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Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I was born in the South of France and when I graduated from uni I came to London. I started a job in finance here 12 years ago, and never left because London quickly felt like home. I worked in Australia for a year and when I came back, I looked for a place to settle, and ended up living in Islington.
– Manu Mathey during the Zoom interview
Why did you decide to become a governor, what did you think that you could bring into the foundation?
I decided to apply because I’ve been involved in many charities in the past as a volunteer on the ground, but between becoming more senior at work and having a child, I have had less time to be involved with grassroot organisations. So I thought, how can I keep contributing? And now that I have developed quite a few technical skills and I contribute to a variety of boards and committees, I thought that becoming an adviser would be a different way to have an impact in grassroot organisations.
Is there any particular reason why you chose to apply to Cripplegate? Did you know the foundation before?
I had heard about Cripplegate’s mission and I also worked at the same place as the outgoing finance governor. She knew I was interested in philanthropy and that I had experience in establishing partnerships with charities so she recommended the opportunity. It also felt nice to start doing something where I live and where my child is growing up. So that was also the drive of doing something a bit more Islington-based.
Is there any particular piece of work or project that you have become involved with as a governor that you could tell us about?
We’ve been looking at getting involved with social investment which is a very exciting development for Cripplegate. We need to invest in a way that’s prudent, positive, and has some level of income but also we are trying to bring our investments more in line with all our values and our mission. So that’s something really interesting that I have experience in. I’m also involved in the Diversity Equity & Inclusion Working Group, which is also very close to my heart and where I hope I can contribute. The people in the working group have such a wealth of backgrounds, views and skills it made me feel like we were definitely going to be achieving a lot, but also learning a lot from each other, which is very exciting.
What do you think is or are the biggest challenges in the sector at the moment?
On one hand, when there is a big crisis like a pandemic, generally people donate, but in the medium-term, I think, with a risk of recession, people will struggle to make ends meet, and they’ll be less likely to find that extra money. So that’s also difficult. There is and will be more and more need for what we do, because people are in very difficult situations, people are losing their jobs, having more mental health issues…So the pandemic just makes it all worse because we have more people needing our help, but we don’t have more money to give out. So I think that’s really difficult, but at the same time I think Cripplegate can really have an impact and contribute by taking that step back and thinking, “Okay, where would the funds best be deployed?”.
Lastly, what is your favourite thing about Islington?
One of the things I really like about Islington is its diversity. You have a nice mix of people, backgrounds…and I think that’s super important. My child goes to a nursery where both the kids and the staff are from very diverse backgrounds, and I think it’s really good for her and for us.