Belen holds a juris doctor degree from the University of Southern California School of Law and received her bachelor’s degree in communications from California State University, Los Angeles. Belen began her professional career in nonprofit legal services in Los Angeles County focused on advocacy and policy matters related to women’s issues and school inclusion issues for children with disabilities. Immediately prior to joining the Foundation, Belen worked at Public Counsel on the Childcare Law Project, providing outreach and education for child care providers.
Belen is a graduate of the Council on Foundations’ Career Pathways leadership program and Harvard’s Executive Education – High Potential Leadership Program. She serves on the board of Southern California Grantmakers (SCG’s) and is a regular instructor with SCG’s “Fundamentals of Grantmaking” program. Belen joined Weingart Foundation in July 2000 as the Foundation’s first Program Associate, responsible for formalizing and managing the Foundation’s Small Grant Program. She was promoted to Program Officer in 2003, and Senior Program Officer in 2007.
In 2008, Belen moved into a management role at the Foundation as Associate Vice President, Grant Operations, and then subsequently as Vice President, Grant Operations. In 2014, she assumed the role of Vice President, Programs, where she oversees the Foundation’s grant strategy and planning, communications, and overall program assessment.