A personal tribute to Olga Alexeeva

Olga Alexeeva

Olga Alexeeva

I know that countless others in the whole world of philanthropy – and here I do mean the whole world because Olga’s work took her to every region – will be as devastated as I am to hear of her sudden and tragic death. Someone to whom I just told the news responded in a way I’m sure will be typical: ‘I was so looking forward to working with her, she is an absolute giant in her field.’ I hope that many of you will leave messages about Olga.

For me, this is a huge personal and professional loss. I have worked with Olga in a variety of ways since the mid 1990s, and over time she became a close and valued friend as well as a colleague. There is really no one else like her.

I first met Olga in 1996, when I went to Moscow to work on a book to be published by CAF on The Non-profit Sector in Russia. She was then director of CAF Russia. Before that she worked briefly as a journalist but she and I always agreed that she was always a journalist at heart. For me as editor of Alliance, it meant that she met deadlines unfailingly and she wrote the most wonderfully expressive and idiomatic prose in not quite standard English.

Olga became a member of the Alliance editorial board in March 1999. Since then she has been part of all our discussions, providing her own sometimes unexpected perspective on every issue. She has written numerous articles for the magazine, carried out interviews for us, and acted several times as guest editor, most recently in September 2010. She was my way of getting in touch with leading philanthropists in many countries. She will leave a yawning gap.

In the meantime her ‘day job’ was as director of CAF Russia until 2005, when she came to the UK to take up the role of head of CAF Global Trustees. It was in this role that her work with philanthropists in emerging market countries really took off, particularly in Brazil and Russia; she also started the Foundation School.

This led directly to her decision to leave CAF and set up her own charity focused on the development of private giving in emerging market countries. In July 2010, Philanthropy Bridge Foundation was founded, and I was privileged to be invited to become a trustee, and then chair. Supporting Olga in her new venture was an exciting role which I was delighted to take on. She was a visionary with an unmatched understanding of the potential and challenges for philanthropy in emerging markets. Talking through her plans was always interesting and fun. Picking up the pieces now that she has gone is indescribably sad for all of us.

Finally, I offer my most heartfelt condolences to Olga’s family, and particularly to her son Nikita.

Please leave your own messages and tributes to Olga below.

Caroline Hartnell


Memorial fund

Please support a memorial fund for Olga Alexeeva to further her work of developing philanthropy in emerging markets. You can donate online using paypal or a credit/debit card.

A meeting was held in London in late January to decide how best to use the fund. Follow the links below to read the outcomes:

Report on Building Bridges meeting in London, 23-24 January 2012

Philanthropic infrastructure in emerging markets

Philanthropy Bridge Foundation – concepts, ideas and projects

109 Responses to A personal tribute to Olga Alexeeva

  1. I have only just had the privilege of getting to know Olga and in our brief but in depth meetings, where emerging market philanthropy as been our mutual interest, I have been overwhelmed by her energy, passion and alternative take on the world. I had another one of our wonderful meetings late Tuesday afternoon, so I must have been one of the last people to meet with her. She was on great form and we laughed and dug deep into all sorts of issues. She was just dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s of her latest contribution for Alliance, as I was, and she was extremely excited about the outcome of a really inspiring interview with one of her philanthropists.

    We were looking forward to collaborating and I personally was looking forward to learning from one of the most inspiring women I think I have ever met.

    • I heard the news last week and a week later when i think of the loss i still get shivers down my spine. It was very recent that i first met Olga and a couple of times soon after. Her energy and passion to do something for those who didn’t have enough was incredible! She was so helpful and driven to achieve what she had set out to. May her soul rest in peace and my heart goes out to her mum and son! neelam

  2. John Low, Chief Executive of the Charities Aid Foundation says:

    “Words are simply inadequate at a time like this. Olga was an extraordinarily passionate and compassionate woman. She was one of the leading lights in the global philanthropy community and will be missed by many, many people around the world. CAF is privileged to have counted her as one of our own. She was a highly committed and respected colleague and friend to many.

