Meet Sam Cobbs, CEO of Tipping Point Community.
Born and raised in the Mississippi Delta, Sam Cobbs moved to the Bay Area in 1991 and has been fighting poverty by working to create economic opportunities for individuals ever since. In January 2020, Sam became CEO of Tipping Point Community, a leading philanthropic organization that finds, funds, and strengthens the most promising poverty-fighting solutions in the Bay Area. Since being at the helm, Sam has expanded Tipping Point’s approach by pairing effective direct service grantmaking with policy work to disrupt the conditions that hold poverty in place.
Having experienced poverty first-hand, Sam understands the combination of resilience, resourcefulness, and support that is required to live in a region that has become known worldwide for its high cost of living. When Sam speaks about his personal story, he is quick to acknowledge that it wasn’t only grit that led him to where he is now, but also a healthy dose of luck. Sam has made it a lifelong quest to help take “luck” out the equation so everyone has an opportunity to prosper.
Over the past 25 years in the nonprofit sector, Sam has built a track record of designing and implementing programs with clear outcomes for California’s most vulnerable populations. Prior to joining Tipping Point, Sam served as Chief Executive Officer of First Place for Youth, where he helped grow the organization from a budget of $1.9 million to $28 million. Under his leadership, the organization’s impact increased significantly—from serving approximately 600 youth in one location in 2006 to being a national program operating throughout the state of California and four other states.
Previous to his tenure at First Place for Youth, Sam served as Director of Program Services at Larkin Street Youth Services where he opened San Francisco’s first emergency shelter for young adults, and assisted in the design and implementation of two of the nation’s most innovative housing programs for youth. He also served in leadership positions at Juma Ventures and the Boys & Girls Club of Oakland.
Today, Sam is a member of the Board of Directors for SPUR, Stupski Foundation, and New Profit. He was a recipient of the Annie E. Casey Foundation Children and Family Fellowship from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award, and was named a Social Innovator of the Year by the Ballard Center at Brigham Young University. A seasoned thought leader, Sam has published articles in publications ranging from the San Francisco Chronicle, to the San Francisco Business Journal, and the LEAP Ambassador network.
Sam started his college career at Laney College before transferring to and graduating from California State University, East Bay, with a degree in Psychology and a Masters in Counseling with an emphasis in organizational development.
In his free time, he enjoys cooking for family and friends and rarely hitting a golf ball straight.
Our Founding Story
Tipping Point was started in 2005 with just four board members and 100 donors. Chris James, Ronnie Lott, Katie Schwab Paige, and Daniel Lurie envisioned a better, poverty-free Bay Area. Tipping Point has always believed that the responsibility for making that happen belongs to all of us.