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Program Advisors

Program advisors are community resource people who bring knowledge, expertise and experience in the program areas and issues addressed by the Columbia Foundation, and who add breadth and depth of perspectives to these areas to inform the foundation's grantmaking programs. They serve in an advisory capacity to the foundation and participate in program committees, which are comprised of the foundation's board of directors, one of whom serves as the program committee chair, and foundation program staff. Program advisors assist the foundation's program committees in identifying the highest and best uses of grant funds, and suggest other ways that the foundation can work towards its program goals in addition to its grantmaking programs.

Current program advisors include:


Arts and Culture


This section is currently under construction.


Human Rights

David Linger

David Linger has acted as advisor to the Columbia Foundation in matters of human rights, with a specific focus on normalization of attitudes towards homosexuality in American society, since 1991. Prior to coming to the Columbia Foundation he was a member of the founding committee of the National AIDS Memorial in Golden Gate Park, and acted as first chair of that organization.

Sustainable Communities and Economies

Paul Hawken

Paul Hawken began his career as an entrepreneur in the 1960's, when he founded Erewhon Trading Company, a natural foods wholesaling business. He co-founded Smith & Hawken, a retail and catalog company, in 1979, and Datafusion, a knowledge synthesis software company, in 1995. His best-selling book, Growing a Business, was published in 1987, and became a 17-part Public Broadcasting System television series, which he hosted and produced. The series explored the challenges and pitfalls of starting and operating socially responsive companies. Paul is the author of The Ecology of Commerce (1993), a classic text on business and the environment. He co-authored Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution(1999) with Amory and Hunter Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute. Paul has served as the co-chair of The Natural Step International, a nonprofit educational foundation whose purpose is to develop and share a common framework comprised of easily understood, scientifically-based principles that can serve as a basis to move society toward sustainability, and is a co-founder of The Natural Step USA. He is the chairman and co-founder of Groxis, Inc., which creates and licenses software technology and knowledge mapping devices that enable Internet users to quickly navigate, access and/or identify relevant information, including the discovery of unknown or unnoticed relationships among data sets and subject categories.

James Head

James W. Head is president and attorney with the National Economic Development and Law Center, a national technical assistance intermediary focusing on community economic development strategies in low-income communities and communities of color. A graduate of the University of Georgia undergraduate program (1974) and law school (1997), James is a member of the California, Georgia, and Florida bars, and specializes at the Center in banking issues and the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA); financing strategies; and legal nonprofit and tax counseling related to community economic development. James has written numerous articles for the Law Center and other publications on finance and banking issues, serves on a number of nonprofit and for-profit boards, and is a frequent advisor to foundations, corporations, and governmental agencies on economic development strategies. Before joining the Center in 1986, James formerly served as a deputy director, and director of litigation with Legal Services of Greater Miami in Florida over a five year period from July 1981, until June 1986. Prior to that, James served as a staff attorney at Georgia Legal Services in Columbus, Georgia from August 1977 through May 1981.

Lawrie Mott

Lawrie Mott is currently an independent consultant specializing in environmental health issues. Until 2001, Ms. Mott was a senior scientist in the San Francisco office of the National Resources Defence Council (NRDC), a national environmental organization. After receiving an M.S. in molecular chemistry from Yale University, Ms. Mott joined the NRDC in the fall of 1981 to commence a new effort to protect the public from the hazards of pesticides. After nearly a decade of work on pesticide issues at both the state and national levels, Ms. Mott launched a new project to safeguard children from environmental health threats. Ms. Mott has considerable experience with scientific advocacy, litigation, legislative and media campaigns and nonprofit management. Ms. Mott authored Pesticide Alert (1987), published by Sierra Club Books, a guide for consumers about pesticides in fruits and vegetables, and many special reports for NRDC.


