Board of Trustees

We are grateful for our trustees’ guidance and investment in The Christensen Fund’s efforts to resource Indigenous leaders and communities around the world. 

We are grateful for our trustees’ guidance and investment in The Christensen Fund’s efforts to resource Indigenous leaders and communities around the world. 

C. Diane Christensen


Diane is the elder daughter of The Christensen Fund’s founders and has been actively involved with the foundation since initially becoming a trustee in the early 1970s, serving as its executive director (1989-2002) and as board chair till the early-mid 2000s and again as co-chair in 2023. During the 1990s, she directed the foundation’s transformation from an operating foundation loaning extensive 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 received her undergraduate degree at Stanford University and MPhil degree in African and Latin American History at Columbia University. She conducted dissertation research on 19th Century Angolan history, and taught African history at Tufts while also serving as an assistant academic dean.  Between 1981 and 1989, she served as co-founder and the first executive director of the Christensen Research Institute, a biological research facility in Papua New Guinea focused on conservation-related research. She currently lives in Palo Alto, CA, and serves on several other nonprofit boards including the Wildlife Conservation Society and the California College of Arts.

Aletha Leong Coleman


Aletha Leong Coleman is a retired tax attorney and CPA who has spent the last 30 years specializing in board governance and bringing charitable organizations through transitions and into maturity. She has served on the boards and executive committees of the Peninsula French-American School, Verde Valley School, Self-Help for the Elderly, Mid-Peninsula High School, and Friends of the Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo, helping to guide all of them through periods of significant growth. At Friends of the Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo, she helped the organization move from being a small group of “friends” raising money for pet projects into a fully functioning board of 17 which has raised over $25 million and rebuilt the facility, as well as raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for supporting projects on a yearly basis. She has also served on the board of Avenidas, which coordinates and manages Palo Alto’s and other cities’ senior services on the Peninsula. Additionally, Aletha has extensive fundraising experience, working on the French-American School’s Garden Party, with Avenidas on their yearly fundraising event, and with Mid-Peninsula High School on their multi-million-dollar Menlo Park campus and scholarship endowment campaigns. A graduate of the University of Hawaii (1978, Medieval Studies) and (University of California Hastings College of the Law) Aletha and her husband now split their time between Hawai’i and Eastern Canada. They have three adult children and three grandchildren.

Christine Smith-Martin


Christine is the CEO of the Coastal First Nations - Great Bear Initiative (CFN-GBI). She is a member of the Haida Nation and Lax Kw’alaams community. Christine is passionate about creating opportunities for young people that instills in them the value of Traditional Knowledge when planning for future economic developments. She was taught by elders that “if we take care of our lands and waters, they will take care of us.” She provides strategic leadership as CFN-GBI continues its work towards Reconciliation, addressing climate change through initiatives such as CFN-GBI’s carbon offset corporation and developing new marine and coastal protection strategies. Her relationship building skills as CFN-GBI continues to bring a wide range of groups together to build a healthy coastal economy. Her track record includes partnering with conservation groups, as well as national and global advocates working to address climate change, salmon conservation and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples. In the past, Christine has served in leadership and advisory roles with Skeena Wild Conservation and the W. Dusk Energy Group (Renewable Energy).

Ikal Angelei


Ikal is an environmental activist from Kenya. She is co-founder and Director of Friends of Lake Turkana, a grassroots organization that seeks to foster social, economic and environmental justice in the Lake Turkana Basin. Ikal completed a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Political Science at Stony Brook University in New York. In 2012 she was awarded with the Goldman Environmental Prize, particularly for her voicing on behalf of Northern Kenyan indigenous communities about the environmental implications of the Gilgel Gibe III Dam.

Joan Carling


Joan Carling is an indigenous activist from the Cordillera, Philippines with more than 20 years of working on indigenous issues from the grassroots to the international level. Her expertise includes human rights, sustainable development, the environment, and climate change. She was the General Secretary of the Asia Indigenous People Pact (AIPP) From 2008 to 2016 and was an indigenous expert member of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues from 2014-2016. She was awarded the Champions of the Earth- Lifetime Achievement Award by UN Environment in September 2018. Ms Carling is the co-founder and currently the Executive Director of the Indigenous Peoples Rights International-IPRI.

Lisa Hendrickson


Lisa Hendrickson is a community leader and businesswoman with broad-based experience in the nonprofit and corporate sectors. She was president & CEO of Avenidas, a Palo Alto based not-for-profit senior services agency supporting older adults who are aging in place throughout the Mid-Peninsula. During her tenure she successfully led two major capital projects, resulting in the construction of a new building to house a major program, the complete renovation and expansion of the organization’s historic community center and the fundraising to enable both. Lisa has a breadth of board governance experience having served in leadership positions on the boards of several not for profit agencies providing safety net and educational services. She also has 20 years of commercial banking experience culminating as senior vice president and manager, Regional Commercial Banking, Wells Fargo Bank, Palo Alto. She continues to serve on the board of directors of Avidbank, an independent commercial bank serving businesses and individuals primarily in Northern California. Her community work currently includes mentoring nonprofit executive directors and engagement with other ALF Senior Fellows in support of her community. Lisa is a graduate of Smith College where she received a B.S. in economics. She and her husband have two adult sons and live in Menlo Park, California.

Michael Christensen-Calvin


Michael is one of the grandchildren of the founders. He graduated from Stanford with a degree in computer science, and has since worked as a game developer in the San Francisco Bay Area for a variety of companies ranging from social mobile games to educational children’s games. He currently lives in Berkeley and works as an independent game developer.