    “Our sincere condolences to Olga’s family – we think particularly of her son Nikita and extend our deepest sympathies.”

  3. Brian Frederick, President/CEO, Community Foundation of Lorain County says:

    In Sedona Arizona at the conclusion of the first phase of the Transatlantic Community Foundation Network and late in the evening, Olga shared a traditional Russian folk song and dance to the delight of her friends and colleagues. In so many ways, Olga has helped us better understand that philanthropy is essentially an interconnection of human compassion that, at its best, weaves through and between beliefs, culture, politics, economies and the human condition. She will be sorely missed by many. In my head I will remember Olga’s words of wisdom. In my heart I will remember her gift of song and dance.

  4. Andrew Jack says:

    This is a tragic loss. Olga was a dear friend, an extraordinarily insightful thinker and had an amazing enthusiasm and passion to spread philanthropy in the emerging markets. We will miss her deeply.

  5. Bea Devlin says:

    I was very privileged to work with Olga at CAF when she moved to London. We travelled together, cried, argued and laughed together. Never at a loss for words Olga’s brilliance shone countless times – whether in a conference room of hundreds of people, a well timed article or an exchange with friends, colleagues or clients – she challenged us to think and act differently.

    I will miss her energy, compassion and creativity, her vision and her courage. I thank her for challenging me and for the work and poetry we shared. My heart goes out to Olga’s son and family, to all of us who are struggling to come to terms with losing her.

  6. Sara Llewellin says:

    I am terribly shocked and sad. Olga was a remarkable woman with insights and ethics most of the rest of us only aspire to. Her contribution, and this is true of very few people, really was unique. Recently Olga asked me (and one of our trustees, Anna Southall) to provide a case study for Foundation week on the Barrow Cadbury Trust – social justice philanthropy through time. It was a great privilege to take part and it was obvious she was helping shape some of the thinking and giving of some emerging big givers. She was really an alchemist and I will miss her and the lost opportunity of getting to know each other better.

  7. Mandy Pursey, Charities Aid Foundation says:

    I am still in shock. Like so many others I feel lucky to have known Olga. I loved to hear her stories about life in Russia. She was driven, passionate and 100% genuine. I will remember her as a remarkable person who showed how much can be achieved if you put your heart and soul into it.

  8. I met Olga at a GIFE conference in Brazil. We had a lively conversation at the roof top of the Forte Santo Antonio with caipirinhas and laughter. I thought it was great that she set out on her own and created Philanthropy Bridge Foundation. Now, I am speechless.

  9. Natalia Masolikova, ex-director of Our Talent Foundation, Russia says:

    Today I had a personal tragedy. I have lost very much close person. Though i met Olga personally only two times in my life. . But It was a great privilege. For me it is an idol in the world where for a long time there are no authorities… .I understand now just one – we must continue….Olga should live further in our light acts. Keep god of her son….

  10. Charles Keidan says:

    I am so sad to hear the news of Olga’s death. I valued her great integrity and her incisive views about philanthropy and what was happening in Russia. I feel privileged to have to have shared a flight back from this years EFC and recall our animated discussions about the conference, foundations, advisors and the changing times for philanthropy. She seemed to be relishing her new challenge and I’m just sorry that these have been cut short.

  11. Karla Simon says:

    My husband, Lee Irish, and I met Olga in the mid-1990′s, shortly after we founded ICNL, and we worked with her on projects in Russia and other parts of the world. It has been wonderful to keep in touch with her through the Alliance Editorial Board. Olga was a remarkable person who always maintained a wonderful sense of humor about life, and she was insightful and passionate about her work. Lee and I are both shocked to hear about her untimely death. Olga will be sorely missed.

  12. Lawrance Titterton says:

    I was privileged to meet and know Olga at CAF in London and it was so clear from our first meeting that she was a special lady of great intellect and compassion who saw the world not as others saw it, but perhaps in the way that it should be seen. Her clarity of thought and vision was an inspiration to me and to so many others and we will all be poorer for her passing.

