We have a team of co-workers who work closely with partners to develop, manage and communicate our programmes. Our co-workers are based in our offices in the Netherlands and India.
Per Heggenes – Chief Executive Officer
Per Heggenes is the CEO of the IKEA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of INGKA Foundation, the owner of the IKEA Group of companies. As CEO, Per sets and drives the Foundation’s funding and innovation strategies, and is a tireless advocate for children living in some of the world’s poorest communities.
Since becoming the Foundation’s first CEO in 2009, Per has presided over its evolution into a global grant-making philanthropy that funds programmes in more than 20 countries. He serves on the advisory board of the Refugee Studies Centre at University of Oxford, Department for International Development, and is a member of the advisory group on the Planning From the Future project, a multi-organisation project hosted by King’s College London.
In 2012, Per was appointed to the UN Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who created the Commission to increase access to life-saving medicines and health supplies for the world’s most vulnerable people.
Previously, Per was the Global Head of Corporate Affairs and member of the Global Executive Team for the shipping and logistics company Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics. Before joining WWL, he was the UK President and CEO for the global public relations firm Burson-Marsteller and Co-CEO for Europe. He also held different global roles for Burson-Marsteller based in their New York headquarters. Per served in the Norwegian Air Force and graduated from the University of Augsburg in Germany with a “Diplom Oekonom” (MBA).
Blanche van de Stolpe – Special Assistant to the CEO
Blanche works closely with the IKEA Foundation’s CEO, playing a key role in keeping strategic programmes, partnerships and operations on track. The programmes she manages have a significant global impact in the world.
Before starting at the Foundation, Blanche worked in different jobs from a small social enterprise to one of the universities in the Netherlands. She has always managed multiple projects, where she likes to see positive impact. In 2008, she finished her Bachelor’s degree in European Studies, with a focus on political science, from The Hague University. In 2012, she studied Multiculturalism at the University of Utrecht.
Blanche volunteers for a charity that organises fun weekend events for children in low income areas in the Netherlands. She is also a member of a young professional network, which organises special events to promote flexible voluntary work for young professionals in The Hague. In her free time, Blanche likes to travel and enjoys outdoor sports, such as skiing and sailing.
Patricia Atkinson – Head of Programmes
Patricia Atkinson joined the IKEA Foundation in 2016 as Head of Programmes. In this role, she has oversight of programme investments and programme management, encompassing the IKEA Foundation’s five programme portfolios.
Previously, Patricia had roles at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in strategy and operations and in global health delivery programming. She also served as Vice President of Health Systems at Marie Stopes International and has had leadership roles at PATH and WomanCare Global. Prior to working in global development, she worked in the private sector in the IT and communications fields.
Patricia has a Bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Elizabeth McKeon – Head of Strategy
Liz McKeon joined the IKEA Foundation in 2014 as Programme Director, and has recently taken up an expanded role as Head of Strategy. In this capacity, she helps guide the strategic development and impact across all grant making areas to ensure that the Foundation delivers on the goals it has set for itself.
She also drives the Foundation’s ambitious climate change strategy, serves as the programme liaison to IKEA in connection to our Good Cause Campaign collaborations, and heads a portfolio aimed at helping families living in poverty to access affordable and clean home energy, cooking, water and sanitation systems.
For over 25 years, Liz has worked in global development, ever more convinced that durable solutions are those that address structural injustice. Her views began taking root on a teaching assignment in apartheid-era South Africa and have continued through her career at organisations including the Ford Foundation, the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX).
Liz holds an M.P.P. from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a B.S. in languages from Georgetown University. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Jeanine Kok – Programme Assistant
Jeanine is the programme assistant for the Foundation’s four portfolios, ensuring smooth collaboration and coordination on timelines. She works closely with the Head of Strategy and Head of Programmes to implement the Foundation’s climate change strategy across all portfolios.
