A farewell from Paul and a warm welcome to Thrisha Haldar

Messages from our in-coming and out-going lead executives:

A message from Thrisha Haldar, our new Trust Executive:

I’m honoured to be taking up the role of Lead Executive at Indigo at a time when the stakes could not be higher for philanthropy. The global pandemic, widespread erosion of democracy, persistent and systemic racism, the climate crisis, rapid and pervasive technological changes – requires civil society to step up. At the same time, philanthropy itself is, rightly, under more scrutiny as the gap between the richest and poorest continues to widen.

Thankfully, the Indigo Trust interrogates its own practice and its role in meeting these immense challenges. When I moved from ‘grantee’ (in diaspora led charities in the UK and internationally with media and health organisations) to be a grant-maker, I wanted to address the power dynamics and to make the role more accountable. I know Fran, Indigo’s founder, has spoken publicly about these matters, and I share hers and the whole board’s commitment to continual learning and improvement. Thanks go to Paul, our outgoing Executive, who has worked tirelessly to put these values in to practice and will be missed by partners and the team alike. The moment is ripe to build on our strengths. I can’t wait to get started.

Message from Paul Lenz, our former Trust Executive:

After four and a half years as Trust Executive at Indigo I am moving on to take up the role of Finance and Funding Director of The Rust Foundation.  When I started at Indigo, having previously worked in the not-for-profit sector and hence been something of a poacher-turned-gamekeeper a lot of people asked me how the experience differed.  My response was:  “Giving away money is easy.  Giving away money well is hard.  Even giving away money well is a lot easier than trying to raise money”.  But that is only a part of it, the organisations who apply to funders don’t just have to raise money, they then have to spend it in effective and impactful ways.  I continue to have nothing but respect for everyone working in the charitable sector.

One thing that initially surprised me when I first jumped the fence, was that the philanthropic sector was much less data and evidence-based than I had expected.   Over the last four years there has been considerable progress here.  360 Giving [disclosure, Indigo grantee] has done transformational work in making grant making more transparent.  The brilliant Modern Grantmaking has drawn insights from across the sector to create a handbook that will (hopefully) transform it’s approach to giving.

As to our grantees, there are too many to mention them all, but their dedication, passion, and creativity has been frankly humbling.  I will continue to follow their successes in the coming years.

I am delighted to be handing over to Thrisha, who j oins Indigo from the Headley Trust, one of the other Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts.  She is already well-versed in our work and I know that she will be excellent in the role.