  13. I’m shocked to read this very sad news. I met Olga in the 1990s when she came to the U.S. on an internship to learn more about the nonprofit world, and she spent about a week at the Chronicle of Philanthropy. She was curious about everything, intense, engaging, and a bit baffled by U.S. customs. She told me, for example, that she found it hard to understand why Americans smiled all the time when meeting strangers like herself, and she told me her cheeks hurt from trying to respond in kind. It was Olga who gave me the idea to travel to Russia to write about the charitable groups that were emerging there after the fall of communism, and she served as my tireless guide, introducing me to numerous Russian groups, lining up translators, and accompanying me on many of my visits, which numbered three to five every day of the three-week trip. We traveled overnight by train to visit new organizations far from Moscow, and my eyes were opened to the vast beauty and natural resources of the country that she so fiercely loved. I visited the flat where Olga then lived in Moscow with her parents and son, Nikita, who was then still a toddler, and they treated me to a Russian feast. Everywhere we went, Olga’s friends and colleagues welcomed me with open arms, food, drink, and many toasts. It’s a trip I’ll never forget….

  14. Marcos Kisil says:

    I met Olga early in the 90s when she was working hard to bring Philanthropy as a concept and practice in Russia, at that moment I was doing a similar job, through my work at W.K.Kellogg Foundation, to reconstruct civil society in countries where military dictatorship put a lot of pressure, with violence, to forbidden citizen participation in social and political affairs. It was the beginning of a friendship that became a brotherhood.

    As many I am very sad with news. She brought to our field some unique values that made her a real reference for all of us. She was a real promoter of global philanthropy. No one was more informed, more articulated, more strategic in thinking about it. She was a real change maker. She was always challenging the status quo. She was always looking for the transformation of the society. Not in a theory of change, but based on practices of changes. She was a real speaker and a passionate activist for the cause. She could expend hours in reflecting about a topic and setting frameworks to understand a problem, and find alternatives for action.

    I put my prayers to her soul, and to her son Nikita.

    She was a wonderful friend that I lost.

  15. Lourdes Sanz says:

    I met Olga through a WINGS exchange in 2003. She visited Mexico and I had the chance to take her, along with Maria Chertok and Vadim Samadorov, to visit several community foundations and tell her about Cemefi´s work in Mexico. Later on Jorge Villalobos and I visited Russia. I had the opportunity to visit Olga and learn a lot about her important work as head of CAF Russia. She organized an extense visit for us and even helped us with some “tourist” arrangements. I recall gladly a wonderful dinner she took us to, in a Georgia food restaurant. Afterwards she visited Mexico a couple of times and I had the opportunity to keep on sharing learnings and experiences with her. She was certainly a wise and extraordinary professional woman. I remember her warmth and joy, and the wonderful moments we shared, not only professionally but as friends. Deepest condolences to her family, especially Nikita.

  16. This is a tragic loss. Like so many others I feel lucky to have known Olga. Olga was an extraordinarily compassionate woman. We were looking forward to collaborating. For me, this is a huge personal and professional loss. Olga will be sorely missed. Keep god of her son.

  17. It was a privilege to work with Olga. She challenged and inspired us all at once!

    My memories of Olga are many. We had the most interesting conversations about the state of philanthropy and civil society in the developing world – a world she was deeply committed to! And beyond philanthropy as Russians and Indians often do… we talked politics and letters. I still remember my first visit to Russia and Olga’s pride while sharing her world with us and so many insightful comments.

    The philanthropy space has lost a leader undoubtedly, but to many of us who worked with Olga – we have lost a warm, thoughtful, compassionate friend and a candid one.

    Olga’s life was devoted to building a better world and we her friends and colleagues will continue with that mission which was so dear to her.

