Stanislava Stancheva, The Christensen Fund

TITLE: Grants Associate

FUNDING AREAS: Cultural diversity, Diaspora communities, technical assistance

CONTACT:, (415) 644-1600

IP TAKE: Although Stancheva has worked in grantmaking with a variety of nations, she remains faithful to her native Bulgaria. Her role at Christensen revolve around keeping the lands of Central Asia and Turkey environmentally-sustainable and full of cultural diversity. 

PROFILE: In the nonprofit sector, it can be hard to get organizations to work together, let alone ones in different countries. But this is where Stanislava Stancheva excels. She's the Grants Associate at The Christensen Fund in charge of programs in Central Asia, Turkey, and Melanesia. And her specialty is working on complex multi-country capacity-building and technical assistance programs in these regions.

Stancheva grew up in Bulgaria and speaks four languages. She got her start with a Bachelor’s degree in international economic relations and went on to get her Master's in European government. One thing's for certain, you don't see many of those degree programs in the States. But this has made her an expert in European Union law, strategies, foreign policy, defense dynamics, and economic status.

Before joining The Christensen Fund staff, she worked to develop and implement large-scale European Union-funded projects in Eastern Europe. Although she's stayed true to her Eastern European roots, Stancheva has worked on foreign assistance programs for a variety of nations over the years. Specifically, she's worked for the British Council, the Swiss Culural Program, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, to name a few.

Over the past decade, Stancheva has moved stateside, joined The Christensen Fund staff, and made a home in the beautiful Santa Cruz mountains of California. Here's a sampling of her professional projects:


  • Comparing Cost and Benefits of Different Models of Child Care in Bulgaria
  • Technical Assistance for Cross-border Cooperation Programs between Bulgaria and Greece
  • Protection and Sustainable Use of Globally Important Biodiversity Awareness Campaign
  • European Regional Development Fund Project Proposals
  • Technical Assistance for Cross-border Cooperation between Bulgaria and Macedonia


Stancheva's unique skill set has landed her opportunities to speak about her experiences at several management trainings. She's been a guest lecturer for graduate sociology students at Plovdiv University and a guest lecturer speaking on European Union funding at the University of Zadar in Croatia. She trained students to find new ways to fund creative ideas in Romania and to turn their ideas into projects at a cultural center in Bulgaria. Here's a few other issue areas that Stancheva has been passionate about funding through her work:


  • Community projects that create vibrant art and cultural centers in rural communities
  • Environmentally-sustainable eco-tourism practices
  • Dog overpopulation and animal rescue
  • Technology-based learning initiatives
  • Youth literacy and education
  • Contemporary Greek literature
  • Anything at all involving Bulgaria


According to her profile on The Christensen Fund's website, she enjoys traveling, music, reading, her young son, and her Golden Retrievers. On the job, Stancheva's foreign policy work has been broad and varied. At Christensen, she maintains her focus on “living in biocultural landscapes” and “securing national cultural change.” She looks for programs that support indigenous and nomadic people in Central Asia and Turkey, by protecting their forest ecosystems, wildlife, and agricultural sustainability. Stancheva sees the void left by dissolved Soviet rule and supports art, music, and cultural festivals that celebrate cultural diversity and get young people excited about their heritage.

To learn more about applying for a grant with The Christensen Fund, check out the foundation website's Funding page for instructions and deadlines.