Who We Are

TFN Team

Founded in 2002, we exist to enable individuals to come together to crowdfund social change projects. We are a community of givers, utilising our diverse members to fund a variety of local, national and international projects. We couldn't do it without our passionate and dedicated team. 

With a diverse range of experience, they drive the structure and processes of our organisation, ensuring we are in the best position to both serve our members and projects.

Celine Gagnon, Chief Executive 

I have been involved in the cultural sector for over a decade working in fundraising, partnership development and community engagement. As Head of Development at the Tricycle Theatre, I led an integrated capital and revenue fundraising campaign which raised £5.5million to upgrade the auditorium and facilities. Prior to joining the Tricycle in 2013, I undertook a variety of roles in the arts including Senior Development Manager at Battersea Arts Centre, Creative Communities Coordinator at Farnham Maltings and Cultural Attachée for the Quebec Government in London. A keen knitter, I count setting up the Maltings knitting festival Unravel as my proudest achievement.

Email: celine@thefundingnetwork.org.uk

Eugenie Harvey

Eugenie Harvey, International Director 

I’ve known TFN for a few years in a number of “guises”. Firstly as a neighbour when the campaign I co-founded, We Are What We Do, shared office space with TFN here at Brunswick; secondly as a beneficiary when I was Founding Director of the climate change campaign, 10:10 and now as a very excited member of this brilliant little team.

I first joined TFN as the acting Executive Director covering maternity leave in 2011 and I’m now the International Director.

If you have any questions about TFN International please do not hesitate to drop me a line.

Email: eugenie@thefundingnetwork.org.uk

Karen MillenKaren Millen, UK Operations Manager 

I first graduated in 2006 with a degree in International Relations. After three years working for a Risk Management company I went back to education and studied at Kings College London, completing my MA in Conflict, Security and Development in 2010.

I joined as TFN’s Coordinator in October 2011 and became UK Operations Manager in August 2012. Responsible for the entire London events programme, I also support all the TFN groups operating across the UK and Ireland. In my spare time I‘m an avid theatre fan and recently became a founding trustee of a small charity based in South London.

Email: karen@thefundingnetwork.org.uk

Jennie JeffreyJennie Jeffery, International and Finance Coordinator 

I graduated in 2010 from the University of Edinburgh with a MA in English Literature. After a few years working in Paris I moved back to the UK to pursue my passion for the third sector and worked for Medical Aid Films (which shares office space with TFN) doing finance administration and fundraising.

I was ‘poached’ by the TFN Team in 2014 to join as their International and Finance Coordinator but I also support Young Funding Network with my financial acumen and love of decorating pop-up venues.

In my spare time I love cooking and going on wanders in the great moors of the North!

Email: jennie@thefundingnetwork.org.uk


Grace ShotboltGrace Shotbolt, Membership and Communictions Executive 

I graduated in 2012 with a BA in French, History and Politics from the University of Nottingham, and have been working in start-up funding for the past few years.

I joined TFN at the end of 2015 and have been really enjoying working with the team and getting to know our brilliant members.

In my spare time, I’m sewing, cycling around London or doing something fun with Hackney Wicked Women, the Women’s Institute group that I run.

Email: grace@thefundingnetwork.org.uk



The Funding Network was created in 2002 by a group of four individuals, with the goal of creating a forum where people could join together to learn about social change, projects, and help fund as a group. Our four founders established the initial network which has evolved to what we know today.

Frederick Mulder CBE, Founder

Frederick MulderAlthough I’m Canadian, I’ve lived in the UK since 1968, when I came over to finish my PhD in Philosophy. Fully intending to go back to Canada and teach university when I got my degree, I instead started a business in London dealing in original prints (etchings, engravings, lithographs, and woodcuts). The business went well from the start, and while I loved (and still love) the business I was also aware that the world had many injustices, and I developed the habit of tithing to projects that addressed those issues. Although there were many generous people in the art world, I didn’t actually know anyone else who was giving to projects addressing the kinds of issues I was concerned about, particularly abroad, and I made a number of mistakes early on. Fortunately, I got involved with a group of like-minded people, with whom I learned how much more interesting it was to have a peer group of givers to talk things over with, and how much further my limited funds went when pooled with those of other people.

