Rick PhillipsFounder/executive directorCommunity Matters, 652 Petaluma Ave., Ste. J1 95472; 707-823-6159x110; communitymatters.org

Describe your organization: Community Matters is recognized as an innovative and thought-leading 501(c)3 organization committed to improving the social-emotional climate of our nation’s schools and communities. Founded in 1996, Community Matters (CM) has provided programs and services to more than 1500 schools, agencies and organizations across the country. Our flagship bullying prevention program, Safe School Ambassadors is included in SAMHSA’s registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices. We are committed to "waking up the courage" of young people and adults to create safe and inclusive schools and communities.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I am a father, grandfather and a champion of children's health and well-being. I earned a Masters Degree in Education from the University of Southern California. I have served as a teacher, principal, district and county administrator and the president of two of California's largest non-profits; Youth Service California and The California Association of Peer Programs. Currently I serve as the Executive Director of Community Matters, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization I began here in Sebastopol, California in 1996. I am married and am a resident of Forestville, California.

What is your role in the organization?: Founder/Executive Director

What achievement are you most proud of?: Developing the Safe School Ambassadors Program, a evidence-based program included on the SAMHSA website as a proven program

What is your biggest challenge today?: Schools being receptive to school climate programs and services in times of budget cuts and emphasis on testing

What is the next major project either under way or on the horizon?: Whole School Climate Audits for school districts

How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?: Increased corporate and foundation funding so we can "give" our services to schools

Most admired businessperson outside your organization: Warren Buffet