Meet Ursula Hultqvist from Karlskrona who became a leading Swedish star in Silicon Valley/ Bay Area

District Chair SWEA and Digital Marketing Chief Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) By Karl Mettinger

During the pandemic we got to know Ursula, who collaborated with us on a series of very successful webinars.

She has spent 20 years in Silicon Valley has become a dynamic leader in YMCA, SWEA and SVCF, just to mention a few of her recent adventures!

We were very happy to meet her at our recent Christmas service in Los Altos. She seemed very much at home in our church family and agreed to a brief interview.

1. Tell us more about SVCF and your Faith Based Equity grants.

Silicon Valley Community Foundation is a donor-advised community foundation serving primarily the Silicon Valley region. It is the largest community foundation in the world. SVCF granted $2.2 billion to 6,000 nonprofit organizations in 2021. Of that, $777 million stayed in the Bay Area, supporting nonprofits carrying out critical work to support our communities. Our Faith grants are primarily given to faith-based leaders and organizations working to strengthen interfaith and race relations, increase community participation in civic life and provide services to local communities of color and those of undocumented status.

2. Could these potentially be used for a children’s and youth program in e g Los Altos as a project between SWEA and our church? I could envision a children’s or youth choir, an art class or church play group?

I don't think it's impossible, you should apply!

3. Tell us about your experience of churches in US and Sweden.

When I first came to the U.S. 20+ years ago, I remember being fond of the expression "church family." Many of my friends belonged to a local church and it was just a natural thing to do. You would get together with your "church family" on Sundays for potluck lunches after the church service. A great way to meet new friends and stay connected to people in your neighborhood. I was surprised how modern the music was compared to the church service in Sweden! There was sometimes a band playing and I remember thinking that was pretty cool!

4. How and when did you move to US? Where were you born? Tell us about your family and education in Sweden and US.

I was born in the southern part of Sweden, Karlskrona. My grandfather built tall ships for the Swedish Navy many, many years ago. I moved to Stockholm at a young age and lived there until I moved to the U.S. 20+ years ago. I have studied and lived in England and Spain prior to moving to the U.S. I spent my first years living in Hawaii where I studied and graduated with a MBA in Marketing.

5. The pandemic led to a fruitful collaboration between SWEA, SACC, the Swedish Church and Swedish Consulate. We had several joint webinars to support our community. How do you see continued collaboration with seminars / webinars?

I'm very happy to see the collaboration between the Swedish organizations in the Bay Area lately. This is a great initiative by the Swedish Church in SF and our pastor Joakim. I look forward to continuing the seminars/webinars and perhaps also look into doing a joint Midsummer event, luncheon on Sweden's National Day or perhaps working together to support SWEAs Christmas Fair.

6. Will SWEA continue with Jul bazaars in Silicon Valley or in SF?

I hope so! I wish for our Christmas Fair to return to San Francisco. This is a long and proud tradition for SWEA San Francisco, and we have 3,000 visitors that come back to see us every year. It's ideal for us to have the event in San Francisco, but we are also aware that this event has grown tremendously over the years, and it takes about 300 volunteers to make it happen. It's definitely a very special event for many Swedes here in the Bay Area.