Azimuth World Foundation is a project by Terry Rockstad and Mariana Marques, two people who believe everything is connected and decided to use their skills, knowledge and means to advance Human Rights. 

They established a path for this organization using three reference points: Health, Water and Nature. In the intersection of these pillars, they aim to move away from the atomistic view that isolates social, humanitarian, and ecological issues from each other and instead advance toward a holistic approach that has long been inherent to the cultural matrix of many Indigenous Peoples.

With this in mind and informed by the reality that Indigenous Peoples have been the most marginalized and the least responsible for the world’s urgent problems, Terry and Mariana decided to strive for allyship by creating a US non-profit that funds projects globally, by and for Indigenous Peoples.

Azimuth World Foundation recommends grants to grassroots organizations through a fair, diligent and transparent process. It also focuses on institutional support, advocacy and communications to raise awareness about the issues that affect these communities and the solutions they are developing.

Our mission

is to fund projects by Indigenous-led organizations and offer institutional support, advocacy and communications to raise awareness about the problems affecting the communities we serve.

“We believe everything is connected. Recognizing this will help us advance towards a more promising tomorrow for humankind and all life on this planet.”

Mariana Marques and Terry Rockstad

Our vision

is a world where Indigenous Peoples have their Human Rights fulfilled, specifically the rights of access to Health and Water and of living in their ancestral lands according to traditional ways in harmony with Nature.

We fund

projects led by Indigenous Peoples' organizations worldwide.


Azimuth World Foundation counts on a multifaceted team of three members who complement each other and dedicate themselves to a common goal: to help select and support exceptional projects and raise awareness about the issues they answer to.

  • Mariana Marques is a conservation biologist and passionate traveler.
    She was born in Portugal, a small country in Europe’s most western point.
    Her love for Nature and all living beings developed during childhood and is now part of her DNA. She has worked in Animal Behaviour, Welfare & Conservation, as a Nature Guide, and in Communications and PR. She always dreamed of someday being able to contribute to a better world where nature and humankind thrive.

    Mariana Marques
    CEO, president
  • Carla is a linguist who has worked as a translator, editor, and content writer for different sectors, but it was her work as a teacher that she feels was the most gratifying part of her career. In the last few years, motherhood has strengthened her drive to help make the world a more equitable place for all. The invitation to work with Azimuth World Foundation was the opportunity to apply her professional skills and dedication to doing exactly that.

    Carla Santos
    Grants Manager & Content
  • Francisco has a master’s degree in Communication and Contemporary Culture from Nova University in Lisbon and has worked in PR and as a content creator for many different sectors. Joining Azimuth World Foundation was an opportunity to do what he believes is one of the most critical communication tasks: find the just images and words to best empower and amplify the voices of people whose human rights have yet to be fulfilled.

    Francisco Soares
    Communications Manager & Content

Advisory Committee

Azimuth’s advisory committee is a collection of unique individuals who contribute expert knowledge and skills—NGO executive roles, science and conservation, indigenous leadership and multimedia production and directing. Their strategic advice, opinions and recommendations guide AWF’s decisions regarding what projects to support, helping the organization navigate the various dimensions that dictate what a solid project is in order to have a profound impact within the scope of the foundation.

  • Gary Shaye has worked worldwide in the Dominican Republic, Nepal, Bhutan, Bolivia, and Haiti. He has wide international experience overseeing health and education development projects and humanitarian responses. For more than 45 years, he has served in various roles with Save the Children. In Haiti, he was the Country Director following the devastating 2010 earthquake. In 2017 and 2018, he was responsible for the hurricane response in Hurricane Irma's aftermath in Florida and Maria's in Puerto Rico. In 2019, when he was in Colombia, he supported the response to the Venezuelan crisis. He currently serves as Senior Director for Save the Children.

    Gary Shaye
    Advisory Committee Chair
  • Aby Sène is a faculty member in Parks and Conservation Area Management at Clemson University, North Carolina. As an interdisciplinary environmental social researcher, Dr. Sène is dedicated to promoting socially and ecologically responsible methods of managing public lands, natural resources, and cultural heritage in both the US and Africa. Her research focuses on the intersection of parks and protected area governance, livelihoods, nature-based tourism, and the relationship between Race and Nature. Dr. Sène has worked closely with government agencies in the US and Africa for over a decade, helping to create integrated management plans for critical conservation areas that address the relationship between biodiversity and socio-economic development. She has also written extensively on the colonial structures of power in conservation.

