Andrew Barnett Joins DRK As First Appointed UK Managing Director

May 14, 2024

MENLO PARK, CA (May 15, 2024) – Today, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation (DRK), one of the largest global venture philanthropy firms supporting social enterprise, announced Andrew Barnett OBE, will join the Foundation’s leadership team as DRK’s first United Kingdom-based Managing Director. He begins this role with the Foundation today, Wednesday, May 15.

“We see a real opportunity to build on our existing work in the UK and provide proximate support to existing and new social enterprises,” said Jim Bildner, CEO of Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation. “Andrew’s deep commitment to solving social problems will enable us to significantly expand DRK’s impact and help drive scalable solutions to the social, economic, and environmental challenges confronting vulnerable communities in the UK, including food insecurity, employment opportunities, healthcare, and other basics of life. We are thrilled to have Andrew represent DRK.”

Barnett brings with him more than 30 years of social entrepreneurial insight to this position, most recently serving as Director at Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation’s United Kingdom branch. Prior to that, Barnett played a key role as Policy and Communications Director at the poverty-fighting Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

To date, DRK’s innovative strategy of finding, funding, and supporting early-stage, high-impact social enterprises has collectively impacted over 400 million lives globally. Barnett’s role within the Foundation will expand DRK’s footprint throughout the UK and Europe, where 25 DRK portfolio organizations are already actively engaged in addressing society’s most pressing issues.

Barnett will work closely with DRK’s European team headquartered in The Hague, The Netherlands, led by Senior Managing Director and Europe Director, Lisa Jordan.

“The UK has been such a strong hub for social innovation,” said Jordan. “We welcome Andrew’s wealth of experience and deep understanding of social impact which will bolster and broaden our influence across the UK, Europe, and worldwide. He brings invaluable insight and extensive board dynamics to many of the vital causes our portfolio organizations champion every day.”

“I am delighted to join DRK Foundation as they bring their effective tradecraft to the UK and expand their global reach,” said Barnett. “Social enterprise is key to aligning commercial thinking with public benefit as it addresses a range of challenges people and communities face. Social entrepreneurs bring courage and imagination to a rich ecosystem of public interest activity – both nonprofit and for-profit – and deserve recognition and support as they benefit more lives by scaling and spreading the impact of the socially transformative ventures they set up. I look forward to sharing insight and networks from three decades of public service to this role at a time of great change and international uncertainty.’’

Among his achievements, Barnett co-founded the UK’s Campaign to End Loneliness, resulting in the first-ever Minister for Loneliness and a national governmental plan to tackle the problem. He was a founding director of the Global Social Innovation Exchange; inspired the setting up of Arts and Homelessness International; co-founded a coalition of NGOs focused on making the case for a stronger emphasis on public engagement as a key part of the net zero transition; chaired the trustees of the Church Urban Fund. He currently serves as member of the UK Poverty Strategy Commission and of the Archbishops’ Council’s Strategic Mission and Ministry Investment Board targeting support for low-income communities and church growth.

Barnett’s contribution to social change was recognized with the award of an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in The Queen’s 2021 New Year’s Honours list. He holds a master’s degree from the University of St Andrews.