She studied English Language and Cultural Anthropology at Utrecht University and holds a Master’s degree in International Development Studies. As part of her studies, Jeanine travelled to Guatemala and Malaysia to do research on empowerment, labour rights and migration of women. She started her career at Cordaid, managing programmes together with partners, focussing on women’s leadership, private initiatives and migration.
In her free time, Jeanine likes to dance salsa, brush up on her Spanish and visit museums. She also loves to travel and collect stickers of the places she visited for her suitcase.
Vandana Verma – IKEA Asia Liaison and Special Program Lead
Vandana Verma joined IKEA in 2001 and oversees a portfolio of our partners with main emphasis on Asia. She fosters new and innovative thinking, oversees programme development and is responsible for some of the Foundation’s largest global partnerships.
In an additional role, she supports IKEA business teams in South Asia on issues pertaining to the prevention of child labour.
Prior to joining IKEA, she worked with the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), the World Bank and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on issues such as competitiveness of the Indian export industries, child labour and women’s entrepreneurship in more than six Asian countries.
Vivek Singh – Head of Portfolio
Vivek leads the IKEA Foundation’s portfolio on child rights, protection and development and the Foundation’s team in India. His work involves managing and overseeing a global portfolio of programmes and strategic partnerships. His areas of strength are planning, strategy and the design and implementation of large-scale development programmes.
Vivek has worked with a range of development agencies, civil society organisations and government departments. For a decade, Vivek worked at the Aga Khan Foundation, where he designed, managed and implemented integrated poverty-reduction programmes with a variety of partners. Before joining the IKEA Foundation, he was at Plan International, where he led a multidisciplinary team responsible for strategic initiatives on child and youth-centred development programmes across India.
Vivek holds a Master’s degree in Social Policy and Development from the London School of Economics and Political Science, where he was an LSE Scholar, and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Delhi. He is fluent in English and Hindi and is fond of travelling, painting, and reading nonfiction, travelogues and biographies.
Annemieke Tsike-Sossah de Jong – Head of Portfolio
Starting in the finance team in 2009, Annemieke now leads the Foundation’s work in the humanitarian sector and co-ordinates our emergency relief responses. After graduating with her Master’s degree in International Law, she worked in South Africa and Ghana with local non-governmental organisations focusing on human rights.
She contributed to the Ghanaian Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice’s work by supporting research on rape within marriage and on child labour in fishing villages in the Western Region.
In her spare time, she acts as a board member for Stichting ACIPP West Africa, which works through volunteerism and training to better the positions and build capacities of young people in Western Africa. She enjoys adding stamps to her passport, reading many different types of books and stories, and, above all, being part of a loving family.
Petra Hans – Head of Portfolio
Petra leads the team on Building Self Reliance, which seeks to prepare children and young people to build a better future for themselves. Her work involves managing and overseeing a portfolio of programmes and strategic partnerships on adolescent health and rights, education and employment, and opportunities to generate a sustainable income.
Petra has extensive field experience and has worked abroad for several years with various non-governmental organisations. She started her career in market research, before moving to Nepal to work in a community based disaster management organisation, via Voluntary Service Overseas. She then moved to Oxfam to work as a programme manager for educational projects in South Asia.
Petra holds a Bachelor’s degree in Commercial Economics from the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and a Master’s degree in Socio-Cultural Sciences from the VU University of Amsterdam. Petra loves to learn new languages and, in her free time, she enjoys some urban gardening and volunteers in different social initiatives in her neighbourhood.
Nayana Chowdhury – Programme Manager
Nayana started working for the IKEA Foundation as a Programme Manager in February 2013. Based with our team in Delhi, she manages programmes from a wide variety of partners in Asia and Africa.
Nayana has a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Delhi. She started her career with a grassroots organisation that supports people’s movements to secure basic human rights and entitlements in rural and tribal areas of India.
During this time, she worked with a large team of “Fellows” who worked with the most marginalised communities in 11 states. Nayana led her organisation’s work on rehabilitation of the communities affected by tsunami in 2004, in South India.