I’ve come to realise over the years that giving, like many other activities, is more interesting, more satisfying, and probably more competent, if it is done in the company of other people. The money also seems to go further! Also, most giving is done in response to an appeal, sometimes received in the post, sometimes from someone you know, and what I think is so good about an organisation like TFN is that it belongs to the donors. By choosing to be proactive and thinking about what we want to support, we take responsibility for the process; by inviting organisations to come and present to us, by raising the questions we think are important, we also take responsibility for the outcome of our meetings, and I think this makes us more generous. For me, TFN has made the experience of giving a whole lot more interesting; there’s nothing quite like hearing the story of someone’s work and realising I can do something to help make it happen.

Frederick Mulder was the winner of the Judges’ Special Beacon Fellowship Prize in March 2004 and was awarded a CBE for Services to Philanthropy in the 2012 New Year honours list.

Polly McLean, Co-founder

Polly McLeanI was born in South Africa in 1974; my father was a rich businessman, and my mother an activist working for nuclear disarmament. Between the ages of 7 and 14 I spent alternate months with each of them, living very different lifestyles: at mum’s at the age of 10 I had to create a wall chart for pocket money spending, including a ‘give to charity’/tithing section, did my own washing etc. At dad’s we had a housekeeper, swimming pool and exotic holidays. I was very close to both of them. Dad died was I was 14, leaving a very complicated estate, which was only sorted out and distributed when I was 19.

During those teenage years, mum continued to be concerned that I learnt how to be generous and sensible with the money I was going to come into, and introduced me to several philanthropists, including Frederick Mulder! During university I did a training course that I wanted my friends to experience, but it cost £235 and they were all students and broke, so I paid for some of them – this was my first real experience of giving money.

Just after university, a friend (Felicia) wrote me a very inspirational letter asking me to fund her postgraduate studies. I did. After that lots of friends approached me for funding, and I was upset – not because they asked but because in most cases I wasn’t inspired enough by what they were proposing to do to want to give, but I didn’t know how to say no without ruining the friendship. Felicia expressed a desire to reciprocate the support I had given her by helping me learn how to say no; together we set up The Build Trust (UK), a grant-making charity with a specific focus on my main area of concern at the time: personal and social education for underprivileged children.

After university I went to South Africa, where I was born, for 6 months and worked as a creche assistant in a township project for women with malnourished children; this opened my eyes to some of the issues around social change work in developing countries. I came back and completed a MA in Effective Learning (dissertation on meditation in English primary schools). Around this time I met up with the philanthropists mum had introduced me to and did some co-funding with them. We wanted to spread the paradigm further and took steps that led to the establishment of The Funding Network. My favourite part of TFN is exposure to such inspiring projects.

So far through sponsoring and other forms of fundraising I have helped social change organisations raise approximately £100,000. I have also personally given around £300,000. I also work as a French to English translator and translated two novels for publication.

Sue Gillie, Co-founder 

Sue GillieI was the first Oxbridge student in 10 years from my distinctly moderate grammar school in South London. However, my subject, Natural Sciences, and my ambition to become a nuclear physicist, proved a mistake as I couldn’t do maths in three dimensions, and I also began to realise I was a people person and a doer, not a backroom type.  I left my first job, as a financial analyst with RTZ (where I met my husband), in 1969 when I was expecting my first child, and soon after we went to Montreal for three years. My first step into the charitable world occurred here, quite by accident: I thought I was volunteering to make sandwiches but found I had been recruited as a counsellor for the Family Planning Association of Montreal and subsequently became its vice-president.

