Interview with Astrid Bonfield, CEO of the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund

The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund was set up four days after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales on 31 August 1997 to receive the money that was flowing in from the public during that time. At the end of December this year, after 15 years of operation, the Fund will close. Its grantees’ achievements in the last seven years include an international ban on cluster bombs and a 42 per cent reduction in child and youth imprisonment.

In her recent interview with Alliance magazine, Bonfield discusses how spending out affected their operations, outlines a few key achievements, and offers advice to others considering spending out:

“…we said let’s have total focus on systemic change and go for really ambitious, bold outcomes… As part of our exit strategy, we’ve had a very careful programme of capacity building, particularly with our partners in Africa…This capacity-building hasn’t really changed our relationship with our grantees because we’ve always had such close partnerships with them. We’ve never taken a ‘we’ll fund your project but not your staff costs’ approach: it’s the people within organizations who do the work after all. The funding certainly has been appreciated by our grantees. But ultimately stability comes from a system change…

“…With hindsight there is of course lots we couldn’t do or we could have done better or more quickly, but as we get ever closer to closure, no regrets at all. It’s been an absolute privilege to work for the Fund and I’ve loved it: great staff and great board, and all single-mindedly focused on doing the best that we can do with the money that people generously gave in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales…”

Read the full interview on the Alliance website.