  9. ^ a b c "Davis names investor Blum to UC Board of Regents / Husband of Sen. Feinstein is a Berkeley grad". SFGate. March 13, 2002. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  10. ^ "Richard Blum Joins SF Fed Econ Advisory Council". PE Hub. April 1, 2010. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  11. ^ Bunting, Glenn (March 28, 1997). "Feinstein, Husband Hold Strong China Connections". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  12. ^ Sward, Susan (June 12, 2000). "Critics Question Impartiality of SFO Runway Study / Feinstein's husband part-owner of firm conducting report and has 6% stake in Northwest Airlines". SFGate. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  13. ^ Abate, Tom (May 11, 2003). "PROFILE / Richard Blum / The man behind URS, next to Sen. Feinstein". SFGate. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  14. ^ Willman, David (September 16, 1990). "CALIFORNIA ELECTIONS: GOVERNOR : Feinstein Defends Husband's Role in Selloff of Stock". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  15. ^ Groves, Martha (May 27, 1990). "The Man Behind the Woman Who Would Be Governor : Politics: Dianne Feinstein's husband, Richard Blum, is a shrewd businessman, a friend of the famous, with a 'Lt. Columbo style' and a passion for distance running and Tibetan treks". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  16. ^ "Feinstein's Husband Named to Honorary Post". Los Angeles Times. November 9, 2001. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  17. ^ Ross, Andrew; Matier, Phillip (March 31, 2002). "Costs go up and up for BART's escalators". SFGate. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  18. ^ Lederman, Doug (March 3, 2008). "At U. of California, a Systemic Governance Crisis". Archived from the original on January 9, 2009.
  19. ^ Chang, Elizabeth (April 27, 2009). "Berkeley Welcomes Dalai Lama". The Daily Californian. Archived from the original on April 29, 2009. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  20. ^ "Is UC regent's vision for higher education clouded by his investments?". Los Angeles Times. July 14, 2010. Retrieved February 28, 2022.
  21. ^ "Billion Dollar Baby: The University of California invests $53 million in two diploma mills owned by a regent. Category: Page One from". The Berkeley Daily Planet. Retrieved February 18, 2015.
  22. ^ "Regent Richard C. Blum". University of California. Retrieved February 28, 2022.
  23. ^ "Awestruck by Everest". Accident of Geography. Retrieved February 28, 2022.
  24. ^ Blum, Richard (January 2, 2017). "Kangshung Truths". An Accident of Geography. Retrieved March 4, 2022. Two years earlier he had summited the world's second highest peak after Everest – K2, in Pakistan. My dear friend Sir Edmund Hillary came as well as an adviser. At age sixty-two, he couldn't pass up another opportunity to see Tibet and rough it with us for weeks in an Everest base camp.
  25. ^ "Richard C. Blum, Investment Executive, Elected to Brookings Board of Trustees". Brookings. November 30, 2001. Retrieved February 28, 2022.
  26. ^ "NDI Board of Directors: Richard Blum". National Democratic Institute. Retrieved October 2, 2012.
  27. ^ Maclay, Kathleen (April 19, 2006). "Richard Blum gives $15 million to fund center to alleviate poverty". University of Berkeley.
  28. ^ Annual Report on University Private Support: 2018-19 (Report). Oakland, CA: University of California, Office of the President. p. 18.
  29. ^ a b Hollowell, Ashleigh (April 30, 2019). "Educating Global Learners and Leaders with a Gift of $1.5 Million". University of San Francisco. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  30. ^ "UCSF Medal". Office of the Chancellor. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  31. ^ "Passion Project". Nob Hill Gazette. November 2, 2019. Retrieved February 28, 2022.
  32. ^ "Sen. Feinstein's husband dies of cancer". The Hill. February 28, 2022. Retrieved March 6, 2022.
  33. ^ "Dianne Feinstein returns to D.C. following husband's hospitalization". San Francisco Chronicle. September 28, 2021. Retrieved February 28, 2022.
  34. ^ "Senator Dianne Feinstein's husband, Richard Blum, dies at 86". ABC News. February 28, 2022. Retrieved March 6, 2022.

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