Back in England in 1982, another chance encounter led me into becoming an estate agent, first as staff and then buying my employer out. I built up a small chain, bringing my husband in as a partner when several branches became too much to manage with two teenage sons, a large house and very big garden. We sold out in 1988, at the peak of the first property boom, and found ourselves with no need for full time jobs but many years before us. It was at this point that we discovered the Network for Social Change, a sort of philanthropic talking shop for people with a certain degree of wealth.  NFSC changed my life from the first meeting we attended as I learnt there about Ashoka, an overseas development charity with which I very soon became deeply involved, running the UK branch and chairing the trustee board. Seven years of this opened more doors for me, notably into the New Economics Foundation of which I became a trustee and chaired for seven years. I am currently chair of PG Time Bank and of start-up CleanConscience. Past positions include trustee of the Nationwide Foundation and of the Association of Charitable Foundations, among others. Being part of the founding group of TFN and helping is grow has been enormously satisfying.

My years with Ashoka had another major effect, that of introducing me – and my husband – to the huge pleasure and interest of overseas travel, not as a tourist but seeing the underside of countries, real life, by visiting Ashoka Fellows in many developing countries. We feel deeply privileged to have had such an interesting life, and to have met so many really inspiring people. I am sure we have got at least as much out of our philanthropic activities as we have put in.

Paul Kelland, Co-founder 

Paul KellandI am a London GP and I live and work in Hackney with my partner and 2 children. My practice is based in Shoreditch in the south west corner of Hackney and I have been working there since 1998. The population we serve is hugely diverse and is drawn from the many deprived estates that dominate the area.

My Partner is also a GP and we have both been supporting social change projects for many years. We became involved in The Funding Network because we were interested in developing an organization which would bring individual funders, like ourselves, (often with modest incomes), and social change organisations (who often run on small budgets) together in a mutually beneficial way.

Social change funding remains an exciting and powerful way of influencing society in a positive way. Many of the individuals and projects we have funded through The Funding Network have been truly inspirational and have gone on to make their communities healthier, happier and fairer.

As for me, I was born in 1962 in Plymouth. My father was a geophysicist. His work meant that every 18 months or so our family were on the move. We went from Iran to The Lebanon, from Libya to Saudi Arabia, and from Texas to Abu Dhabi. As a teenager I had already been to 8 schools, had lessons in English, Arabic and French, been evacuated twice, and driven from Lebanon to the UK in a beaten up old Renault.

After a spell at boarding school in Devon I went onto study Architecture at University College London. After qualifying I worked on a range of projects in London, Edinburgh and Zimbabwe. It was during this time that my interests shifted and I decided to retrain as a Doctor.

I studied medicine in North and East London and developed an interest in Inner City health care.  After a brief spell in Colombia I took over a small practice in Hackney with a colleague. Hackney hosts many of the new waves of immigrants arriving in the UK so our patient mix is constantly changing. I love my work and I find life as an Inner City GP endlessly enriching and challenging.



As the network has grown, we've always maintained our position as a member-led organisation. Our Trustees are all TFN members who give their time to help shape and direct the future of the organisation.

Michael Maynard, Chair 

Michael MaynardI joined TFN right at the beginning because I was looking for a way of making sure my charity giving made as much impact as possible. I was previously a member of Network for Social Change so I knew the value of having direct contact with small charities committed to making a positive social change in the world. I'm proud of TFN. I'm always interested in projects that unlock people's potential, and, therefore, add to the benefit of society. Members seem to be able to find some really inspiring projects that always make me feel I'm contributing in a really powerful way. I took over as Chair from Fred Mulder in December 2011 and it's been a privilege to serve the organisation through a period of international expansion. 

As for my working life, I used to be an actor, writer and presenter. And in 1989 i set up a management development company that specialises in interpersonal skills. We run workshops to enable culture change in organisations and improve the way people communicate and work together. 