She also had a long stint with the Tata Trusts, one of the largest and oldest philanthropic donor organisations in India, developing its governance and human rights portfolio. She worked with government and non-government actors during both jobs.
Nayana has also facilitated human rights training in various parts of Europe and Asia for development sector workers.
In her free time, she loves to travel, read and write, not always in that order. She loves listening to Indian classical music and visiting places of historical importance.
Annelies Withofs – Programme Manager
Annelies joined the IKEA Foundation in November 2014. She now works closely with a variety of humanitarian partners, from UN bodies to international response agencies and smaller organisations, to develop effective programmes to support children and their families who have been forced to leave their homes.
She holds a Master’s degree in Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology and has a particular interest in the interface between conflict, climate change and development. She previously worked on renewable energy, rainwater harvesting and developing small and medium enterprises with partners across the globe.
Annelies lived in Belgium, France, Namibia and Mali before settling in the Netherlands. She loves travelling, music and spending time with her children, family and friends.
Patrick Obonyo – Programme Manager
Patrick joined the IKEA Foundation in November 2014 as a programme manager, and oversees a portfolio of partners working on education. Patrick has more than 10 years of professional experience and expertise in education, philanthropy, and managing grants and social investments.
Prior to joining the IKEA Foundation, Patrick worked for Porticus Amsterdam advising the Foundation and its partners on education, health, human rights and social investments. At Porticus, Patrick was also part of a team spearheading the implementation of a new global educational strategy.
Patrick has a Master’s degree in Statistics from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa and an MBA from the RSM Erasmus University in Rotterdam, where he researched strategic change and impact optimisation in a philanthropic organisation. During his free time, Patrick likes spending time with friends and training his fingers on the piano.
Shambhavi Sharma – Programme Manager
Shambhavi is a Leiden-based Programme Manager at the IKEA Foundation, where she manages partners and projects under the Humanitarian portfolio. This includes helping in co-ordination of in-kind, emergency grants and IKEA knowledge sharing.
She did her Bachelor’s degree in psychology with a focus on organisational behaviour from Delhi University, and Master’s in transnational entrepreneurship/corporate social responsibility. Both degrees are from Vrije Universiteit van Amsterdam.
After completing her studies, Shambhavi joined the IKEA Foundation in 2011 as a Programme Assistant in the Delhi office, where she managed multiple projects and partners with a concentrated focus on child labour and child protection.
She’s fluent in Dutch, Hindi and English. In her free time, Shambhavi loves to work for animal rights. As a Co-founder of Co-existence, an independent group of professionals who volunteer to help animals by liaising with different animal welfare bodies, she helps in animal rescues, adoptions and medical aid to injured animals across Delhi.
Jeffrey Prins – Programme Manager Renewable Energy
Jeffrey’s focus at the IKEA Foundation is on renewable energy as a means to alleviate poverty and to fight climate change.
Jeffrey previously worked for 11 years at DOEN Foundation, founded by the Dutch Postcode Lottery, focussing on clean-energy investments and energy access in East Africa and India. Before DOEN, Jeffrey worked for close to seven years as a policy advisor on environmental issues for various politicians. Initially, this policy work started at the European parliament and then continued at the Dutch parliament. He served as a politician himself, albeit shortly, when he became a member of the city council in Amsterdam.
Jeffrey grew up in Holland, Michigan, in the United States. After finishing his Bachler’s degree at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, he moved to the Netherlands, where both his parents immigrated from in the 1940s. He has a Master’s degree in Political Science from the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. His passion for sustainability was sparked when he was a student volunteering at Greenpeace. More recently, he’s been deeply inspired by the Cradle-to-Cradle design approach from McDonough and Braungart, dedicated to “remaking how we make things”.
