The Christensen 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.
Christensen backs the global Indigenous Peoples movement in its efforts to advance the rights and opportunities of stewards of biocultural diversity.
Our Grantmaking Principles:
Diversity: We believe in the power of biocultural diversity stewarded by Indigenous lifeways and values to sustain and enrich a world faced with great change and uncertainty.
Diversity in our grantmaking is achieved through supporting a variety of biocultural initiatives and actors aligned with the priorities and needs of the Indigenous Peoples’ movement.
Reciprocity: We adhere to the Indigenous value of reciprocity that recognizes the interdependence and interconnectedness of all beings.
Reciprocity in our grantmaking is manifested through the continuous practice of building relationships based on mutual respect, equitable exchange, the celebration of diversity, acknowledgement of differentiated roles and the sharing of strengths and privilege.
Resilience: We support the inherent capacity of Indigenous lifeways and ecosystems to innovate and transform, thereby securing resilient biocultural land and seascapes in the face of rapid and unpredictable change.
Resilience in our grantmaking is realized through allying with the Indigenous Peoples’ movement, supporting its strategies to safeguard biocultural diversity and staying the course through its ebbs and flows.
Solidarity: We practice solidarity with Indigenous peoples by engaging them as equal partners and supporting their self-determined needs, priorities and visions for the future.
Solidarity in our grantmaking is expressed by actively consulting with key Indigenous partners and co-developing our grantmaking strategies based on their self-identified needs and priorities.
Networks, Collaborations and Alliances: We advocate the power of strategic alliances, inter-cultural collaborations and thriving networks between Indigenous Peoples, nation states, other social movements and allied individuals and groups to stem and reverse the forces eroding biocultural diversity.
Networks, collaborations and alliances are exemplified in our grantmaking through assuming the responsibility of being a philanthropic influencer, of hosting and convening networks and spaces that engender inter-cultural, politically strategic, mutually supportive relationships between Indigenous Peoples and their possible allies.
Self-Determination: We respect the right of Indigenous Peoples to self-determine their economic, social, cultural and political futures and support their right to free, prior and informed consent on matters that impact their well-being, territories and resources.
Self-determination in our grantmaking is respected by being a philanthropic ally to the Indigenous Peoples movement and aligning our program priorities to the strategies of the Movement to secure biocultural diversity.
Accountability: We commit to being accountable to our values and partners by holding ourselves to the highest standards of excellence and ensuring competence, reliability and transparency in all our actions.
Accountability in our grantmaking is practiced by continually deepening our learning, being consultative in our strategy development, regularly monitoring and evaluating our actions and sharing the results.
Trust: We work to build trusting relationships with Indigenous Peoples and their allies by investing in processes that engender respectful, authentic and long-lasting relationships
Trust in our grantmaking is displayed by placing our confidence in the Indigenous Peoples movement as a key agent of change in securing biocultural diversity.
About the Foundation
The Christensen Fund is a private foundation founded in 1957. We are a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization governed by an independent Board of Trustees.
Since 2003, the focus of our work has been biocultural diversity. Through our grantmaking, Christensen aims to realize its vision of “a bioculturally diverse world enriched and sustained by beautiful, bountiful and resilient communities, landscapes and seascapes.”
For nearly fifteen years, our grantmaking sought to realize this vision through implementing a mission of “backing the stewards of biocultural diversity.” We implemented this mission through a strategy that focused on grantmaking in specific geographic regions namely the African Rift Valley, Central Asia, Melanesia, Northwest Mexico, US Southwest, Northern Australia and the San Francisco Bay Area. Our regional programs were supported by a Global Program with three sub-themes: i) Rights and Representation; ii) Resilient Biocultural Landscapes; iii) Food Sovereignty and Agrobiodiversity.
In 2018, Christensen’s Board of Trustees adopted a new mission as a renewed theory of change to realize our vision:
Christensen backs the global Indigenous Peoples movement in its efforts to advance the rights and opportunities of stewards of biocultural diversity
This mission is rooted in a commitment to support the full and effective implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Our mission is based on what we have witnessed since beginning grantmaking in 2005, the rise of the Indigenous Peoples’ Movement- a movement which has emerged globally as one of the most powerful, steward-led and organized forces for biocultural diversity.
We believe that the Indigenous Peoples Movement and its allies are amongst the most articulate, persistent and strategic advocates for biocultural diversity today and are a critical force in challenging the anthropocentric worldview that has brought us to the brink of ecological collapse.
Based on our new mission, Christensen’s grantmaking strategy in 2020 will shift from a focus on specific regions supported by a Global Program to a focus on specific UNDRIP themes. Going forward our grantmaking strategy will be rooted in a rights-based approach to philanthropy with the goal of being an effective and strategic philanthropic ally to the global Indigenous Peoples Movement.