Michael Chuter, Treasurer

Michael ChuterI am a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and a Fellow of the Institute of Internal Auditors and have spent much of my working life in the consumer goods sector, including time with Gillette, Spillers, Hertz, Burton, Evans and Episode.  Then, a little over ten years ago, I became tired of selling overpriced merchandise to people who didn’t need it and moved into the charity sector.  I am presently the Chief Executive of Pump Aid, a small water charity working in sub-Saharan Africa.   

My decision to join TFN was a logical step in my drive to raise the profile and increase the impact of the small charity movement.  We need the global reach of the major charities in order to react quickly to disaster, to hold governments to account and to campaign against international injustice and inequality.  But it is all too easy for large charities to be sucked in by government largesse and, in the race to maximise their beneficiaries, to lose sight of those that are left behind.  So we need small charities too, working below the radar, working in unfashionable areas, meeting uncomfortable needs and seeing each and every beneficiary as an individual in their own right.  These are the charities that TFN seeks to support and this is the reason I support TFN.

Adrian Coles OBE

I read economics at Nottingham and Sheffield Universities and I have spent my career in financial services, serving for twenty years as Chief Executive of the Building Societies Assocation, the body that represents the mutually owned mortgage and savings institutions. I was lucky that BSA allowed me to serve in a non-executive capacity in many not for profit sectors including housing associations, charities, co-operatives and schools, and I hope this experience will help me as a Trustee of TFN. 

I am now a member of a number of boards, but TFN is different! I love the mixture of changing the world for the better, addressing very difficult social problems, helping small charities with big ambitions and meeting inspirational people at such lively and exciting events - all at the same time! 

Chrysanthy Pispinis

Chrysanthy PispinisMy background is in marketing and strategy, spanning FMCG, retail and financial services.

I attended my first TFN live crowdfunding event in December 2015 and was converted straight away. The energy and excitement in the room were palpable, and I left feeling both humbled and inspired. The TFN model is something I strongly believe in: from the efficiency of the donations – many of the charities we support are very low cost – to the diversity of causes – in particular where tailored interventions are more likely to drive social change than a blanket approach.  Becoming a trustee is a great privilege, and my way of supporting this amazing organisation, helping it grow and giving something back. 

Most of my spare time appears to be spent negotiating with a pre-schooler and a toddler, and developing an unhealthy fixation with TV box sets when the day’s negotiations are over. 

Joanna Lee

Joanna LeeGiving to charity is not as easy as it sounds.  You want to know that your money will be well spent and going to good causes, but finding them can be hard. For me, The Funding Network bridges that gap, introducing members to an incredible variety of excellent charities and their inspiring leaders.  Most of all, it has made giving really good fun. 

After a career in TV journalism at the BBC and Channel 4, I then worked at CDP, a climate change charity. More recently I’ve spent time advising charities and being a member of TFN has really encouraged this. I am currently chairman of Streetscape, a London based social enterprise for the long-term unemployed. In my spare time, I run, read and am writing a book.


Robert Hewitt

Michael MaynardMy professional background is in financial markets. I was lucky that this job took me from London to Tokyo, then Hong Kong and back to London! Following that I felt it was time for a complete change and have spent the last two years working as a civil servant in the Cabinet Office. My main focus has been on social investment - this involves repayable finance for social sector organisations. It helps them scale up and provide more of the services that many of them offer to some of the most disadvantaged in our society. I came across TFN as part of this broad exposure to the voluntary and charity world and was inspired by the effectiveness and potential of the model!

Beyond TFN I have a couple of volunteering roles but try to maintain a quiet life with plenty of reading and exercise! I am also part of an investors network which invests in early stage social ventures - it's an interesting alternative to the donations model. 

Sam Lush 

Sam LushI work in financial services consulting for KPMG in the UK and Switzerland, having started my career in banking. I grew up in Winchester, Hampshire and then went to Exeter University, where I studied at the Business School. Outside of work I'll have a go at most sports - think "all the gear and no idea" and am most keen on anything on the water, cycling and yoga. I'm a keen traveller and love going to the latest art exhibition or new show in London. 

