Nominet abandons its own charitable foundation

Nominet is to walk away from its own non-profit, public-interest Nominet Trust charitable foundation, it has been announced

Austin Clark | 22nd Jan 18

Nominet is to walk away from its own non-profit, public-interest Nominet Trust charitable foundation, it has been announced.

The news broke in an email sent last week, in which Nominet CEO Russell Haworth said: “We’ve been working with Nominet Trust to think about how best to deliver public benefit. It became clear that the grant-giving, single funder model we set up in 2008 was not the most effective route to greatest impact moving forward. With that in mind, we have agreed that Nominet Trust should be free to attract other investors in order to fulfil their social tech ambitions.

“The Trust will evolve into a separate entity with different governance and funding structures, and a new name,” he continued. “Nominet will be involved as a member during the transition period.”

The foundation was set up over a decade ago by Nominet’s board to deal with excess revenue from registrations of .uk domain names.

A statement issued by the Nominet Trust points out that the organisation needs freedom to expand its grant making and investment activity by attracting more varied sources of funding, if it is to successfully deliver on its ambitious 2012 social tech strategy. That strategy was unveiled in 2017, alongside a new website.

Nominet has supported the Trust with funding of £44m over the last 10 years. They will continue their public benefit programme focusing on security, connectivity and inclusivity, as the Trust builds on its own reserves, strengthening its commitment to social tech.

“We want to reassure everyone we’re currently working with that support already committed will be unaffected,” the statement read. “We’re communicating our news at the earliest possible opportunity as these developments aim to boost the availability of grants and growth investment for social tech to transform lives.

“We’re looking forward to developing our renamed, independent charity under the strong leadership of our new Chair Bill Liao, who joined our Board back in 2014. Bill has the full support of Trustees Sebastien Lahtinen, who joined in 2015, and Beth Murray and Hannah Keartland who joined our Board last year.”