Chris & Warren Hellman | 2012 Dance/USA Champion Honorees
Chris and Warren Hellman have shaped the region’s artistic and cultural life for over four decades. They have served causes and institutions around the country, both actively and philanthropically.
Chris Hellman, a former Soloist with London Festival Ballet, has served on the Board of Trustees at San Francisco Ballet for almost thirty years. During her tenure as Chair of the Board (1991-99), the Company prospered artistically and financially – touring became integral to the mission of San Francisco Ballet and the Preserving a San Francisco Jewel campaign built the endowment from $3 million to $32 million. In January 1999, she was awarded the Lew Christensen Medal, San Francisco Ballet’s highest honor, and in 2010 the Ballet’s building was named the Chris Hellman Center for Dance.
Chris is a Trustee Emeritus of the Princess Grace Foundation. To honor Chris’ extraordinary support over the years, the Foundation created the Chris Hellman Dance Award, given annually to one dancer in the United States.
After receiving degrees from UC Berkeley and Harvard Business School, Warren Hellman (1934-2011) made his fortune through Hellman & Friedman, a leading private equity investment firm, and the company now known as Matrix Partners. His civic and philanthropic activities included serving San Francisco Ballet, Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera, Voice of Dance web-based company, the de Young Museum, California Academy of Sciences, Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, among a variety of other political, medical, and cultural organizations. He was the Founder and continues to be the principal sponsor of the annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.
Warren was an advisor and donor to the Mission District’s ODC Dance Company. Tired of defending the incredible athleticism of dancers against that of Division I athletes, Warren decided to create an event just to prove his point. He and Chris started “Toe to Toe,” a fundraiser during which ODC dancers and UC Berkeley student athletes compete by demonstrating their agility, strength, and endurance. This unique fundraiser is now in its fifth year.
Warren and Chris were married for 56 years before Warren’s death in December 2011. They have four children and twelve grandchildren.