Whether it's your first event or you're an old timer, you'll never fail to be fascinated by the causes you see at TFN. You meet some wonderful people and go home knowing you've taken a risk on a project to which the funding could be transformational. The best part is TFN does all the leg work. Having done due diligence in my day job, I know kicking the tyres of any project is a mean feat, but TFN takes that stress away with their robust screening process. 

Simon Wheatley

Simon WheatleyToo many large charities have developed into uninspiring government proxies,  trading on the general worthiness of their work more than the dynamism of their leadership or efficiency of delivery. Nothing bugs me more than the thought that a charity will use my money to employ someone to ask me for more money.  The smallest charities cannot afford complacency.  The best of them are  lean, dynamic and run by inspirational people making sacrifices to pursue their visions. I’ve been a TFN member since 2010 and it has transformed the way I give and the enjoyment I get from giving.  I’ve given small sums to numerous wonderful organisations and have even sponsored six charities ranging from libraries for subsistence farmers in Peru, to after-school classes for children in the townships of Cape Town (both of which I had the opportunity of visiting). None of this would have happened without TFN. It is the enjoyable alternative to soulless giving.

Stephanie Brobbey

Stephanie BrobbeyI was born and raised in West London. I read law at Cardiff University and then took some time out to travel around South America. I returned to London to complete a year at the College of Law before undertaking my training contract at Goodman Derrick. I qualified as a solicitor at the firm in September 2011 and have been happily practising private client law since then. 

I came across TFN in July 2012 and became a member shortly afterwards. I was delighted to be appointed as a Trustee of the organisation in April 2015. I love being part of a passionate community of crowdfunders, wholeheartedly committed to facilitating social change. What I love most about TFN is our focus on giving small yet dynamic charities a chance to get started on exciting new projects and to extend the reach of their existing work. It is a great honour to be involved in this unique platform which TFN offers. 


Jon Snow is the Patron of The Funding Network and a British journalist and broadcaster. He is best known for presenting Channel 4 News and has been a key part of the network since 2011. 


Jon SnowJon Snow

A long time ago, before I became a journalist, I worked for three years as Director of the New Horizon Youth Centre - a day centre for vulnerable and homeless teenagers in London. I have been on the Board ever since, and Chair since 1986. Raising money for young people whom society often regards as agents of their own misfortune is hard indeed. Then I heard of The Funding Network and the extraordinary Fred Mulder, its founder. New Horizon successfully bid to pitch at a TFN event at Coutts Bank in 2008. On the night, there was an amazing buzz amid the throng of some four hundred people - mainly in the 25-40 age group. I was spellbound by the process and the degree to which those who presented were engaged. We emerged with a staggering £37,000 , which made a profound difference to the day centre's needs. 

Fred, followed by Michael Maynard, had little difficulty in attracting my interest in putting my shoulder to TFN's wheel as a patron. I'm delighted to be involved with a group of such generous funders. I love the process of raising the money. I'd like to see our outreach to other cities succeed - the signs are good so far. TFN now has groups in Bristol, Devon, Leeds, Oxford, Hertfordshire, Wales and Toronto as well as London, with plans to expand to many more regions and countries. I'm very proud to be involved in one of the most original funding efforts in these times of austerity. 



We are lucky to have a number of dedicated volunteers that work across the UK in our regional networks, as well as with the Young Funding Network and City Funding Network. 

We are always on the lookout for anyone wishing to volunteer their skills and time to us. Learn more about volunteering with TFN.


Young Funding Network Advisory Board

Young Funding Network Volunteers


City Funding Network Advisory Board

Become a Member

Join a community of friendly philanthropists and discover exciting new projects to engage with. We have varying levels of membership to suit different needs, and all give the opportunity to attend our unique live crowdfunding events. Membership fees also help cover a percentage of TFN's running costs.

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16 Lincoln's Inn Fields
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Tel: 0845 313 8449
Email: info@thefundingnetwork.org.uk

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