Dr Soma Pujari, Co-Founder and Executive Trustee
Soma co-founded the Trust to create a structured and long-term approach to the family’s charitable giving. She studied medicine at the Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC) in Pune, India, and continued her education in Hyderabad at various government tertiary hospitals. Over the years Soma has gained experience both funding and fundraising for several philanthropic ventures in addition to mentoring for iPartner India. She has also enjoyed being an active member of parental bodies at her children’s schools.
Being the daughter of an army officer, she had the opportunity to travel extensively within India including many remote regions of the country. Soma is motivated by a sense of social engagement and responsibility. Today she guides the Trust’s value-led grant making.
Anurag Dikshit, Co-Founder and Trustee
Anurag is an entrepreneur and philanthropist who lives with his wife Soma and two children in London. He went to school in the diverse town of Dhanbad, India, and studied Computer Science at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi, he was also a National Talent Scholar. At the start of his career Anurag worked in R&D in India and the US before starting his own technology companies during the dot-com era. He co-founded Partygaming, a successful online gaming company which went public in 2005 and was part of the FTSE100. This enabled the family to endow Kusuma Trust with funds to support its social investments.
Since then, Anurag has invested in Next Education India, now one of the largest ed-tech companies in India. He takes interest in various business projects and asset management. Named after his mother, the Kusuma Trust stands for the family’s engagement and investment in society, which he believes is part of the responsibility owed to the society we live in.
Nitin Jain, Trustee
Nitin is an MBA in Finance and IT from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Calcutta and an Electronics Engineer from PEC Chandigarh. He worked as the Director of Technology for a FTSE 100 company. Subsequently, he started two e-commerce ventures and has been an active Angel investor in multiple technology start-ups.
As a Kusuma trustee, Nitin is passionate about investing in local projects especially those that use innovative technology to address social problems.
Libby Burkeman, Head of Grants
Libby leads programme development and manages grants. Libby has experience developing and managing education programmes through her previous roles as Director of Education at Tzedek, an international charity, and most recently in her role as Education Director at Movement for Reform Judaism. Libby has also co-ordinated education and teacher training programmes at the Science Museum.
Dr Christine Oliver, Head of Research
Christine develops and manages research, monitoring and evaluation of the Trust’s programmes. She has over 20 years of research experience, including 18 as Senior Researcher at the Institute of Education, University of London. Christine has an MA in Social History and Sociology and a PhD in Sociology from UCL, Institute of Education.
Andy Arthurson, Operations Manager
Andy has been responsible for the operations of the Trust and overseeing the work funded in Gibraltar since joining in 2012. He has 14 years’ experience in the charity sector. Prior to joining the Trust he worked for eight years at Young Enterprise, the UK’s largest enterprise education charity, in roles including National Education Support Manager and Office and Administration Manager.
Michelle Tosso, Country Manager – Gibraltar
Michelle joined the Trust in Gibraltar in April 2018 and works directly with our grantees and runs the Excellence and Professional Development programmes. Since moving to Gibraltar, she has gained experience in the public and private sector working in roles for the Government of Gibraltar and most recently with Aon insurance. Michelle is currently on maternity leave and will be back with the Trust in June 2019.
Rebecca is CEO of Greenwood Place, which she created to leverage the experience she gained over 20 years’ work in philanthropy. Rebecca began her career as a charity lawyer at Allen & Overy, then became CEO of The Prince’s Foundation for Arts & Kids. She was a Managing Director of J.P. Morgan Private Bank, leading the bank’s philanthropy advisory offering in EMEA for almost a decade.
Dr Balwant Singh
Balwant was previously the Chief Executive of the Trust. His earlier roles include Global Director of a maternal and child health initiative across Africa and Asia funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Regional Director for Asia with Save the Children, Executive Director of Doctors of the World USA in New York and the International HIV/AIDS Alliance in India, Director of International Programmes at International Family Health in London and Country Director with Project HOPE in Russia. Balwant is a physician with an MBA.
Sandra is Lecturer in Development Economics at the London School of Economics. Her research interests include the role of infrastructure in development, labour market dynamics and youth unemployment, education and development. She holds a PhD from Harvard University and a Masters in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.