Clare Woodcraft

Venture Philanthropy and Foundations

Clare is a highly regarded advisor to corporations and foundations on how to maximize their social impact. She was latterly, CEO of Emirates Foundation, the sovereign foundation of the UAE. During her six-year tenure Clare led the organization’s transition from a traditional grant-making entity into one pioneering Venture Philanthropy in the field of youth development. On the back of its transformation, Emirates Foundation was elected as the Chair of the Arab Foundations Forum (AFF), a regional network of foundations and also became a founding member of the OECD’s foundation network, NetFWD.

Clare previously served as Deputy Director of Shell Foundation, a leading entity in the corporate philanthropic sector due to its unique ‘enterprise-based’ model which angel invests in social enterprises. During her time at Shell Foundation, she was responsible for building a thought leadership program around the ‘paradigm-shift’ currently underway in the sector whereby foundations are increasingly creating hybrid financing tools that combine instruments such as debt and equity with a social purpose.

Clare also brings with her private sector experience, having headed up the social investment and communications of Royal Dutch Shell in the Middle East and North Africa. She also headed up Visa International’s communications and social investment programs in Emerging Markets as the Head of Public Affairs.

Woodcraft has a total of over 25 years’ experience working on creating social impact with a particular focus on emerging markets. She has served on multiple boards in addition to the AFF including Operation Hope, a US-based entity working on financial inclusion, Sumerian Foundation which addresses social inequality in the UK and Berkeley University’s Enterprise program which supports job creation in the Arab world. She has worked as a development practitioner, a journalist and a corporate executive specializing in youth, enterprise ecosystems and social impact. Claire is a British national, a fluent Arabic and French speaker and has an MSc in Development from the London School of Economics.

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