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The Freedom Fund Welcomes a New Chair and Board Members

January 17, 2024 / Blog, Press Releases The Freedom Fund / @freedom_fund

The Freedom Fund is delighted to announce the appointment of Molly Gochman, founder of the Stardust Fund and current board member, as its new chair. After ten hugely impactful years as inaugural chair, Alan McCormick, of Legatum, stepped down in November.

Existing board members Mahendra Pandey, of Humanity United, and Andrew Doust, of Plenitude Partners, have been appointed as vice-chairs.

Nick Grono, CEO of the Freedom Fund, said: “Alan was instrumental in the founding and successful launch of the Freedom Fund back in 2014, and his contributions have been immeasurable. He has played a critical role in guiding the Fund to achieve the success and impact it has had to date and we would like to extend huge gratitude for his dedication and generosity as chair. We are very pleased that Alan will continue to be closely involved in the work of the Freedom Fund as the representative of Legatum, a founding member of the organisation.”

“The Freedom Fund’s model of systemic, community-based change where resources are directed to the front line, where they are needed most, has had a profound impact on the cause of modern-day slavery in the past decade. Over that time we have supported more than 140 partner organisations, supported 1.6 million people, had an indirect impact on 7.5 million people, and have directly liberated over 31,000 people from different forms of forced labour and exploitation. We have stayed true to our founding vision and I am proud of what we have achieved. I remain a committed supporter of the Freedom Fund and look forward to its continued work in bringing about the end of slavery in our lifetime,” said Alan McCormick.

We are also delighted to announce the appointment of three new board members, with an additional new board member to be announced shortly:

  • Katharine Bryant, head of policy and programs at Walk Free
  • Michelle Yue, co-founder of the Beam Network, and chair of the Freedom Fund’s Council of Advocates
  • Shruti Chandrasekhar, head of investments – Africa Region, Private Equity at the International Finance Corporation, as our new treasurer

They join our continuing board members Molly Gochman, Mahendra Pandey, Andrew Doust, and Natasha Dolby, of Freedom Forward and the Ray and Dagmar Dolby Family Fund, on the board.

The Freedom Fund would also like to express its profound thanks to other outgoing board members, Grace Forrest, founding director at Walk Free; Felicity Gooding, former chief financial officer at Fortescue Future Industries; and Philippe Sion, managing director, forced labour and human trafficking at Humanity United. Each has provided many years of valuable service to the organisation and its mission. Their generous decision to step down has allowed the Freedom Fund to appoint four new board members, who for the first time are not required to be donors to the organisation.

“Entering its second decade, becoming the chair of the Freedom Fund at this tremendously exciting period is a great honour. I am thrilled to lead the board of an organisation I deeply respect. I look forward to collaborating with the reconstituted board, alongside our valued vice chairs, Andrew Doust and Mahendra Pandey, to meet the new and evolving challenges that accompany our continued growth and ambition,” said Molly Gochman.

“It is exciting that our new board members bring a huge range of expertise, including that of building large community-led networks, and of living and working in our program countries, as well as deep nonprofit, philanthropic, governance, and financial expertise,” added Nick.

The Freedom Fund’s founding member organisations will continue to be closely involved in its governance with Walk Free being represented by Grace Forrest, Legatum by Alan McCormick, and Humanity United by Srik Gopal.

 

END

About the Freedom Fund

The Freedom Fund is a global fund with the sole aim of helping end modern slavery.

We are a catalyst in the global effort to end modern slavery, working in the countries and sectors where it is most prevalent. We invest in and partner with organisations and communities on the frontlines of ending exploitation.

By partnering with those at risk of modern slavery as well as visionary investors, governments and anti-slavery organisations, we bring together the knowledge, the capital and the will needed to dismantle the systems that allow slavery to exist and thrive.

Through our investments and support, we aim to shift power, so that frontline organisations and communities can shape and drive the change required to bring modern slavery to an end.

 

BIOGRAPHIES

Chair

Molly Gochman, Artist and Human Rights Activist, Stardust Fund

Molly is an award-winning artist and activist who aims to bring together
the collective experiences of many for greater understanding. She believes that connection and thoughtful participation can catalyse powerful change. Her desire to leverage her influence as an investor, as an activist, and as an artist led Molly to found Stardust, with the hopes of contributing to a more just and equitable world. She serves on the boards of Wassaic Project, Children’s Rights, and the Freedom Fund, and is a member of the Brooklyn Museum’s Council for Feminist Art and the New Museum’s Artemis Council. Molly was named one of New York’s New Abolitionists by the New York State Anti-Trafficking Coalition. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture from Guilford College. Originally from Texas, she is currently based in New York.