Nichole June Maher


President and CEO, Inatai Foundationshe/her/they
Nichole June Maher became Inatai Foundation’s inaugural president and CEO in October 2018, after six years at Northwest Health Foundation (NWHF). In her first year, Nichole and Inatai Foundation staff visited all of Washington’s 39 counties multiple times. Under Nichole’s guidance, the foundation used the learnings from community visits to build our early-stage infrastructure—from articulating how we approach critical areas of work, to designing equity-centered grantmaking programs, and creating a values-driven investment office. The foundation also began significant grantmaking under Nichole’s leadership, committing $200 million in grants since 2019 with more than 80 percent of funding supporting people-of-color-led organizations. Before joining Inatai Foundation, Nichole led NWHF to become a national forerunner in equity and a champion of supporting community vision for health in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Prior to that, Nichole served as the executive director of the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA), an Oregon- and Southwest Washington-serving organization widely recognized as having one of the most effective and innovative wraparound family service models for Native Americans in the United States. During those eleven years at NAYA, Nichole’s most satisfying and impactful accomplishment was co-founding the Coalition of Communities of Color, a powerful advocacy group in the Northwest region. Nichole has served on a number of governing boards, including Grantmakers in Health, Heritage University, Philanthropy Northwest, National Urban Indian Family Coalition, and Northwest Indian College Foundation. She holds an MPH from the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University. She also completed a fellowship at Harvard Medical School and the Robert Wood Johnson Minority Medical Education program at Yale Medical School. Nichole is proud of her Alaskan Native heritage and all of the lessons she learned growing up in rural communities in Alaska, Washington, and Oregon. She is the mother of three young children and is a resident of Kitsap County, living as a guest on the land of the Suquamish people.

Nicole Pierret


Nicole Pierret is the granddaughter of the founders of The Christensen Fund. She spent her early childhood in Papua New Guinea, attended an international high school in Arizona, and graduated from California College of the Arts, majoring in painting. She and her husband are artists and live in Palo Alto, CA. Currently she works for local ceramic artist Bean Finneran.

Phillippe Wallace


Phillippe Wallace is the chief financial and operating officer of the College Futures Foundation, which works to ensure that more students who reflect California’s diversity complete a B.A. and access the opportunity for a better life. He oversees the foundation’s $500 million investment portfolio as well as finance, accounting, information technology, facilities, and non-grantmaking operations. He has served in the CFO and COO roles in philanthropy for almost 20 years. Earlier in his career he focused on investment management, technology investment banking, and private equity. Phillippe has an M.B.A. in Strategy and Finance from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, where he was a fellow in the Consortium for Graduate Studies in Management. He received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard College and has a Chartered Financial Analyst designation from the CFA Institute. He is active in the sector, having served on the boards of the Foundation Financial Officers Group (FFOG), the member organization of financial and investment officers of large private foundations, and of Community Initiatives, a fiscal sponsor of projects for the benefit of communities in service to social change. He has also served as director and treasurer for Hispanics in Philanthropy, and as a member of the Alumni Diversity Council at the Haas School of Business. Phillippe resides in Berkeley where he and his family can be found roaming the city’s hill paths.

Terri L. Henry


Terri is well known for championing sovereignty issues on behalf of her nation, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and all Indian nations at the national level. Her educational background, small business and professional experience, coupled with her Cherokee life experience, has given her a unique perspective from which to analyze legal and tribal governmental issues. She has been privileged to have spent almost 25 years working with American Indian tribal governments, traveling throughout Indian Country in the United States and abroad, studying and working at the United Nations both in New York and Geneva, and advocating for the human rights of Indigenous Peoples and in support of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other international instruments. She provided national leadership on the passage of historic United States laws strengthening the sovereignty and self-governance of Indian Nations. These legal reforms included increasing the sentencing authority of Indian tribal courts and the authority of tribal courts to prosecute non-Indians committing acts of domestic violence on Indian lands, and numerous tribal reforms. These reforms required organizing Indian nations and tribal grassroots organizations across the United States.  Over the years, she has played a key role in developing and strategizing the grassroots movement addressing violence against American Indian and Alaska Native women and supporting passage of two seminal federal laws: the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act of 2013, including its previous iterations, and the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010. In order to achieve these goals, Ms. Henry founded an essential organization, the National Congress of American Indians Task Force on Violence Against Women, which she served as co-chair. She is a founding member and first Board Chairperson of the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center and served as the Board Chair of the Indian Law Resource Center.

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz


Victoria Tauli-Corpuz was appointed as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples by the Human Rights Council in 2014, and served until April 2020. She is an indigenous leader and a human rights expert from the Kankana-ey Igorot people of the Cordillera Region in the Philippines. As an indigenous activist, she has worked for over four decades on helping build movements, networks and institutions of indigenous peoples from the local to the global levels. Ms. Tauli-Corpuz is the former Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (2005-2010), and has served as the chairperson-rapporteur of the Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Populations. As an indigenous leader, she was actively engaged in drafting and adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples from 1985 to 2007. She has founded and managed various NGOs involved in social awareness raising, leadership development, climate change and the advancement of indigenous peoples’ and women’s rights and she was a member of United Nations Development Programme Civil Society Organizations Advisory Committee. In her capacity as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Ms. Tauli-Corpuz provided expert testimony before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and the African Court on human and peoples’ rights and prepared policy advice to the World Bank, the Asia Development Bank, the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), among others.