Program Consultations

Columbia Foundation periodically consults with leaders and practitioners in civil society, academia, philanthropy, and the public and private sectors as a means to identify emerging issues and to inform the foundation’s grant making goals, strategies and priorities in each of its program areas. Recent consultation’s have been held with the following individuals:


Arts and Culture


This section is currently under construction.


Human Rights

LaDoris Cordell

LaDoris Cordell is a 1974 graduate of Stanford Law School. For five years, she practiced law in East Palo Alto, California, a predominantly African American and Mexican American community, establishing herself as the first lawyer to open a private law practice there. In 1978, she was appointed Assistant Dean for Student Affairs at Stanford Law School. In 1982, Governor Jerry Brown appointed Ms. Cordell to the Municipal Court of Santa Clara County, making her the first African American woman judge in all of northern California. In 1988, Judge Cordell traveled to South Africa to participate in that country’s first human rights conference. She received international attention when the South African police detained her during a visit to a black township. She is the subject of an award-winning PBS documentary, “The Color of Justice”, based upon her South Africa visit. In 2001, after being named Judge of the Year by the Santa Clara County Trial Lawyers Association, Cordell retired from the Superior Court. She is currently vice provost on campus relations and special counselor to the president at Stanford University. Cordell is extensively involved in the community, including membership on the boards of the United Way of Santa Clara County, the National Conference for Community and Justice League, the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children, the Asian Law Alliance, and Mills College.

Dorothy Ehrlich

Dorothy Ehrlich was named the fourth executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California (ACLU-NC) in 1978, the first woman to occupy the post. As executive director, Ehrlich heads the organization of 26,000 members in northern California, the largest ACLU affiliate in the nation, and directs the work of 30 staff members, including seven ACLU-NC staff attorneys and two lobbyists in a legislative office in Sacramento. An accomplished spokesperson and writer, Ehrlich has directed the 65-year-old affiliate during a period of extraordinary growth. She has led civil liberties campaigns around reproductive rights, opposition to the death penalty, censorship, and civil rights. She also helped establish the ACLU’s Lesbian and Gay Rights Project. Dorothy also serves as a member of the California Coalition for Reproductive Rights, and the Bay Area Civil Rights Coalition. Ehrlich was a founder of Death Penalty Focus, a statewide organization dedicated to changing public opinion on the death penalty, and currently serves on its advisory committee. She was the recipient of a Gerbode Fellowship for professional development in 1992.

Anthony K. "Van" Jones

Anthony K. “Van” Jones founded the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights (EBC), named for an unsung civil rights heroine, in August 1996. The EBC monitors, documents and confronts human rights abuses by law enforcement officials and organizes those most adversely impacted by the prison industrial complex in order to create just and equitable solutions. Van Jones, the national executive director, graduated in 1990 from the University of Tennessee at Martin with a B.S. in journalism and political science. Before attending Yale Law School, he worked as a reporter, editor and graphic artist for several news organizations. After graduating from law school in 1993, he moved to San Francisco and joined the legal staff of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights where he worked on environmental racism, employment, educational equity and homelessness issues. He then founded Bay Area PoliceWatch, northern California’s first and only police misconduct legal referral panel, in January 1995. Since 1995, Van has received a number of awards and honors recognizing his contributions in the arenas of police reform and human rights. He received the 1998 Reebok International Human Rights Award, and the Rockefeller Foundation named him a Next Generation Leadership Fellow (1997-99). Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Human Rights named Van the 1998 Whitney M. Young Distinguished Lecturer. He is profiled in Kerry Kennedy-Cuomo’s book Speak Truth to Power: Human Rights Defenders Who Are Changing Our World, which profiles 50 human rights heroes around the world. In January 1999, the Chronicle of Philanthropy included him in its list of ten young leaders re-shaping the nonprofit world.

