News & Views

Dr. Sanjay Bavikatte To Leave Christensen Fund In Early 2020

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

It is with great sadness that I share Dr. Sanjay Bavikatte’s decision to leave Christensen Fund in early 2020.  As we move forward with an exciting new strategy focused on the Indigenous peoples’ movement, the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and our continuing work supporting biocultural diversity and stewards, we must gratefully acknowledge Sanjay’s key leadership that made these changes possible.

Sanjay’s passion and dedication to the ideas that inspire our new work is well known to many of you.  In his announcement, he generously recognizes contributions as well from his board, staff and partners, but I want to clearly underline what a pivotal role he has played as our Executive Director in making all this possible. Since hearing Sanjay’s decision, the Christensen board and senior staff have begun developing plans for an effective leadership transition. We will share updates with you in the coming months.

Sanjay will be deeply missed at all levels of our organization and among you, the community of our outside colleagues, allies and friends. On behalf of all of us at Christensen Fund, I wish Sanjay the best in his next endeavors when we expect to see him continue to inspire others with his dedication to the Indigenous Peoples’ movement.

With warmest best wishes to all at this Holiday Season,

Diane Christensen

President and Co-Chair of the Board of Trustees, The Christensen Fund

“Working to secure biocultural diversity by backing the stewards of the Earth”



Dear Friends of Christensen Fund,

I would like to share with you some bitter-sweet news. I will be stepping down from my role as the Executive Director in early 2020. My four and a half years at Christensen have been alchemical. I have been challenged, nurtured and inspired in a myriad of ways, all of which have made me a better person and leader. I have for some time now felt a growing desire for a different lifestyle and more hands-on work and the moment has finally arrived for me to heed this call.

I feel proud to have successfully led the restructuring the organization and the development of a new strategy committed to advancing the priorities of the Indigenous Peoples’ Movement and the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. I believe that the years to come will testify to the outsize impact of this strategy on biocultural diversity.

From the outset, I’ve viewed my work at Christensen as a calling to serve a mission close to my heart. I am blessed to have played a role in what I believe to be the most urgent cause of our times- ‘to secure biocultural diversity by backing the stewards of the Earth.’

My accomplishments at Christensen, however, are not mine alone. I’ve been supported by a committed Board, a tenacious team, tireless partners and visionary Indigenous leaders who came together to make common cause. They complimented my strengths, made up for my limitations and taught me so much. I am thankful to each and every one of them.

I have worked closely with our Board and excellent leadership team to ensure that my transition is as smooth as possible. I have full confidence in their abilities to accomplish this with ease and minimal disruption.

The Christensen Fund’s best days are still ahead of it and I am happy to have played a part in its journey. I leave with much gratitude for these years of being able to work alongside all of you.

In Solidarity,

Sanjay Kabir Bavikatte