Backing the stewards of cultural and biological diversity/

Board of Trustees

C. Diane Christensen (President)

As the elder daughter of the Fund’s founders, Carmen and Allen D. Christensen, Diane has been actively involved with the Fund since initially becoming a Trustee in the early 1970s. She took over from her father as its Executive Director and board chair in 1988 and served as such until Ken Wilson’s arrival as ED in 2002. During this time, she directed the foundation’s transformation from an operating foundation loaning its extensive non-Western art collections to museums in the U.S. and Australia to a private foundation making grants. She oversaw the transfer of its extensive collections to a number of U.S. and overseas museums and universities in the 1990s and early 2000s, and transitioned the foundation to a self-governing board of trustees no longer controlled by the founder’s family. Diane did her undergraduate work at Stanford and her graduate work at Columbia in African and Latin American History, researching the economic history of Angola in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. She taught African history at Tufts in the 1970s where she also served as an Assistant Academic Dean, later co-founding and directing for ten years the Christensen Research Institute, a biological research facility in Papua New Guinea focused on conservation-related research. She currently oversees her family’s asset management firm while serving on several nonprofit boards, including the Wildlife Conservation Society; Stanford University’s Archaeology Council; the Director’s Advisory Board of the Cantor Center for the Arts at Stanford; and the board of trustees of the California College of Arts, where she currently serves as board chair. Diane travels widely and is fascinated by animals & wildlife, non-Western & comparative history, the visual arts, and Papua New Guinea, E. Africa and Afghanistan.

Bill Dempsey photo[1]Bill Dempsey

Bill Dempsey is the Chief Financial Officer for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), a U.S.-based labor organization of 2-million members, where he also Co-Chairs their $2 billion pension fund. He has 25 years of experience developing new strategies to empower under-served communities and advance sustainable economic and racial justice. Bill has served as the Chief Financial Officer and Program Director of the Nathan Cummings Foundation where he oversaw grants, managed their shareholder action program, started an impact investing program and supervised the investments of a $450 million endowment. He has led reform campaigns that changed the boardrooms, executive pay and/or governance policies at dozens of S&P 100 companies. Bill ran Capital Stewardship Programs at the United Food & Commercial Workers and SEIU, working with public and private sector pension funds with billions of dollars in assets. His career in investor activism began as a teenager in the 1980’s when he founded the Marquette University South Africa Coalition, questioning his campus endowment’s reliance on high-risk, apartheid-era investments, an effort opposed by a fellow student named Scott Walker, who went on to an interesting career of his own.


Theresa Fay-Bustillos

Theresa Fay-Bustillos is the President and CEO of Community Initiatives, an incubator for ideas, programs, and collaborations that do not have non-profit status by providing expert guidance, financial services; grants management; human resources, payroll and benefits management; insurance; and online donations through fiscal sponsorship to individuals, groups, foundations, philanthropic organizations, academic institutions, and government agencies.  She began her career as a civil and human rights lawyer prior to her current engagement with social non-profit entrepreneurs.  She is the former founder and Managing Director of Ideal Philanthropy & Sustainability, a global consultancy specializing in strategic planning, measurement and evaluation for social change-focused philanthropists and in break-through sustainability initiatives such as true cost accounting for the private sector. Theresa is a former Vice President, Worldwide Community & Corporate Citizenship for Levi Strauss and Co. and the Executive Director of the Levi Strauss Foundation. Over her eight years there, she led the company’s sustainability efforts globally and with the team supported organizations in 35 countries in the areas of workers’ rights, financial services – asset-building, HIV/AIDS prevention and environmental sustainability. While at Levi’s, Theresa was also the chief legal officer for the foundation addressing issues of governance, self-dealing, endowment management and the USA Patriot Act. Since leaving Levi Strauss Theresa has designed, led or evaluated a number of major philanthropic and multilateral programs in the US and internationally. Theresa received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley and her law degree from the University of California at Los Angeles.  She serves on several boards including the California Women’s Foundation, Fair Trade USA, MALDEF, and CREA. She is the former (and founding) Board Chair for the International Funders for Indigenous Peoples, and has been selected as one of the Most Influential Women in San Francisco by the San Francisco Business Times. Theresa has been commended and recognized in resolutions by the City of Los Angeles, the California Senate, and by the Levi Strauss Foundation.

Peter Liu (Treasurer)

Peter Liu works to build companies and organizations that promote sustainable resources for economic growth. Peter is the co-founder of Clean Energy Advantage Partners, a firm that advises global corporations on investment in renewable energy projects. Clean Energy Advantage Partners’ clients include leading global brands that have achieved 100% renewable energy supply through new and additional projects. He also currently serves as strategic advisor to Cowgirl Creamery/Tomales Bay Foods, the iconic and pioneering artisanal cheese maker based in Petaluma, CA. Peter is the founder of New Resource Bank which is based in San Francisco and is the first green commercial bank in the U.S. He is also the co-founder and vice chairman of the China US Energy Efficiency Alliance which since 2004 has coordinated policy and technical collaboration to help China broaden energy efficiencyadoption. Peter currently also serves on the boards of directors for the East Bay Regional Parks Foundation, which funds the U.S.’s largest regional park system as well the boards of the Climate Action Reserve and the Bay Area Open Space Council. Previously, he was a founding board member for Ecologic Brands, an Oakland company which makes fully compostable and recyclable packaging for national consumer product brands. He also served on the clean technology advisory board for the California Public Employees Retirement Systems and the California Teacher’s Retirement Systems. Peter has degrees in Chemical Engineering and Materials Science from UC Berkeley and a graduate degree from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School. Peter’s weekly goal is to cycle longer distances than he drives.


