Who we are
An experienced team with inspiring grant partners
The Leuser Ecosystem Action Fund was founded in 2017 with support from the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation and other donors.
LEAF is now hosted by The Ecology Trust, a charity registered with the Charity Commission for England & Wales (number 1099222). The Trust has a reputation for innovative philanthropy – the Environmental Funders Network began here, as did the Conservation Collective network of place-based funds – we know what it takes to invest grant funding wisely, and apply all this experience to the development of LEAF. We are grateful to all the foundations and individual donors who have generously supported LEAF’s work to date.
Our team comprises a Fund Director, Harriet Williams, and Programme Officer, Lizzie Walker, who both have substantial experience of grantmaking strategies in highly-forested countries including Indonesia.
Our steering committee has expertise in areas important to LEAF’s continued growth, including conservation, philanthropy, climate finance and communications. Current Committee members are:
- Ben Goldsmith, CEO of Menhaden Plc, Chair of the Conservation Collective, Trustee of Children’s Investment Fund Foundation and Board Member of the UK Government Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
- Sarah Woodhead, development advisor to international conservation organisations with a focus on protecting wild places and iconic species, background in PR, brand development and event management
- Sumalee Khosla, Global Climate Adaptation Finance Adviser at the UN Environment Programme’s Climate Change Adaptation Unit, with over 17 years expertise across the climate change, sustainable development and finance areas
- Karthi Martelli, conservation grants programme manager
- Steph Stares, Environment Fund manager at The Waterloo Foundation, and board member of Oceans 5, with over 20 years experience of practical conservation, fundraising and philanthropy
We bring the following strengths to our work:
- Expertise in effective philanthropy – the LEAF team has over 20 years combined experience of managing forest-focused grants programmes, collaborating with environmental and human rights defenders
- Strategic, creative approach to change – as well as ‘on-the-ground’ conservation, we support initiatives that make policy, markets and finance work better for forest protection
- Strong networks and partnerships – LEAF is well-connected to other nature, climate and social justice-focused funds, helping us to learn what really works and gain maximum impact from every grant we make
Our grant partners
Above all, LEAF’s strength derives from the talent and determination of the groups we support. As campaigners, conservationists, scientists and advocates, our grant partners have all the bases covered. But they need more funding to succeed – at least $8 million per year. This is roughly double the total philanthropic funds available to Leuser-focused work today, though only a fraction of the money directed to more famous landscapes.
Our partners each have complementary strategies to build on existing successes and stop these precious rainforests from slipping away. LEAF’s main purpose is to drive funding towards the delivery of these collaborative plans, which comprise a framework of inter-related conservation, economic, legal and community livelihoods work. Please donate today, or contact us for further information.