    “We shall find peace. We shall hear angels, we shall see the sky sparkling with diamonds.” Anton Chekov

    My heartfelt condolences to her family, especially her son and mother…and her many colleagues at The Philanthropy Bridge Foundation, CAF Russia and around the world.

  18. Barry Smith says:

    Having just arrived back to South Africa from Canada, after a family bereavement, I received the shattering news of Olga’s death. It is hard to believe that a friend so full of life can be taken from us so suddenly. Olga was a lovely, compassionate friend, a brilliant innovator, and towering leader for global philanthropy and social justice. I have had the privilege to be a small part of the Philanthropy Bridge Foundation, which she set up with typical vision and energy to harness the potential of philanthropy in emerging economies like Russia, Brazil, China, India and South Africa. Where others looked sceptically at the task of bringing new wealth in these countries into play for social good, Olga saw only thrilling possibility. With her own great humanity, she took people as they were and joyed in walking with them on a journey of giving. Without pomp or pretense, she created a bridge to new ways of thinking and acting for the sheer love of humanity.

    Last week, she took time out to comfort me on the loss of a parent. ‘Derzhis,’ she wrote, ‘as we say in Russia in such situations – it means keep your spirit strong.’ My condolences to Olga’s son, family and loved ones. May you keep your spirits strong, in the midst of your loss, when you remember the great spirit that was Olga. She will be missed around the world.

  19. Abigail Hiscock says:

    Olga was a priviledge to have worked with and an inspiration to me and to many. I hope that her work will live on and my condolences to her friends and family, especially her son.

  20. Sujit Peris says:

    It is with great shock and sadness that I read this news. I was in contact with Olga just last week – and she was typically encouraging of me to look at new ways we could promote philanthropy in relation to the crisis in East Africa. Having heard so many great things about her, I first met Olga in 2009. I realised quickly that her impressive status and reputation in the sector was well deserved. She struck me as someone always willing to listen to different views while always fighting for what she passionately believed in. While Olga’s passing is a huge loss for our sector, my thoughts are very much with her loved ones and friends.

  21. Elitsa Barakova says:

    Brilliant, passionate, a visionary – words all suit you so well, Olia! I miss you and regret all the times I could have talked and been with you and I didn’t. I cannot really find the words.

  22. Simon Cairns says:

    I wasdeeply saddened to hear of the tragic news of Ogla.I recall my earliest days as Chair of CAF going to celebrate 10 yars of CAF in Russia.The mixture of passion,compassion,determination and fun was an example to us all,repeated when she came to London.Her vision,her breadth of purpose and the pleasure of her company will remain as other parts of a remarkable lady whom we will count ourselves lucky,privileged to have known.She leaves the world a better place from her
    efforts;would that she had lived longer,as she knew well how much more she was capable of doing.

  23. Jenny Hodgson says:

    Olga was a friend, a colleague and an inspiration. For two years in the late 1990s, we shared an office at CAF Russia. I remember the glint in Olga’s eye as she would burst into the office, swing her bag onto her desk and grin, having clinched her latest deal; her infectious giggle; her extraordinary knowledge of Russian military songs and her deep commitment to issues of justice and freedom.
    It breaks my heart to think that the light that was Olga has gone out: she still had so much more to do and she was so excited to be moving forward with her new baby, the Philanthropy Bridge Foundation. I have lost a friend, and the world will surely be a poorer place without her.

  24. Vik Anderson says:

    Olga – I can’t believe it.. What to say that hasn’t already been said.. work with Olga took me to Moscow and award making meetings and vodka bars – Sao Paulo due diligence and meat Restaurants – Thailand panel presentations and long lunches – London client meetings, reports and more meat restaurants – Kiev philanthropy and a restaurant linked to a film about a rabbit and last but by no means least West Malling and heads of meetings and a natural suspicion about the sandwiches… Fantastically .. Deeply passionate about her work.. for that alone you will be deeply missed.. Very very much

  25. Cheryl Crosbie says:

    Words just cannot describe how I and many friends are feeling now. It is such a huge loss to everyone. Olga was passionate, shared her wisdom and had a massive influence in the philanthropy world. My sincere condolences to Nikita and her family.

