Christine H. James is a left-leaning philanthropic officer working as of 2021 as executive director of the John Merck Fund (JMF), a Boston-based left-of-center grantmaking institution created to support research into developmental disabilities. The founder of the fund, Serena S. Merck, created the non-profit organization in 1970 to honor her son. The organization expanded its mission in 1986 to include general health care and environmentalist advocacy. 
She received a Bachelor’s degree in Art from Bowdoin College where she studied from 1980 to 1984, and a Master’s degree in urban and environmental policy from Tufts University, where she studied from 1992 to 1994. 
James began working at the John Merck Fund in 2008 after working for small non-profit environmental organizations in Maine and Massachusetts, which included working as the executive director on an “educational organic farm” for four years. She also worked as the executive director for EarthWorks, an environmentalist nonprofit organization that advocates strict environmental regulations. 
Before she became executive director of the John Merck Fund, James was the organization’s director of programs between 2008 and 2017. In this role, she focused on overseeing the environmental grants programs of JMF. 
Christine James was given a “special membership” to the Natural Resources Council of Maine that was valid from November 1, 2010, until January 31, 2011.