Kari Holtung

Programme Director

What makes Pears foundation effective is its ability to commit to decisions quickly. Our structure and the central involvement of the funding founders has created an environment where we're more nimble than many other foundations. Where needs are urgent, we can make decisions and get to work. I think that's crucial when it comes to making a real difference.

Kari joined Pears Foundation in 2009. Her grants focus predominantly on wellbeing: particularly social care, poverty reduction and mental health.

She is the Foundation’s social policy expert and has a deep understanding of the technicalities of local authority funding for special educational needs, benefits and foodbanks. Kari also manages many of the Foundation’s capital grants, including the Pears Pavilion at Coram.

Kari is known for her love of learning and for her honesty and focus. If you want something sugar-coated, look elsewhere. She is an analytical thinker with a passion for facts and evidence-based decision-making.

Kari is interested in how wider societal attitudes and social policy influence long term outcomes, and believes more funders should consider offering core or unrestricted grants. She favours long-term partnerships, developing a deep knowledge of the organisation she’s supporting and their working environment. If you’re looking for her outside of work, follow the sound of Radio 4.

She recently completed a MSc in Education, Power and Social Change at Birkbeck, University of London.