Catherine Zennström is chair and co-founder of Zennström Philanthropies, founded with her husband Niklas Zennström in 2007. Its mission is to support and engage with organisations that fight for human rights, work to stop climate change and encourage entrepreneurship to protect our natural environment and allow those who live in it to realize their full potential. It works in partnership with around twenty charities. Catherine focuses her work on the human rights portfolio fighting for the respect of human rights and dignity, mainly in Europe and Central Asia as well as promoting best practice in philanthropy.
Catherine has been active in the field of human rights since high-school where she was inspired by the work of Amnesty International and other campaigning organisations. She later worked as a London-Office volunteer at Médecins Sans Frontières and Amnesty International. She was a trustee with Refuge, a British based organisation dedicated to fighting domestic violence.
She serves as vice chair of the international Board of Directors for Human Rights Watch. She is Chair of their European and Central Asia Advisory Committee, covering both regional and issue-specific programs to help drive forward the organisation mission, to respect rights and secure justice for all. She is also a member of their Disability Rights Advisory Committee, and their Environment and Human Rights Advisory Committee.
Catherine also holds different roles as a Member or Trustee at International Human Rights Funders Group and Ariadne (the Network of European Funders for Social Change and Human Rights) working to support social change, human dignity, human rights and justice, to create societies that are inclusive, just and offer opportunities to all. She served as a trustee at The Philanthropy Workshop (formerly Institute for Philanthropy). Since then, Catherine is an enthusiastic supporter of organisations working to inspire new philanthropists to engage more actively in funding human rights issues.
She is also part member of the Beacon Collaborative network, promoting greater giving and social investing. She is a Chatham House member. Catherine serves on the Global Philanthropy Forum Advisory Council and since recently on Greenwood Place Advisory Board, philanthropy accelerator which provides advice and support to individuals, families and charitable foundations.
Before moving to London, Catherine worked the European telecom industry as a business developer. She was educated at international schools in the US, France and the UK, and holds a BA in Business Administration from the University of Humberside.