European Venture Philanthropy Association

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Members - Q&A corner

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As a membership organisation we value the contributions that each organisation brings to the network. Therefore we highlight new members as they join our community.

This month we talk to Programme Manager Shiura Rasheed of new associate member Thomson Reuters Foundation about the free access to TrustLaw they offer to the EVPA community as well as to their grantees, investees and partners.

thomson reuters foundation

Q&A

1. Please tell us a little bit about Thomson Reuters Foundation and your objectives?

The Thomson Reuters Foundation has come a long way since it was established in 1983 as a training programme for journalists in developing countries. Today, we are a rapidly growing organisation with over 70 staff members around the world and work in 12 office locations across the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe. The Thomson Reuters Foundation stands for free, independent journalism, human rights, women’s empowerment, anti-corruption and the rule of law.

In 2010, the foundation launched the award-winning service, TrustLaw that spreads the practice of pro bono worldwide. It is a free service that helps NGOs and social enterprises find legal assistance in over 170 countries. TrustLaw is a rapidly growing community of more than 1,800 members; including 1,400 NGOs and social enterprises and 400 of the world’s top law firms and in-house legal teams.

We don’t give grants, but instead use the skills, values, and expertise of Thomson Reuters to run programmes that trigger real change and empower people around the world.

2. How do you think the venture philanthropy approach could help your organisation in achieving more social impact?
We feel that by helping NGOs and social enterprises to connect with the right lawyers to tackle social issues we can create a significant impact.
TrustLaw strongly focuses on the impact we have both at a micro and macro level. We help individual organisations with everyday legal issues faced by them (such as helping protect intellectual property, drafting contracts or partnership agreements, or advice on board and governance issues) and also help conduct large cross-border legal research programmes. For example, TrustLaw helped a Philippine based NGO successfully negotiate for landmark legislation in the Philippines. All of this is free – for the law firms and corporate counsel as well as the NGOs and social enterprise.

We also publish a number of guides and host events around social innovation around the world – from impact investing in Brazil to best legal structures for social entrepreneurs in the UK and US. All our reports and publications are made freely available publically in line with our mission to spread the practice of pro bono and our commitment to empower people worldwide.

Since 2010, we’ve generated the equivalent of $35 million in pro bono support and made over 1,000 connections.

3. What would you like to offer to the EVPA Community?
We feel TrustLaw is an invaluable service to many of our member organisations as it can help them to multiply and amplify their social mission within their communities by allowing them to spend their limited time and resources on achieving their mission and not on legal support. We are delighted to offer free access to TrustLaw to qualifying members of the EVPA community as well as to their grantees, investees and other social venture organisations that they support. Not only is this a service you can use for your own legal needs, but we are happy to discuss the opportunity to become a referral partner as well: this means any organisations in your portfolio can automatically become members of TrustLaw, allowing you to offer them pro bono legal assistance as part of your package of support. Thomson Reuters Foundation will also hold Trust Woman next November in London (18-19 November) EVPA members have 25 % discount on the early bird ticket.

4. What would you like to gain from EVPA membership and what are you mostly looking forward to?
Our mission is really to spread the practice of pro bono worldwide and we hope that being part of the EVPA community will help us to reach out to as many organisations as possible. We are very keen to network with member organisations and think of creative ways in which we can support their grantees, investees and other social ventures that may have various legal needs. We would also love to co-host events where we can share expertise and learn from each other on critical issues and trends in the social sector.
To find out more about TrustLaw, please contact Shiura Rasheed at shiura.rasheed@thomsonreuters.com

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Past Q&As with EVPA members:

Investisseurs & Partenaires

OECD Global Network of Foundations Working for Development (netFWD)

Adessium Foundation

Trafigura Foundation

Investir & +