Bakersfield · Business

Falk tapped as new chief of Kern Community Foundation

The Kern Community Foundation will have a new boss to kick off 2022, the philanthropy’s board of directors announced on Wednesday.

Aaron Falk, a longtime Capitol Hill aide for the House Armed Services Committee and Rep. Martha McSally (R–Ariz.), will take the helm of the Golden Empire’s largest philanthropy organization after wrapping up a four-year stint as a district-based field representative for House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (R–Bakersfield).

He is an alumni of the University of California, Santa Barbara and civilian alum of the U.S. Air Force Air Command and Staff College.

“I returned to Kern County from Washington because I wanted to know that my work would have a positive impact on my hometown, and the Community Foundation is a perfect fit,” Falk said in a statement announcing his appointment.

Falk succeeds Dr. Kristen Beall Watson, a six-year veteran of the nonprofit. Watson departed to take a position at California State University, Bakersfield as Chief of Staff to President Lynnette Zelezny.

She lent her support to the selection of her successor.

“Aaron is an excellent choice for this important role,” Watson said. “His breadth of experience and connection to the community are key to leading Kern Community Foundation far into the future.”

Falk, who begins his new gig on Dec. 20, said he’s excited to get to work on key initiatives within the community.

“Strategic planning and competent execution are paramount to accomplishing great things,” said Falk. “Kern County is full of people with big hearts who seek to improve the quality of life for everyone, and I look forward to devoting myself to that cause.”

Alex Tavlian is the Executive Editor of The San Joaquin Valley Sun and Executive Director of Valley Future Foundation. You can reach Alex at