    Aby Sène-Harper
    Advisory Committee Member
  • Billi Jo is a Húŋkpapȟa/Iháŋktȟuŋwaŋ sovereign being of the Očhéthi Šakówiŋ of Standing Rock. She co-founded the nonprofit Oúŋ, a Lakȟóta term meaning "to live", as a model of service to promote the advancement of Indigenous Peoples' self-determination. Her love for her children and people motivates her to practice Mitákuye Oyásʼiŋ, the world view of interconnectedness. She believes that restoring Indigenous Peoples inherent right to decision-making and community building in matters which affect their rights will collectively reconnect humanity towards honoring Uŋčí Makȟá, Grandmother Earth. Following the Supreme Court Decision to uphold North Dakota's new voter ID law, she organized with North Dakota Native Vote to inform and mobilize communities on Standing Rock. In 2019, she was elected president of the Bismarck Public Schools Indigenous Advisory Committee and is currently serving her second term. Billi Jo currently serves on the Rockstad Foundation's and NDkidscount's advisory committees. Most recently, she has joined the SB2304 Ad Hoc committee to assist in strengthening North Dakota's education system.

    Billi Jo Beheler
    Advisory Committee Member
  • Photographer Kiliii Yuyan tells the stories of lives bound to the land and sea. Informed by ancestry that is both Nanai/Hèzhé (East Asian Indigenous) and Chinese, he searches for human insight through different cultural perspectives. On assignment, he has survived a stalking polar bear, escaped pounding waves diving with sea otters, and found kinship at the edges of the world. Kiliii makes photographic stories for the pages of National Geographic Magazine, TIME, and other major publications.

    Kiliii Yuyan
    Advisory Committee Member
  • Rowan Martin is a biologist and conservationist with a passion for connecting people and nature to protect threatened ecosystems. He has a Ph.D. in the behavioral ecology of threatened parrots. He is currently the Director of the World Parrot Trust’s Africa Conservation Programme, where he oversees a diverse program of activities.
    Rowan has worked in several countries in Africa and Latin America, conducting research and implementing conservation projects to protect threatened wildlife. He has published over 30 peer-reviewed publications.

    Rowan Martin
    Advisory Committee Member
  • Rui Diogo is a multi-awarded researcher, speaker, and writer renowned worldwide for addressing broader scientific questions and societal issues using state-of-the-art empirical data from many fields of science. He obtained his bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Aveiro, a Ph.D. from the University of Liege's Biology Department, and a master's and Ph.D. from George Washington University's Anthropology Department. A wonderer and a wanderer, Rui has done research, given speeches, undertaken fieldwork, and met hunter-gatherer, rural and urban communities in over 140 countries. Frequently interviewed for TV, radio shows, and documentaries, he is the author of more than 20 books, including "Evolution Driven by Organismal Behavior" —often listed among the ten best evolutionary books in 2017 —and, more recently, "Meaning of Life, Human Nature, and Delusions." 

    Rui Diogo
    Advisory Committee Member
  • Thea Bechshøft is a marine biologist with a Ph.D. in polar bear ecology/physiology. Her passion for nature, particularly for the raw Arctic regions, steered her commitment to this ecosystem and its protection. She has spent 20 years studying polar bears, publishing peer-reviewed scientific papers, and conducting fieldwork in Greenland and Canada. Thea has also guided polar voyages in Svalbard and Russia. She is the creator and host of the popular Facebook page Polar Bear Questions.

    Thea Bechshøft
    Advisory Committee Member

Founder & Trustees

Terry Rockstad, Azimuth’s Founder, has been actively involved in philanthropy for many decades and committed himself to the challenge of founding this organization because of his drive to fight for a better world. Together with Petrea, their trusteeship secures the transparency and financial management of AWF.

  • Terry Rockstad was born in North Dakota and has devoted over 40 years to build a very successful retail business. He’s been actively involved in humanitarian and environmental causes for a long time — currently on the board of directors of the International Peace Garden, a board member of The Great Plains Food Bank, a former president of The North Dakota Historical Society, a former member of Twin Cities YPO and a long-serving supporter and partner of Save the Children.
    In 2015, he created the Rockstad Foundation, a charity that inspires and supports human kindness and leadership development.

    Terry Rockstad
    Founder and Trustee
  • Petrea has over 20 years of experience in financial services as an investment advisor to community banks and individuals. Her guiding principle has always been to help people be good stewards of their assets. Her professional and educational experience has also included working in the US Senate, at an international business school and studying as an exchange student at INCAE Business School in Costa Rica. In addition, she has over a decade of dedicated volunteerism & community service, including contributing as a board member to Charles Hall Family Services and volunteer work for JDRF.

    Petrea Klein

Azimuth World Foundation is Recognized Under Section 501(c)(3)
of the Internal Revenue Code and in full compliance, located in North Dakota, USA.

Our previous chapter

Azimuth World Foundation started as a non-profit that worked on raising funds for and awareness about projects dealing with issues of access to Public Health and Safe Water and the balance between Humankind and Nature. It was and still is a great source of pride, joy and gratitude to have partnered with organizations such as the Bwindi Comunity Hospital, Water Mission, and the Charles Darwin Foundation. We grew and learned a great deal through those partnerships. That learning brought us to where we are today, our present chapter, working as a private foundation, funding grassroots Indigenous Peoples' organizations and raising awareness about the challenges they face and what the world can learn from their ways of living. Below, you can read about the projects we supported between 2019 and 2021. Hopefully, their positive impact will echo through many years.