Jonathan Spampinato – Head of Communications
Jon leads the Foundation’s communications planning and activities, and coordinates strategic communications with grantees and stakeholders within the IKEA Group. Jon has had a wide-ranging career developing communications and public affairs programmes for some of the world’s most recognised brands, including Pfizer, Ford Motor Co., Visiting Nurses of America and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Jon was deputy political director for US businessman Mitt Romney’s successful gubernatorial campaign and served as deputy director of the Office of Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation for former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld.
Jon has an MPA in International Public and Non-profit Management from New York University.
Shanti Mahabier-Kalicharan – Manager IWitness Programme
Shanti manages the Foundation’s IWitness programme, which sends small groups of IKEA co-workers to visit our partners’ projects in developing countries. She joined the IKEA Foundation in January 2013 after she completed a corporate responsibility traineeship at Ernst & Young.
Shanti studied Business Administration at Erasmus University and earned her Master of Science degree in Global Business and Stakeholder Management, focusing on corporate social responsibility.
Katrina Crew – Writer/Editor
Katrina writes and edits content for the IKEA Foundation’s website, social media channels and publications. She joined the Foundation in November 2011 as the Digital Content Manager. During her year as the Digital Content Manager, she relaunched the website, developed our IWitness blog and grew our Facebook audience from 30 to 15,000.
Before joining the Foundation, she spent six years in London, where she was the Web Editor for the British Red Cross and earned her Master’s degree in Human Rights from the University of Essex. She also taught English in Prague for three years and coordinated an active group of volunteers for Amnesty International Czech Republic.
Julika Riegler – Digital Communications Manager
Juli oversees the IKEA Foundation’s website, blog and social media channels and works on the Soft Toys for Education campaign. Juli joined the Foundation in November 2012 after working for four years at Inter IKEA Systems, the owner of the IKEA Concept and worldwide IKEA franchisor.
She earned her Master’s degree in Communication Sciences from the University of Mainz in Germany, accompanied by studies of media law and politics at the University of Otago, New Zealand.
Chris Williams – Communications Manager
Chris is the Foundation’s Communication Manager working out of Leiden, Netherlands. He joined the Foundation in November 2012 after working as the Marketing and Communication manager for the Department for Education, England, where he led flagship behaviour-change campaigns aimed at children and young people.
Chris has also volunteered in the Netherlands for a non-governmental organisation empowering consumers to makes sustainable purchases and has worked in a variety of communication roles throughout his career. In his spare time, you can find Chris riding his bike around the Dutch countryside and travelling to as many new places as possible, whilst attempting to speak the local lingo.
Radu Dumitrascu – Communications & Media Relations Manager
Radu joined the IKEA Foundation in 2015 and oversees stakeholder communications and media relations. He brings more than 12 years of experience in communications and public relations, with a focus on sustainability, the environment and development issues.
His background—combined with his expertise in message development, positioning and branding, media relations, crisis communications and environmental communications—make him a versatile communications specialist with diverse areas of expertise to draw from.
Before joining the Foundation, Radu managed communications for the executive director’s office at Greenpeace International. Previously, he worked for the Frankfurt Zoological Society based in Eastern Congo and Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide based in Washington DC. He earned his Master’s degree in International Public Relations at George Mason University and his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Bucharest.
Victoria Bowden – Communicator IWitness Programme
Vicki works as a communicator on the IKEA Foundation’s IWitness programme alongside Shanti. She joined the department in 2015 after moving over from the UK with her partner and daughter Evie.
Before joining the Foundation, Vicki worked as a teacher in South London and for an organisation focused on street children in Sierra Leone.
Her role there was developing a quality teacher training programme for rural teachers in Northern Sierra Leone, as well as managing a teacher exchange programme.
Having gained her degree in Environmental Science at Leeds University and a PGCE in teaching at the Institute of Education in London, Vicki is now completing her MA in Development Education and Global Learning at UCL.
Altaf Makhiawala – Senior Strategic Communicator
Altaf manages campaigns and the communication cycle with the IKEA Foundation’s diverse portfolio of partners. Before joining the Foundation in May 2016, Altaf was working for UNHCR in Copenhagen and London.
