Allocating Philanthropic Resources Equitably

An SIF Funder Education Program


Via Zoom Meeting

Funder education series

Join the Social Innovation Forum (SIF), for a conversation with Karla Nicholson, Executive Director of the Haymarket People’s Fund, and Damian Wilmot a founding member of the New Commonwealth Fund to learn how their funding practices intentionally dismantle the persistent barriers grassroots organizations, and specifically leaders of color face, in securing philanthropic funding. Together we will examine approaches that move funding practices from transactional activities to transforming partnerships. 


Damian Wilmot, Senior Vice President, Chief Risk and Compliance Officers, Vertex Pharmaceuticals

Mr. Wilmot is the Senior Vice President, Chief Risk and Compliance Officer at Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated. He is responsible for leading the company’s Global Compliance (the Office of Business Integrity & Ethics), Global Litigation, and EnterpriseRisk Management organizations. Before taking on his current role in 2017, Mr. Wilmot was the chief litigation counsel and also served as the company’s interim head of Compliance and interim head of Human Resources.

His previous professional experience includes serving as the chief litigation counsel for another global pharmaceutical company and as a litigation partner with Goodwin Procter LLP. Mr. Wilmot previously was an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Massachusetts and worked as a judicial law clerk on the State of Connecticut Supreme Court.

He has served on the boards and advisory committees of numerous nonprofit, civic, and for-profit organizations, including the Massachusetts Judicial Nominating Commission (by gubernatorial appointment), the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, and the Boys and Girls Club of Boston. In 2010, the Boston Business Journal recognized him as one of Boston’s outstanding business leaders under the age of 40. He has also been honored as one of Boston’s most influential people of color in healthcare and life sciences.

Mr. Wilmot is a graduate of Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, and Suffolk University Law School in Boston.

Karla Nicholson, Executive Director, Haymarket People's Fund

Karla Nicholson Headshot

Karla Nicholson is the Executive Director of Haymarket People’s Fund in Boston, Massachusetts. Haymarket is a 47-year old anti-racist and multi-cultural foundation that is committed to strengthening the movement for social justice in New England. Through grantmaking, fundraising, and capacity building Haymarket supports grassroots organizations that address the root causes of injustice. Haymarket also organizes to increase sustainable community philanthropy throughout the New England region.

Prior to entering the social justice philanthropic field, serving as the Assistant Director at the Fenway Community Development Corporation for seven years including a period asInterim Executive Director, and as a principal of Technical Knock Out, providing creative graphic design and technical organizational services.

Currently serving as a national Board member of thePeople’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, and a member of the Black Directors’ Network, the Social Justice Funders Network, the New Hampshire’s Funders Forum, Black and IndigenousResistance Fund, New England Anti Racism Organizers, and the Advisory Committee of We Will All Rise. Previously serving on the Board of Directors of Haymarket People's Fund, the Mel KingInstitute’s Steering Committee, Board of Directors of the Funding Exchange, Boston ArtsAcademy, the City of Boston’s Racial Equity Fund.

With experience and skills in community organizing, grassroots fundraising, and organizational development, strengthening and expanding Haymarket's impact to increase organizational visibility and sustainability is a priority. This vision includes deepening and expanding opportunities with allies, partners, and especially Haymarketgrantees to create an anti-racism movement for social change in communities across the New England region.