Lindy Van Hasselt



  • Foundation The Lewis Foundation


Lindy holds BSc in Zoology and Psychology and a post-grad teaching diploma from UCT. She started her conservation career in 1990 as a volunteer for the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) and this soon turned into a fulltime position. The next 14 years were spent initiating and developing crane conservation programmes across sub-Saharan Africa. For this work she won 2 international awards; The Whitley Conservation Award and the Rolex Award for Enterprise. Simultaneously her artistic inclination led her to start painting on ceramics and she juggled flying crane surveys across Africa with running “Lindy Ceramics” a small business specialising in bird designs painted on dinnerware. In 2004 Lindy took a break from cranes to have a child and in 2008 returned to the conservation arena to work as the Relationship Director for the Lewis Foundation, a private foundation dedicated to funding conservation programmes. She also continues to pursue her love of ceramics and has exhibited her sculptures for the past three years. Lindy is married, has a young son, lives in Cape Town and spends 3 months of year in Prince Albert in the Karoo restoring her sanity.


Philanthropy can be broadly defined as the practice of investing in individuals or organisations who promote progressive systemic change and help transform society. At the height of apartheid, the majority of philanthropic effort were directed at human rights initiatives.

Since ‘94 interests have widened to include multiple causes and there is a
significant shift away from charity to a strategic focus on change and impact. To have any real chance of achieving this much needed change and impact, Foundations are going to have to actively engage and collaborate. But finding and working in effective partnerships is complex, slow, frustrating and sometimes downright messy.

By nature, private philanthropy is just that, private. It tends to operate under the radar, with many foundations functioning as lone rangers, without websites or expert advisers. That was until IPASA was formed.

For the first time in South Africa IPASA brings together local, private philanthropic foundations and philanthropists who want to develop a community of practice. It has provided us with a platform for learning and sharing where confidentiality and trust are the order of the day. It has created opportunities to collaborate and partner and debate good philanthropic practice.

Collaboration takes time and requires trust and confidence to develop a common agenda and as the network grows and matures and the members begin to develop these relationships of Trust, hubs of like-minded philanthropic organisations, with the same interests, are forming strategic partnerships to collaborate and leverage impact.

We have the benefit of attending 4 meetings a year where an array of superb speakers and experts in a particular field are invited to address the network. This provides us with insight into the wider context in which we work and exposes us to a variety of opinions, ideas and organisations that working in isolation we would not know even exist. The annual Symposium is a 2-day ‘festival’ of speakers, debates, discussion and networking which connect us to great resources, people and new ideas. I cannot recommend membership of
IPASA highly enough.