Vice-Chairs

Andrew Doust, Founder, Plenitude Partners

Based in Dubai, Andrew is the founder of Plenitude Partners, an advisory practice which helps families around the world navigate the complexities of wealth and break the cycle that often destroys families and their wealth. He is also the co-founder of Kore Venture, a US based non-profit programme that prepares millennial inheritors for the unique challenges and opportunities that come with wealth. Andrew moved from his home country Australia to Dubai in 2006 where he later served as vice president of strategy at Legatum, a private investment firm based in the Dubai International Finance Centre. There he played a key role in shaping Legatum’s philanthropic portfolio including the development and launch of the Freedom Fund, and the Luminos Fund, a global initiative to transform education and help millions of out-of-school children get back to school.

Mahendra Pandey, Senior Manager, Forced Labor and Human Trafficking, Humanity United

As a teenager, Mahendra went to Saudi Arabia in search of his father who had been living as a migrant worker there for 14 years. Hoping to send support home to his family, Mahendra experienced first-hand the poor working conditions that many Nepali workers face. While in Saudi Arabia, he developed a Nepali migrant rights network which he then turned into a leading Nepali NGO, Pravasi Nepali Coordination Committee (PNCC). In the last fifteen years, he has worked in worker organising, human rights, anti-trafficking, and survivor leadership. He is founder of the largest Nepali migrant workers network Shramik Sanjal and the founder of the Global Migrant Workers Network (GMWN), where he provides support to building the next generation of migrant worker leaders from Africa and Asia. As a board member of the Freedom Fund, a global fund which aims to end modern slavery, he brings his experiences and perspectives as a former migrant worker with lived experience from the Global South. He is on the Advisory Council of Polaris, a leading organisation working on anti-trafficking issues. Mahendra holds a master’s degree in digital media and storytelling from American University in Washington D.C. In his free time, he is also a practitioner of mindfulness, wisdom, and joy.

Board Member

Natasha Dolby, Co-Founder, Freedom Forward; Vice President, Ray and Dagmar Dolby Foundation

Natasha is a non-profit founder, executive, and philanthropist with a passion for addressing social justice challenges. Since Natasha immigrated to the United States from Brazil as a scholarship recipient, she has been a tireless advocate for creating spaces where all voices matter. In 2015, Natasha co-founded Freedom Forward, an organisation working to improve systems in San Francisco to make the commercial sexual exploitation of youth less likely and less harmful. Natasha currently serves as the vice president for The Ray and Dagmar Dolby Family Fund, managing a portfolio of social investments. She is also on the board of Asha Rising, a community-based organisation responding to the need for shelter, safety, dignity, and care for women in India. Previously Natasha was a research fellow with Stanford University’s Center for Human Rights and International Justice focusing on the domestic child sex trafficking in Brazil. She also served on the board of Human Rights Watch, where she chaired the Human Capital and Organization Diversity Committee. Natasha received an MBA from Stanford University Graduate School of Business, and an MA in Education from Stanford University Graduate School of Education. Natasha and her husband reside in San Francisco with their three girls.

New Board Members

Shruti Chandrasekhar, Head of Investments – Africa Region, Private Equity at the International Finance Corporation

Shruti is based in Nairobi and has a wealth of experience in both Africa and Asia, primarily in the field of Impact Investing. At the IFC she leads their gender focused initiatives in venture capital and private equity. Shruti, a graduate of both MIT and the Wharton School, is also a board member of 2X, the G7 Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) that propose a bold commitment to inspire other DFIs to take the 2X Challenge: Financing for Women and invest in the world’s women.

Michelle Yue, Co-Founder, Beam Network and Chair of the Freedom Fund’s Council of Advocates;

Michelle is an entrepreneur and philanthropist who is passionate about helping women and girls fulfil their potential to change the world. Michelle is a co-founder of The Beam Network, a global community of women wealth holders who empower one another, through connection and financial education, to invest in line with their values and create a brighter future. She is co-founder and Chair of The Millby Foundation, which improves the lives of young women and girls, supporting them to overcome exploitation, trafficking, and gender-based violence. Michelle is also chair of the Council of Advocates for the Freedom Fund and a trustee of the Robert HN Ho Family Foundation. In previous roles, she served as vice-chair of the board of Women for Women International UK, where she also chaired their Fundraising and Marketing Committee, and chair of Foreign Sisters UK, a fundraising initiative for Cancer Research UK.

Katharine Bryant, Head of Policy and Programs, Walk Free

Katharine is an anti-slavery advocate with over 15 years’ experience in the sector. She is head of policy and programs at Walk Free, an international human rights organisation committed to the eradication of modern slavery. Her portfolio includes projects addressing the specific vulnerabilities of women and girls and translating research into grassroots advocacy. Katharine is co-author of the Global Slavery Index, the world’s most comprehensive dataset on modern slavery, and numerous research publications. She has worked in counter trafficking and child protection programming and research for international organisations in Australia, Timor-Leste, and the UK. She holds a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Sussex.