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The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund (DPWMF) is an independent grant-making charity which was established in London in September 1997 “to continue the … humanitarian work” of its late namesake. Specifically, the Fund’s mission is “to secure sustainable improvements in the lives of the most disadvantaged people in the UK and around the world,” especially “people displaced, people at the margins of society, survivors of conflict, [and] people dying or bereaved.”
Until the end of 2006, DPWMF’s grant programs were open to any organizations that wished to apply. In 2007 the Fund initiated a new Strategic Plan geared toward actively “bringing about social change,” by first identifying groups whose goals and values were compatible with those of DPWMF, and then awarding grants directly to those groups.
In addition, the Fund provides practical assistance to its grantees and partners; works collaboratively with other foundations; engages in “campaigning and awareness-raising” initiatives; participates in public-policy debates in an effort to influence popular opinion; and commissions research to help buttress its policy recommendations.
DPWMF’s efforts and resources are directed toward four major objectives:
* To ensure that palliative care is “integrated into the care and treatment of people with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-limiting illnesses in sub-Saharan Africa”: This program focuses most heavily on seven countries—Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
* To ensure that refugees _and people seeking asylum in the UK “are trea_ted with fairness, humanity and in accordance with international law,” especially children—a policy rooted in the premise that such people are commonly maltreated.
* To promote “fair treatment and better futures for the most vulnerable people in the criminal-justice system”: Lamenting that “too many … young people and … women … are sent to prison for non-violent offences,” DPWMF calls for “alternatives to custodial sentences.” Without such an approach, says the Fund, “rates of reoffending will remain high, the root causes of offending will remain untackled, and the people who are most at risk will fail to get the support they need.”
* To promote “the protection of civilians during and after conflict by bringing an end to the use of cluster munitions in warfare”: In 2003, DPWMF became a founding member of the Cluster Munition Coalition, a global group of civil-society organizations devoted to achieving a worldwide ban on such weapons.
DPWMF is a member of the Peace and Security Funders Group, an association of foundations, charitable trusts, and individual philanthropists who “make grants or expenditures that contribute to peace and global security.”
The president of DPWMF’s board of directors is Lady Sarah McCorquodale, the eldest sister of the late Diana, Princess of Wales.
Astrid Bonfield, who holds a PhD in social anthropology, has been the Fund’s chief executive since October 2005. Prior to joining DPWMF, Bonfield served as director of the Zimbabwean organization Inter-Country Peoples’ Aid (1997-2001); as a program-development specialist at the Bernard van Leer Foundation in the Netherlands (2001-2003); and as director of policy at the Aga Khan Foundation in the United Kingdom (2003-2005).
Over the years, DPWMF has awarded grants to many organizations and causes. Among them are Amnesty International, Changemakers, Christian Aid, the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative (a project of the Clinton Foundation), Human Rights Watch, Oxfam, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
In accord with a plan that was laid out when DPWMF was first established, the Fund is currently in the process of spending out its remaining capital and will permanently cease operations on December 31, 2012. By that time, it will have given away more than £100 million over a 15-year period.