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New Views on Trust in Philanthropy

An interactive conversation with English Sall & John Esterle
Wednesday, 13 May • Noon–1:30 PM ET

Trust is the bedrock of authentic relationships and collaborative partnerships.

However, as the philanthropic landscape undergoes a seismic shift, some are questioning the power imbalances, lack of transparency, and trustworthiness of large charities, grant-makers, and social entrepreneurs. Who will be the change-makers we trust to provide solutions to society’s problems going forward? What is a trust-based philanthropic model and how does it provide a simple but powerful approach to mission-focused work? 

Our speakers lead a lively, interactive conversation on how to build and enhance trust in philanthropy through mutual sharing, bridging leadership, and re-imagining collaborative action to create the largest impact possible for the causes so dear to us. 

Our speakers

This session was moderated by Robert Thompson, Director of Development, Synergos

English Sall

English Sall is a data enthusiast and researcher at heart. English holds a Masters degree and is currently pursuing her PhD in Industrial Organizational  Psychology (IOP) at North Carolina State University. She specializes in Humanitarian Work Psychology and is interested in how IOP can be applied to cross-cultural leadership and work-force development within informal economies. English is also a board member of the Sall Family Foundation and is pursuing the role of a next gen philanthropist. Additionally, she is on the boards of CARE USA, The EndFund, Jacaranda, and Aspen Management Partnership for Health. English is also a member of Maverick Collective.


English is co-founder of the organization Impact Thread which uses IOP to address workforce and organizational development through a social good lens. Before co-founding Impact Thread, she was co-director for Aspen Institute’s Impact Careers Initiative. She has also worked as a Data Strategist Fellow with Organize and as a member of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychologists-United Nations Liaison team. English is also the co-founder of Embark, a Gender Justice initiative powered by CARE. English served as Visiting Research Fellow at the Social Science Research Institute, Duke University in the center for Advanced Hindsight. English is currently a principle at Community Health Acceleration Partnership as well as an Adjunct professor at UNC Gilling’s School of Global Public Health in the department of Health Behavior.

John Esterle

John Esterle A strong advocate of Trust-Based Philanthropy, John is the Co-Executive Director and a Trustee of The Whitman Institute. John began working at TWI in 1988 as a Research Associate before becoming its Executive Director. In 2004, following the death of TWI’s Founder, Fred Whitman, John led TWI’s transition from an operating to a grant-making foundation and its later decision to sunset the foundation in 2022. A past board president of Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement, John has served on the boards the Germanacos Foundation, LeaderSpring, and Images and Voice of Hope.


John was also PTA president for two years of Rooftop Alternative K-8 Elementary School in San Francisco. Prior to joining TWI, John directed Crime and the News Media, a pilot project that featured a series of dialogues between Bay Area journalists and proponents of alternatives to incarceration. He received his B.A. in Liberal Arts from the Hutchins School of Interdisciplinary Studies at Sonoma State University and his M.A. in Broadcast Communication Arts from San Francisco State University. He lives with his wife in San Francisco and is the proud father of two grown children.