Gara LaMarche

Gara LaMarche is vice president and director of U.S. Programs for the Open Society Institute (OSI), a foundation established by philanthropist George Soros to promote open societies around the world. OSI’s U.S. Programs deal with care of the dying, drug policy reform, crime and incarceration, fair treatment of immigrants, inner-city education and economic development, democratic reform, reproductive health and choice, and restoration of professional and public interest values in law, medicine and journalism. Before coming to OSI in 1996, LaMarche served as associate director of Human Rights Watch and director of its Free Expression Project (1990-1996), and Director of the Freedom-To-Write Program of PEN America Center (1988-1990). From 1976 to 1988, he served in a variety of positions with the American Civil Liberties Union, including Director of the Texas Civil Liberties Union (1984-1988). In 1988-89, he was a Charles H. Revson Fellow on the Future of the City of New York. LaMarche is the author of more than seventy-five articles on civil liberties and human rights topics, which have appeared in publications including the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Newsday, The Nation, Index on Censorship, The Texas Observer, and The Wharton Magazine, and is the editor of Speech and Equality: Do We Really Have to Choose? (New York University Press, 1996). LaMarche has also taught at The New School for Social Research and The John Jay College of Criminal Justice. LaMarche serves on the boards of Article 19, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, and the Management Assistance Group; on the U.S. advisory committee for Index on Censorship, the London-based human rights magazine; and on the advisory committee for the Human Rights Watch Women’s Rights Project.

Jerry Mander

Jerry Mander – one of corporate economic globalization's strongest critics, a longtime social activist and best-selling author – is president and co-director of the International Forum on Globalization (IFG), an alliance of sixty organizations in twenty countries doing public education and campaigns on global economic issues. He is also a senior fellow at the nonprofit Public Media Center, and program director for Megatechnology and Globalization at the Foundation for Deep Ecology. In the 1960s, Jerry Mander was president of a major San Francisco advertising company. In 1971, Mander formed the country's first non-profit advertising agency, Public Interest Communications, for environmental, community, and social action groups. He authored the successful Sierra Club campaigns that kept dams out of the Grand Canyon, established Redwood National Park, and stopped production of the Supersonic Transport (SST). He was also director of the Elmwood Institute, an ecological think tank, and Patagonia, the sportswear company. His books include Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television (1977), In the Absence of the Sacred (1991), and The Case Against the Global Economy And For a Turn Toward the Local, co-edited with Edward Goldsmith (1996). He holds a graduate degree (MS) from Columbia University’s Business School in international economics

Sustainable Communities and Economies

Spencer Beebe

Spencer Beebe has played a key role in the creation and development of over thirty organizations and programs from Alaska to Bolivia, including helping to pioneer innovative approaches such as debt-for-nature swaps in developing tropical rainforest countries and environmental banking in the Pacific Northwest. He is president of Ecotrust, a Portland-based conservation organization that has joined forces with Shorebank Corporation, the nation’s oldest community development banking institution to devise a development initiative, which would foster “conservation-based economic development” in the Pacific Northwest coastal temperate rainforest. With South Shore Bank’s founding board members, he also developed ShoreTrust: The First Environmental Bancorporation, a bank holding company with a family of non-profit and for profit organizations. Spencer received a masters degree in Forest Sciences from Yale University.

Mathis Wackernagel

Mathis Wackernagel directs the Sustainability Program at Redefining Progress, an Oakland, California-based nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy institute. Mathis has worked on sustainability issues for organizations in France, Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico, Switzerland, and the United States, and has lectured for community groups, government representatives, NGOs, and academic audiences at more than eighty universities in over twenty countries. He has authored or contributed to over two dozen academic articles and co-authored various books on sustainability that focus on the question of embracing limits and developing indicators to assess ecological sustainability, including Our Ecological Footprint: Reducing Human Impact on the Earth and Sharing Nature's Interest. After earning a degree in mechanical engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, he completed his Ph.D. in community and regional planning at The University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. There he developed, under Professor William Rees, the "Ecological Footprint" concept as his doctoral dissertation, now a widely used measure of ecological sustainability. Mathis also advises the Centre for Sustainability Studies at Anáhuac University of Xalapa, Mexico.


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