Who We Are

Photo: Snowchange Cooperative

Our organizations are founded by the Cournoyer family

Their philanthropic work started in Peru in 2000, where part of the family comes from. Hampshire Foundation supported farmer cooperatives, agribusinesses and lending institutions to give smallholder farmers access to finance, agricultural inputs and markets. From 2013, Montpelier Foundation expanded the work to Africa and Asia to help rural communities improve their livelihoods and young people access education and jobs.

In 2020, at the start of the decisive decade for climate, the foundations started a new global strategy focused on climate change. We continue to support our existing partners in the livelihoods sector, and Hampshire Foundation continues to support local sustainability initiatives in the state of Connecticut.

Nick Cournoyer

Nick co-founded the Hampshire Foundation with Sabina, and later on founded the Montpelier Foundation in the UK with his wife Lara. He is a director of both, and chair of Montpelier. Nick steers our global work, including our livelihoods program and climate program.

He is based in London, UK.

Sabina Cournoyer de Shelby

Sabina is co-founder and President of Hampshire Foundation, Inc. in the U.S.  She leads the foundation’s environmental program in Connecticut, where she is based.

With her brother Nick, Sabina also steers the foundations’ global climate work.

Photo: Tenure Facility

Montpelier Foundation

Photo: Global Forest Watch

We back scalable solutions with strong impact potential, that aim to shift behaviours of governments, companies and people.

We fund partners who are finding pathways to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, or to help people build resilience against poverty and climate change. Some are making rapid, near-term impact, while others are tackling deep-seated problems at their roots.

Our work spans across the globe: in high- and middle-income countries, including the US and state of Connecticut; and in low-income countries, where people are the most vulnerable, yet the least responsible for climate change.

Covering core costs for critical regions and issues

Our portfolios focus on different levers of action to create accountability and improve know-how. They include shaping and enforcing strong laws and policies, addressing vested interests, transferring knowledge, and empowering people.

Our grants are intended to reach critical issues or regions, cover core costs for our partners with little or no restrictions, and put a spotlight on problems and solutions.

Our grant-making budget is about $20 million annually, with our average grant size between $200,000 and $500,000 a year per organization.

We also make investments from our endowment through a climate-lens.

Global Climate Partners

Protecting and Restoring Ecosystems

Reducing Emissions from our Energy Systems

Connecticut Climate Partners

Reducing emissions through state, municipal and grassroots action in Connecticut

Global Livelihood Partners

Supporting Rural Livelihoods in Africa and Asia

Supporting Job Prospects for Youth in Africa and Asia

Some of the ways our partners do this

Frontline Action
Technical Assistance to Governments
Data and Transparency
Legal Action
Strategic Communications
Research and Development

Photo: Snowchange Cooperative

Hampshire Foundation is supported by Montpelier Foundation’s program team based in the UK

Agathe Bourgon

Agathe joined Montpelier Foundation in 2013. She has supported the foundations’ social investments and grantees in Peru and globally. She is also on the board of Hampshire Foundation.

For our climate work, Agathe leads on grassroots action and public engagement.

Louise Busson

Louise joined our team in 2014. Louise has helped build our portfolio of partners, especially those serving disadvantaged youth in the UK and around the world, and our foundation strategy at large.

For our climate work, Louise leads on land use programming and methane reduction.

Mireya Alvarez

Mireya joined us in 2015. Mireya runs our rural livelihoods work in Africa and Asia, and has led on a number of social investments, while shaping our general direction.

Mireya’s climate work covers legal action and finance.

Ellie Lawson

Ellie is our newest team member, joining in 2022 to support the team.

She holds a BSc in Biology from the University of Nottingham and an MSc in Humanitarian Engineering with Sustainability from the University of Warwick.

We are supported by a network of advisors and collaborators

Big Bang Philanthropy

Impatience Earth

Climate Leadership Initiative (CLI)

Environmental Funders Network (EFN)


Photo: Tenure Facility

Our Roots

Who We Are

Proximity Designs

Global Climate Partners

Montpelier Foundation

Connecticut Climate Partners

Montpelier Foundation

Global Livelihood Partners