  26. I can’t believe this shocking news. Olga seemed in such fine form when I bumped into her last. She was a great source of insight and challenge, and of constant encouragement, to Michael Green and myself as we wrote Philanthrocapitalism. We have posted a longer tribute to her on our blog: http://www.philanthrocapitalism.net/2011/07/olga-alexeeva-a-tribute/

  27. Olga and I met just last fall, speaking on a panel together at the WINGS conference in Como, me only months into my new role at Bolder Giving. We clicked immediately and that night began plotting out how we could work together – a global circuit of workshops, building a network of young donors from emerging markets, what we could write together, who we could connect. She helped bring me to the Foundation School this spring and opened my eyes to the ways that Bolder Giving could be of service to a more global audience.

    So many things I will miss, plans made but never fulfilled, and a friendship only barely begin. Tears flow as I realize I only got to hear one Russian military song, we didn’t get the chance to tour the NYC vodka bars together, and as I explore philanthropy globally it will be without a companion I was looking to share it with. You will be missed but your inspiration will live on. Wind to thy wings…

  28. Sue Moffet says:

    I am shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of Olga, always unique, always insightful and always an inspiration. I feel privileged to have shared a passing moment with her. My heartfelt condolences to her family and friends.

  29. John Baguley says:

    My God – I only just met her and was very very impressed, we had so much to do together. Such a loss. So very sad!!!

  30. Volker Then, CSI, Heidelberg University says:

    Olga was such a wonderful companion for more than ten years – a great professional and a wonderful friend. I am very sad to learn that we will all have to live on without the insightful experience of conversations with her, without the encouraging energy with which she adressed new issues or ventures, without the warm-hearted impression of her values and friendship which she brought to any professional meeting. But I will miss even more the friend who opened my eyes and my interest in her beloved home country – Russia, who shared the humanitarian values of a true global citizen. Inspired by Olga’s leadership the colleagues at the Transatlantic Community Foundation Network meeting in Sedona Arizona sang “Frère Jacques” in ten languages! Olga, we will miss you. We will carry on your work. You have left a great legacy. I extend my deeply felt sympathy to Olga’s family and her son Nikita.

  31. From all the colleagues here at the Council on Foundations, we are in shock and dismay. Olga has been such a powerful and strong force in global philanthropy. We will miss her clear voice, her intellect and her ability to challenge us all to think differently and act differently. Our thoughts are with Olga’s family and her global philanthropic family.

  32. I was deeply saddened to learn of Olga´s death. Olga was a precious colleague and friend, always ready to share her passion and visionary leadership. Her contribution to global philanthropy will not be forgotten, but she will be dearly missed.

  33. Rayna Gavrilova says:

    What a tragic news. It is hard to believe that someone so full of energy could suddenly leave forever. Olga is leaving a huge void: the drive, the ideas, the passionate speech. Farewell, Olia!

  34. Elya Kirillova says:

    Shock and emptiness.

    Farewell, Olga and thank you.

  35. Words cannot express the sadness — the grief — at losing our dear friend and brilliant colleague Olga – the passionate voice of Russian philanthropy. A few years ago in the cafeteria at Google – at the Global Philanthropy Forum – she turned more heads than the movie stars and corporate titans. We all know why. It was because of her concisely clear, deeply thoughtful and completely compelling point-of-view – a post-socialist point-of-view, which often challenged the conventional wisdom. Sometime I wondered if she is this articulate in English, what she must be like in Russian. She crossed borders effortlessly – from Russia to England, from the public sector to the private sector, and from serious to silly – all in one short lifetime. My heartfelt condolences go out to her family and her son Nikita. Farewell dear Olga. With your inspiration, we will carry on as you would have.

