Gwen Walden is a managing director in Arabella’s California office. Gwen’s work centers on the strategic needs of boards of directors and senior and executive leadership in private foundations, family foundations, corporate giving entities, and public agency grant makers. She specializes in working with clients on long-term strategic plans using a range of planning methodologies, as well as on targeted strategic issues that have ramifications for an organization’s operations and programs. Gwen also has extensive experience in helping foundations use non-grant-making strategies, such as capacity building and advocacy, to partner with nonprofits for social change.
In 2011, Gwen began serving as a Trustee of the Surdna Foundation, a New York-based, fifth-generation family foundation with over $700 million in assets that gives to organizations nationwide focused on creating sustainable communities.
Gwen’s distinguished career is marked both by her deep knowledge of the history and practice of philanthropy and by her hands-on experience managing major foundation initiatives and functions. She has managed prominent projects and programs in the arts, early childhood education and development, health, and philanthropy devoted to women and girls. Gwen has also led several funder collaboratives and joint giving programs.
Prior to joining Arabella, Gwen headed Walden Philanthropy Advisors, working with many of Southern California’s largest and best-known philanthropic entities across a variety of issue areas. Her more than two decades of experience encompass major programmatic, management, and executive leadership assignments at two of the largest foundations in the United States: The J. Paul Getty Trust and The California Endowment.
Gwen has been an active member of the field of philanthropy for many years, serving on numerous professional boards and committees. She has also devoted much time and effort to increasing the diversity of the profession by serving on the Council on Foundations Inclusive Practices Committee, as a Board member of Funders for Gay and Lesbian Issues, and as the Chair of Women & Philanthropy.
Gwen has received national recognition for her numerous articles on current issues in philanthropy, and has written for all of the major trade publications, including Foundation News & Commentary, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, and Nonprofit & Voluntary Sector Quarterly, as well as in special editions of the annual State of Philanthropy and New Directions for Philanthropic Fundraising. Gwen has a BA from The George Washington University and an MA from The Johns Hopkins University.
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Check out some of Gwen’s big ideas on Arabella’s Greater Good blog.