Prior to that, Altaf was working as a communication officer with UNICEF in India. A former journalist, Altaf has helped international organisations in India and Europe create strategic multimedia content to support their programmatic effectiveness and reach. He has also helped them advocate effectively with governments, funding bodies and corporates. The work has straddled print, television and digital platforms targeting a diverse audience using compelling multimedia narratives. His geographic footprint has extended to South Asia, Middle East and Europe.
Altaf has a MA degree in Peace Studies from the University of Bradford where he was a Rotary World Peace Fellow. In his free time, Altaf loves cycling and reading about history and heritage conservation.
Jeroen Wopereis – Head of Finance and Control
Jeroen is responsible for the Foundation’s finances and works closely with our partners to deliver and monitor grants. His background is in business economics, international management, and finance. For several years, he worked with Ernst & Young as part of the audit and financial due diligence teams in the Netherlands, Mexico and Spain.
Before joining the IKEA Foundation, he was with Oxfam, which gave him valuable understanding of development issues and finance within a non-profit organisation.
Jordi Johannisse – Project Controller
Jordi joined the Foundation in February 2015 and works with our programme and finance teams to monitor current projects and to analyse new proposals from a financial perspective. Before starting at the Foundation, he was responsible for financial grant management at CARE Nederland.
Programmes focused in the Horn of Africa, Middle East and Latin America and where he gained knowledge of development issues and finance within a non-profit organisation.
He started his professional career at PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he worked for seven years in financial due diligence and corporate finance. Jordi obtained a Master’s degree in business economics at the University of Groningen.
In his spare time, he loves spending time with family and friends, and is passionate about the mountains (hiking in summer and skiing in winter).
Bing Hao – Project Controller
Bing is one of the project controllers at the IKEA Foundation. She works closely with programme managers to make and manage grants, focusing on partner due diligence, contracting, budgets and financial monitoring. She also loves to take on challenges to improve the team’s own performance and efficiency.
Before joining the Foundation, Bing worked with non-governmental organisations in the field, as well as at their head offices, focusing on financial administration, logistics and contract management.
Bing holds a degree in Business Administration with a concentration in finance. She speaks native Mandarin Chinese and is fluent in English and Dutch. She moved around quite a lot before settling in the Netherlands. In her spare time she plays the flute and collects jigsaw puzzles.
Nikhil Kaushal – Project Controller
Nikhil is based in Delhi and works closely with our programme and finance teams to oversee current projects and to analyse new proposals from a financial perspective. Before joining the Foundation, he worked with RangDe.org in Bangalore and was responsible for finance and operational functions.
He has extensive experience working in finance for development organisations specialising in the fields of microcredit, health, child protection and education.
Nikhil has a Master’s degree in Commerce and has completed the Executive Education programme at Harvard Business School. He loves spending time with family and friends and watching movies. He is fluent in Hindi and English.
Saurabh Jha — Project Controller
Saurabh joined the IKEA Foundation in September 2015 and is located in the Delhi office. Together with the programme team, he works closely with our partners to monitor and support ongoing and new projects. He is responsible for assessing and managing partnerships from a financial perspective.
Saurabh has a background in the development sector and, prior to joining the IKEA Foundation, he worked as a Finance Co-ordinator at Oxfam India. For ten years there, he was responsible for partnership management, budget and management of information systems. He loves to spend time with his family and watch movies.
Verena de Brey – Project Controller
Verena joined the Foundation as Project Controller in November 2015. After earning her Master’s degree in accounting from the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina, she chose to engage in work that focused on helping people.
Pursuing her passion for people, sustainability and finance, Verena gained work experience within the charity and private sectors, in both Argentina and the Netherlands. In her current role, she analyses funding applications and partnerships. She also monitors programmes implemented under the Foundation’s Humanitarian and Innovation for Healthy Homes portfolios.
In her free time you will most likely find Verena at the beach, running, swimming, reading a book or finding inspiration on a long walk.