 Thomas K. Seligman

Upon his recent retirement from Stanford University after twenty three years, Tom Seligman became the John & Jill Freidenrich Director Emeritus of the Iris & BGerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University. Prior to becoming the first full-time Director in the museum’s history, Tom was a deputy director and Curator of the arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas at The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, where he served for twenty years. Tom served as a trustee of the Association of Art Museum Directors,  the American Federation of Arts and The American Association of Museums International Council of Museums (AAM/ICOM). He is founder of the Friends of Ethnic Arts. From 1988-92, Mr. Seligman served on the President’s Cultural Property Advisory Committee, which reviews requests from other countries for assistance under the terms of the law implementing the 1970 UNESCO Cultural Property Convention. He is a specialist in the arts of Africa. As a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia, West Africa in the 1960s, he taught at Cuttington College and directed a museum of African art. He subsequently specialized in the arts and culture of the Tuareg people of the central Sahara and recently has been researching jewelry makers in Rajasthan and Gujarat, India in preparation for an exhibition and publication.

Atossa Soltani (Chair)

For over twenty years, Atossa Soltani has been leading global campaigns that have resulted in groundbreaking victories for indigenous rights, corporate accountability, and rainforest protection. Soltani founded Amazon Watch in 1996 and became board president in 2015 after having served as the Executive Director for 18 years. A skilled strategist, organizer and storyteller, Soltani has effectively recruited prominent opinion leaders, celebrities, and business leaders in campaigns that have resulted in the oil industry and international financial institutions adopting stronger environmental and social standards globally. Under her leadership, Amazon Watch has formed long-term alliances and partnerships with indigenous and local communities and social movements throughout the Americas. Soltani was named the 2013 Hillary Laureate for Leadership in Climate Equity by the New Zealand-based Sir Edmund Hillary Institute. She currently serves as the chair of the board of the Christensen Fund, and is on the advisory board of the Inter-American Clean Energy Institute. Prior to founding Amazon Watch, Atossa directed campaigns at the Rainforest Action Network that lead to key victories including ending clear-cut logging practices in Canada and forcing Hollywood Studios to end their use of rainforest wood in movie sets. She began her career in the 1980’s as the Conservation Director for the City of Santa Monica.

Richard Williams (Secretary)

Richard B. Williams (Oglala Lakota/Northern Cheyenne) is a passionate and committed advocate and fierce champion of Native peoples in the United States. From 1997-2012, he has served as president and CEO of the American Indian College Fund, a national non-profit scholarship fundraising organization for American Indian students attending tribal colleges and universities which provide culturally based education and are run by the tribes. Rick was the first American Indian to graduate from the University of Nebraska Lincoln, receiving a B.A. (magna cum laude) in 1975. Concurrently, he finished an independent study program at the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) in Boulder, Colorado, where he continued his work as a paralegal after graduation. In 1987, Rick completed a M.A. in educational administration at the University of Wyoming, Laramie. Rick has dedicated himself to the goal of American Indian education throughout his career. At CU-Boulder, he directed several initiatives, including the American Indian Upward Bound Program, as Director of Minority Affairs and the University Learning Center (now the Student Academic Service Center). Rick also helped to establish the White Antelope Memorial Scholarship that provides financial assistance to American Indian students. He directed a summer initiative, Tribal Resource Institute in Business, Engineering & Science (TRIBES), a privately funded program that augmented university resources for students. At the American Indian College Fund, Rick has raised more than $200 million for scholarship support for Native students and support for the Tribal Colleges and Universities since 1997, including helping 17 faculty members complete their doctorates. In 2007 he received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Roger Williams University in Rhode Island for his work in Native education. Rick serves on the board of the Mashantucket (Western) Pequot Tribe Endowment Trust. He is a devoted father of four children and grandfather of six grandchildren. He resides in Broomfield, Colorado with his wife, Sally Carufel-Williams (Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe/Dakota).

Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas (Vice Chair)

MNY is a visual artist working in a wide range of materials from sheets of paper to sheets of steel. While this practice reaches out across the cleavages between Indigenous Peoples and Settler populations it is grounded and informed by his own ethnic ancestry, a Haida from their north Pacific island home. Samples of that artwork can be seen at MNY has worked in the contemporary application of historically recognized Indigenous Title and Rights in Canada, most notably in the establishment of the Gwaii Trust, a culturally diverse community and consensus controlled interest generating fund and the biologically significant Haida Heritage Site also known as the Gwaiihaanaas National Park Reserve. He also serves on the Advisory Board at the Museum of Anthropology at University of British Columbia.