UK venture philanthropy firm Impetus hires Palamon co-founder as chairman


UK venture philanthropy firm Impetus Trust has appointed Louis Elson, managing partner and co-founder of its European mid-market private equity firm Palamon Capital Partners, as its new chairman.

Elson has been a trustee of Impetus since July last year, and will officially become Impetus chairman on 24 March. He takes on the role as Impetus aims to significantly grow its portfolio of charities and social enterprises in the next four years.

Elson co-founded Palamon in 1999 and prior to that was a London-based partner of US-headquartered private equity firm Warburg Pincus. He also has a long-standing commitment to the not-for-profit sector, acting as a trustee of Phillips Academy in Andover, US, and is a member of the development board of the UK’s The Prince’s Trust.

Elson will take over from Impetus co-founder Stephen Dawson, who has served as chairman for seven years. Dawson remains a committed supporter of Impetus, and will continue to contribute as a trustee, donor and adviser.

Elson said, “After more than two decades of active involvement in the charity world, I was attracted to Impetus because, quite simply, its venture philanthropy model works. It achieves phenomenal results in increasing the impact of the charities it supports, and does so in a way that resonates personally with my private equity background, as both work to make organisations more effective, efficient and impactful.

In the current economy the need for Impetus is greater than ever before as charities have to find solutions to the conundrum of reduced resources and increased demand. I am tremendously excited by Impetus’ future growth plans, and I look forward to working with the Impetus staff and board to help make these plans a reality,” he added.

Created in 2002, Impetus has fourteen organisations in its portfolio, including the Fairtrade Foundation, Leap Confronting Conflict, FRC Group and St Giles Trust.

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