Helen is responsible for the Foundation’s strategic direction and executive leadership. She has been with the Foundation since 2005, driving its evolution as we moved away from traditional funding methods and towards a fellowship model of co-investment and collaboration with potential leaders of change.
With over 20 years of experience working with international NGOs and agencies, Helen has a deep-rooted understanding of where philanthropy goes wrong and how it needs to change. Broadly, the nonprofit sector has failed to adapt to the modern world and is baked in Victorian attitudes to money. All power and control rest with those who have capital. Funders call the shots. Recipients are judged.
Helen also sees social innovation being held back by administrative injustice: the processes, rules and restrictions imposed by society’s institutions under the guise of acting virtuously. She believes a greater degree of openness is central to the solution and is exploring how Decentralised Autonomous Organisations (DAOs) could play an important role in unlocking administrative justice. With DAOs, funders benefit from moving money out of institutions and into places where it can make a real difference, while changemakers gain from a newfound autonomy to take control of how they define and exchange value.
Educated in Europe, South America and the Middle East, Helen now lives in the UK after many years in South Africa. She has a truly internationalist perspective and has developed the Foundation from a South African residential programme to one that encompasses dozens of lifelong fellows from the West to the Middle East. She holds several major board positions and is a regular public speaker at events – such as the Creative Commons Global Summit and the Paris Peace Forum – where she promotes openness and administrative justice as integral tools to democratise philanthropy and improve education, economies everywhere in the world.
Helen is a lover of musicals, has increasingly ambitious smallholding plans (currently six hens, three alpacas and a seasonal veggie patch) and is super – and we mean super – competitive when playing recreational games at Fellowship community gatherings.