Mary K. Christian, Ralph M. Parsons Foundation

TITLE: Program Officer

FUNDING AREAS: Arts, higher education, health, and human services

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

IP TAKE: Program officers at Parsons operate as generalists and weigh in on all grant proposals. That said, Christian is the person there with a background in the arts.    

PROFILE: Mary K. Christian may not be a professional vocalist or musician herself, but she sure knows a lot about opera and the symphony for a philanthropist. 

Before joining Parsons in 2004, Christian was a grants officer and later assistant director of press and public relations at the Los Angeles Opera. After that, she worked on the development side at the Pasadena Symphony. She rounded out her philanthropic career by helping to raise capital funds for the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels Catholic church in downtown Los Angeles. Christian is also a smart, literate person; she has both a bachelor's and a master's degree in English from Stanford.

Given her commitment to English literature and her experience in the nonprofit arts and culture world, chances are Christian had significant input into recent grants given out by Parsons in their Civic & Cultural realm. These include $50,000 to the American Youth Symphony; $100,000 to the Library Foundation of Los Angeles' ALOUD series of conversations, readings and performances; $75,000 to the California Dance Institute "for a dance program serving highly disadvantaged grade-school students"; and $200,000 to her former employer, the Los Angeles Opera, for general support.