Gwen Walden is a senior managing director in Arabella’s San Francisco office, where she leads the firm’s West Coast practice. In this capacity, she engages with a range of clients on strategy, evaluation, and impact investing work, implementing programs and projects and managing donor collaboratives. She has expertise in the arts, health, early childhood, and education, and works to meet the needs of a range of philanthropic organizations, from small family foundations to large institutional donors.
Gwen has more than 25 years of leadership experience in the nonprofit sector. Her career encompasses major programmatic, management, and executive leadership roles and is marked both by her encyclopedic knowledge of the history and practice of philanthropy and her hands-on experience managing major foundation initiatives and functions. Gwen joined Arabella after managing her own firm, Walden Philanthropy Advisors, Inc., for four years. Prior to that, she held executive leadership assignments at the J. Paul Getty Trust and the California Endowment.
Gwen has received national recognition for her numerous articles on current issues in philanthropy. She 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 been an active member of the field of philanthropy for many years, serving on numerous professional boards and committees. Currently, she is one of only three outside directors of the Surdna Foundation, a five-generation family foundation founded by John E. Andrus with $1 billion in assets. Gwen also sits on the board of the East Bay Community Foundation representing Contra Costa County, and she volunteers her time as a board member of the Breast Cancer Fund, focused on eliminating environmental toxins and radiation that cause cancer.
Gwen earned a bachelor’s degree from the George Washington University and a master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins University.