The Christensen Fund is a private foundation founded in 1957. Between 1981-2002, the foundation supported several fellowships and scholarships to support biodiversity work. Cognizant of the role of Indigenous People’s in defending and protecting the world’s biodiversity, the Christensen Fund evolved its approach over the years to focus on rights- and place-based equitable grantmaking that almost exclusively supports Indigenous-led and Indigenous-serving organizations working on the ground.
Christensen's grantmaking strategy centers on supporting and strengthening Indigenous Peoples’ efforts to secure and exercise their rights to their land, territories, resources, and sovereign systems of governance. The fund has rooted its work in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the global standard that both asserts and recognizes Indigenous worldviews and values and establishes a universal framework for the recognition of their rights.
The Christensen Fund supports partners in four geographical portfolios: Global, United States, Kenya, and Mexico. It also advances Indigenous rights through its Indigenous Leaders Program as well as a strategic investment portfolio, known as Purpose Aligned Capital. The goal is to provide to provide catalytic capital for indigenous-service projects that can have a transformative impact for Indigenous communities, while still generating necessary returns for grantmaking and operational expenses.
Financing Instrument: Grants
Project scale: At the World Leaders Summit at COP26, the Christensen Fund joined the UK, Norway, Germany, the US, and the Netherlands, and over 15 private funders in a collective pledge of 1.7 billion USD for Indigenous and local communities to protect tropical forests. Grants (or portions thereof) that support this pledge totaled $2,869,400 and $4,758,300 in 2021 and 2022, respectively.
Recipient countries regions/country groups: Global
Recipient categories: Businesses, NGOs/NPOs, Research institutes/ Universities
Eligibility Criteria: The Christensen Fund is currently providing direct support to organizations and community partners whose work and ways of life advance the rights, dignity, and self-determination of Indigenous Peoples. It also supports a number of mission-aligned affinity groups and communities of practice. These are membership-based organizations committed to a more equitable and impactful philanthropic sector.
Application guidelines: Applications for grants are accepted by invitation only. The Christensen Fund works to identify grantmaking opportunities in which it can make the most impact and offer long-term partnership to organizations. Occasionally, open calls for proposals are announced publicly on our website and on social media.
Last updated: 10 October 2023