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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jim Kambeitz was born and raised in Bismarck, North Dakota. He is the Co-Founder of a film company, Upward Spiral Films, LLP, and a solar energy company, Lightspring, LLC. He earned a Master’s degree from the University of North Dakota. After graduating from college, he traveled the world for ten years, teaching English and studying other societies, languages, and cultures. Jim believes in circular communication and cooperation. He speaks several languages and loves to travel but believes supporting our local community is critical. Hence, his priority is to hire and train local NDakotans to build our solar energy and film industries here in ND. Currently, Jim is co-directing a community film and engagement project to cultivate understanding and better relationships in his community.
Raquel completed her degree in veterinary medicine in 2005 and a post-graduate degree in surgery in 2009. She began her career with externships in internationally renowned zoos, like Sydney’s Taronga Zoo and Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo, and has since been working at Maia Zoo (Portugal) as an ultrasound technician and marine animals consultant. Raquel is now entirely dedicated to ultrasound imaging, working primarily with dogs and cats but also with reptiles, ferrets, hamsters, and other species. Along with two other colleagues, she’s about to open a top medical imaging center that will pioneer a new kind of veterinary service in Portugal.
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.
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 15+ 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 and is currently working as a researcher with Polar Bears International. She is the creator and host of the popular Facebook page Polar Bear Questions.
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.
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.
Azimuth World Foundation is Recognized Under Section 501(c)(3)
of the Internal Revenue Code and in full compliance, located in North Dakota, USA.
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 organizations by IPLCs 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.