Bea Calo, The Christensen Fund

TITLE: Director of Grantmaking

FUNDING AREAS: Arts, dance, music cultural diversity, indigenous communities

CONTACT: bea@christensenfund.org, 415-644-1600

IP TAKE: Calo has always been passionate about California's rural areas. Her doctoral dissertation was titled “Chicano Entrepreneurship in Rural California: An Empirical Analysis.” To catch her attention, try stepping outside the city's borders and considering the needs of rural, indigenous populations on the outskirts of town.

PROFILE: Dr. Bea Calo stepped into the role of The Christensen Fund's director of grantmaking on September 1, 2013 after joining the fund in 2006 and serving as its Director of Operations and Chief Operating Officer, working primarily on improving staffing and communications.

Calo has a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from the University of California, a Master's in International Management, and Bachelor's in economics and political science. Prior to joining the Christensen team, she clocked in over twenty-five years working the international business scene with start-up and high-growth companies. E-Trade Financial, Charles Schwab, and the University of California's economic research department make an appearance on her resume.

At first glace, The Christensen Fund and its staff seem to be fixated on international issues. While this is mostly correct, they hold a special place in their hearts (and their budget) for the San Francisco Bay Area. Christensen, which is headquartered in San Francisco, views the city as a Pacific cultural crossroads and an outward looking place. Like the common perception of San Francisco itself, Christensen posistions itself as forward-thinking, diverse, holistic, creative, and naturally beautiful.

If there was ever a foundation dedicated to cultural preservation, this is it. In Calo's director of grantmaking role, she is expected to fight for the territorial rights of indigenous minorities from a scattering of groups from Ohlone, Coastal Miwok, Pomo, Wappo, African Rift Valley, Central Asia, Turkey, Mexico, Melanesia, and Northern Australia. The bulk of Christensen's Bay Area grants go to cultural organizations who share their music, dance, film, food, and art traditions with the community. A few local museums, festivals, start-ups, food banks, educational opportunities, and social justice causes that promise cultural diversity are considered each year as well.

Calo's background and personality seamlessly meshes with Christensen's ideals, making her a great fit for the Director of Grantmaking role. She was born in the Philippines and grew up in southern Mindanao, upstate New York, Tanzania, and Hawaii. She's also well-rounded in her personal life, claiming hobbies like hiking, scuba, salsa dancing, and reading mystery novels.

Calo will need take that well-rounded nature to an extreme level to succeed in her new role. While the grant program area might be narrow, the geographic focus couldn't be more broad. Check out the foundation's website to learn more about the Bay Area program and the grant application deadlines, which tend to be in August of each year.