Executive Director


The Christensen Fund


Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Start Date

Thursday, October 1, 2020

The Organization

The Christensen Fund (the Fund) envisions bioculturally diverse landscapes and seascapes stewarded by Indigenous Peoples and local communities with thriving governance systems, vibrant culturally-rooted stewardship practice, and secure territorial rights guided by community wellbeing and buen vivir. The Fund backs the Global Indigenous Peoples’ Movement in its efforts to advance the rights and opportunities of stewards of biocultural diversity. This new mission is rooted in a commitment to support the full and effective implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

The Indigenous Peoples’ Movement and its allies are among the most articulate, persistent and strategic advocates for biocultural diversity today. They are a critical force in challenging the anthropocentric worldview that has brought us to the brink of ecological collapse. The Christensen Fund has a 15-year history partnering directly with, investing in, and learning from Indigenous communities. To realize its new mission, the Fund has shifted its focus to specific UNDRIP themes, currently those of Lands, Territories, Resources and Governance (LTRG). Applying a rights-based approach to philanthropy, the Fund’s goal is to become a strategic philanthropic ally to the Global Indigenous Peoples’ Movement.

Founded in 1957 by Allen D. and Carmen M. Christensen, The Christensen Fund is a private grantmaking foundation contributing approximately $10M in annual grants. The founders’ global perspective, interests in non-Western art and the environment, and appreciation for creativity and education strongly influenced the Fund’s initial direction and have informed the Fund’s evolution over its sixty-year history.

The Fund’s team members represent broad cultural and geographic diversity and are based in San Francisco, CA and selected regions abroad. The Christensen Fund is currently governed by a seven-person Board of Directors which will expand to nine in 2021; two of these seats are held by Christensen family members.

The Opportunity

This is an exceptional opportunity to lead a foundation at the forefront of supporting and elevating the rights of Indigenous Peoples around the world. With its historic focus on biocultural diversity and strong conviction that environmental and cultural stewardship by Indigenous Peoples is the path forward, The Christensen Fund is a philanthropic trailblazer. Admired as a thought leader and influencer in this work, the Fund has distinguished itself as a credible partner to indigenous communities in part because team members bring lived experience, and in part because collaboration is ingrained in the organization’s DNA; listening to and following the lead of community partners is how funding opportunities are identified and developed.

The new Executive Director will join the Fund at a pivotal moment and will help shape the trajectory of the new strategy. They will hold a vision and lead the team bringing the rights-based focus to life through investments and partnerships designed to:

  • amplify grassroots indigenous voices;
  • build solidarity between and across Indigenous Peoples’ movements; and,
  • increase awareness of international frameworks that protect LTRG rights.

Reporting to the board of directors, the executive director will partner with the board and staff to bring the Fund into its next phase of impact by building on its exceptional reputation and track record of programmatic accomplishments.