The International Campaign for Tibet is saddened to learn of the passing of Richard Blum, a longtime friend of H.H. the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people, on February 27. We express our heartfelt condolences to Senator Dianne Feinstein and his beloved family in their time of loss.

Dick Blum with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Senator Feinstein, and former president Jimmy Carter.

Blum, 86, married Senator Dianne Feinstein in 1980, and both of them contributed greatly in efforts to find a peaceful resolution to the Tibetan issue as well as undertaking initiatives to empower the Tibetan people as well as the Himalayan communities. He established the American Himalayan Foundation to provide humanitarian assistance to these people.

Blum first met His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1972 and was greatly inspired by him. Since then, he had played a crucial role in encouraging the Chinese government to appreciate the initiative on dialogue from the Dalai Lama and worked closely with His Holiness’ then-special envoy, the late Lodi Gyari. In his “My Personal Words of Gratitude” in 2014, Gyari says, “Senator Dianne Feinstein and her husband, Richard Blum deserve special mention. They were relentless in this endeavor and even made special trips to China carrying personal communications from His Holiness the Dalai Lama to President Jiang Zemin.” Senator Feinstein was introduced to His Holiness the Dalai Lama by Blum in 1978.

Dick Blum with Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari

The International Campaign for Tibet awarded Richard our Light of Truth Award in 1999 for his staunch dedication to the culture and wellbeing of the Himalayan people, including Tibetans. For more than two decades, he worked to improve their lives.

Blum was also generous in his support of many different causes, including academic research to address global issues. He drew his inspiration from His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In one of his remarks prepared for the celebrations of the Dalai Lama’s 75th birthday, Blum said, “Importantly, His Holiness has had a profound effect on the way I spend much of my time; that is in fighting global poverty in the Himalayas and elsewhere.”

In 2006, he funded the Richard C. Blum Center for Developing Economies at the University of California, Berkeley to “improve the quality of life for impoverished people by helping them develop their full economic potential.” At that time, His Holiness the Dalai Lama commended the initiative, writing, “Richard Blum has been a friend of the Tibetan people for three decades. I am delighted to know our message of kindness and compassion has taken a new practical dimension by the establishment of this new center at the University of California, Berkeley.”

Below is Blum’s official bio:

Richard C. Blum is the Founder and Chairman of Richard C. Blum & Associates, Inc., the general partner of Blum Capital Partners, L.P., a long-term strategic equity investment management firm which acts as general partner for various investment partnerships and provides investment advisory services. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of PAG. He is also Co-Founder of Newbridge Capital (now part of TPG Capital). In the past, Mr. Blum has served on the Boards of many prominent companies, including CBRE Group, Inc., Fairmont Raffles Holdings International Limited, Northwest Airlines Corporation, Myer Pty. Ltd. in Australia, Glenborough Realty Trust, Inc., Korea First Bank, URS Corporation, and National Educational Corporation.

Mr. Blum is former Chairman of the University of California Board of Regents, where he continues to serve as a Regent. He is former Chairman of the Advisory Board for the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. He was appointed by President Obama to be a member of the President’s Global Development Council. Mr. Blum founded the American Himalayan Foundation and Blum Center for Developing Economies at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the Honorary Consul of Nepal. Additionally, Mr. Blum serves on the board of trustees of the following non-profit organizations: The Asian Art Museum Foundation, The Carter Center, Central European University, Glide Foundation, The National Democratic Institute, The Simon Wiesenthal Center Inc., and The Wilderness Society. He is an Honorary Trustee for the Brookings Institution and is also a founding member of the Council of Advisors to National Geographic International.

Prior to founding Blum Capital, Mr. Blum was with Sutro & Co. for 17 years, holding various positions including director, major stockholder, and member of the Executive Committee. He earned both his B.A. and M.B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley. In 2006 he received an honorary doctoral degree from the University of San Francisco’s McLaren College of Business. Most recently, he was awarded the Haas School of Business’ Lifetime Achievement Award.