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Turning 40: Embracing 4 decades of philanthropic collaboration

By Peggy Sailler, Executive Director NEF & Philippa Nuttall Jones, Consultant

Most people know when they are about to turn 40. Some decide to draw the curtains and hide away, while others opt to party into middle age. Few, however, forget their 40th birthday. NEF, the Network of European Foundations, is the exception. Having failed to keep track of its ageing process, the organisation only woke up to its slide into middle age when one member of staff was doing a bit of administrative work that led her to delve into the archives.

This is doubtless a good sign about the health of NEF. Had the association felt its knees twitching and noticed the bags under its eyes getting deeper, it would have likely booked itself in for a check-up and been reminded of its advancing years. Instead, the organisation has managed to subscribe to author Aldous Huxley’s “secret of genius,” succeeding in carrying “the spirit of the child into old age” and, to paraphrase slightly, “never losing its enthusiasm”. NEF therefore remains in the peak of health with a youthful spring in its step and, until recently, oblivious to its upcoming birthday. True to the nature of the organisation, NEF decided to welcome 40 with open arms, take stock and get ready for the next part of the adventure.

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