F (Fanny) Castel

F (Fanny) Castel

Senior Relationship Manager Trusts and Foundations

A language lover and resolute idealist body and soul, my long-standing interest in pressing societal questions and my wish to understand complex challenges beyond polarization or simplistic dichotomies attracted me to Wageningen. Since 2015, within the University Fund Wageningen, I have specialised as ‘Relationship Manager for Charitable Foundations’ (i.e. private philanthropy), building and developing a portfolio of partners among international trusts and foundations, whose values and goals align with WUR’s prominent knowledge and domains.

To advance this, I team up with academics, researchers, business developers and I collaborate with foundation professionals, acting as a link-pin to help define areas of mutual interest. I act as a liaison for representatives of foundations who are seeking to fund state-of-the art expertise, approaches or technologies in order to develop impacting, evidence-based programs and I advise specialist colleagues on the delivery of winning propositions that comply with donor requirements. 

My activities include external relations and donor engagement, scouting and disseminating opportunities, supporting grant writing and proposal development, monitoring trends and developments in the philanthropy sector, strategizing/policy development.

Born and raised in France, I obtained a Dual Master Degree (summa cum laude) in Foreign Languages and Law from Paris Diderot University (Paris) and a Master of Advanced Studies in Strategic Communications and European Studies from the European University Centre (Nancy). Before joining WUR, I handled different roles as press officer and communication advisor in the civil society and in the publishing sectors. I then transitioned into a fundraising role for a nationally-operating umbrella organisation supporting organic farms with a social inclusion mission. I executed the scaling-up and resource mobilisation strategy by diversifying the income streams with private donations from foundations and corporate funders and helped to position the organisation as a leading model of social entrepreneurship in France.

Having to operate more and more in a context of co-creation and with a multi-stakeholder approach (civil society, private sector, etc.), I genuinely believe that international foundations and private philanthropy have a catalytic role to play in helping fix the most pressing challenges of today and tomorrow. In an era of rising scepticism in relation to the role of knowledge, we more than ever need inspiration, evidence, sound thinking and robust frameworks to achieve effective delivery and for getting the job done.