  36. In Olga, global philanthropy has lost a visionary leader and is all the poorer for it. Two of my fondest memories of Olga were the creative disagreements on philanthropy solutions we usually had over a drink in London when I was there. She would almost always pursuade me me her view was right. I also remember a time when cash to pay CAF Russia’s operating expenses was hand delivered to Moscow in a suitcase as no barrier was going to detract from her vision of how Russian civil society should be. This was at a time when transfering funds to russia was immensely difficult. I will miss her ideas, spirit, and terrible jokes. She brought immense dedication to helping build civil society in Russia and was making real headway in building new philanthropy in emergin markets. As a true force of nature I extend my condolences to her son and family at this difficult time.

  37. Marcia Woods says:

    Olga has a very special place in my heart and within IDIS. Her contribution to our sector globally is enormous, as it has been to Brazil as well: from the first foundation addressing dyslexia in the country to creation of the Foundation School. She touched us at IDIS in a very special way: with her knowledge, beliefs, shared values and happiness.

    Working with her has been an honor, and a master class! She was also a friend. And a loyal one.
    She taught me how to say Priviet, but not goodbye. The work will not be the same, she will be missed. I’m very sorry for our loss, and my prayers are with her family, friends and with Nikita.

  38. Marianna Török says:

    I can hardly believe the loss of this wonderful person, an inspiring colleague, a dear support. I am devastated to think about the family, the incredible loss.

  39. Nikolaus Turner says:

    Olga is dead –

    what a shock and what a great loss far beyond her family and friends – for philantrophy as such and the entire community ‘building’ foundation movement around the globe!!

    Just learnt about the sudden death of Olga by a message from Barry and so many shared interests and topics, joint moments and meetings and commo believes came to my mind.

    She is, she was and she will remain one of us – within the movement and the TCFN-family worldwide. I’m greatful for all time shared, insights discussed and the ideas jointly developed and will keep her in my mind as well as in my heart as one of the most passionate collegues around.

    The global Community Foundations movement in the world owes her a lot!!
    My/Our thoughts are with her family. She will not be forgotten!!

    Nikolaus Turner and the entire Buergerstiftungen-community in Germany

  40. As these tributes testify, Olga’s impact was, nay is, global, human, personal and multi-faceted. Our every encounter was characterised by warmth, incisive thought, frankness and sheer fun. My favourite recollection of Olga is her response to a somewhat patronising question on Russian oligarchs and their philanthropic habits. Olga drew herself up to her full height and pointed out that the only difference between Russian oligarchs and those from older philanthropic traditions was timing. For all your many contributions to philanthropic thought and practice, and your friendship – thank you, Olga!

  41. Dominic Casserley, Chairman of Charities Aid Foundation says:

    Charities the world over and those dependent upon them have lost someone who championed the importance of giving. At CAF we will be forever grateful to Olga for her achievements as a driving force for philanthropy and civil society in Russia and the work she went on to do in setting up CAF Global Trustees. She leaves behind an outstanding legacy.

  42. Natalie Pinon says:

    How unfair for Olga to be taken from this world so soon, so young and with so much more, so many people and so many dreams to love and live for. Our community has lost a tremendous leader, change maker, and a unique source of inspiration, she is already missed. In her memory I can only hope that we continue the work that Olga was so passionate about, although there is no doubt that no one could ever replace her way of getting things done, her wit and great humour (her laugh!), her determination and courage… I am so grateful for the time I shared with Olga and my thoughts and prayers are with Olga’s loved ones at every moment.

  43. Shannon Lawder says:

    I had the good fortune to meet Olga more than 15 years ago in Russia. Over the years, Olga and I spent many a meal together, discussing politics in Russia, philanthropy, and our families. Olga always had a wise Russian saying that could lighten any heavy conversation, and she challenged us all to look at our work in new and different ways. We always knew we were in for a treat when Olga would raise her hand during a conference session. I learned so much from her and loved her rich and colorful stories. She was truly larger than life. Olga’s death is a huge loss to the field of philanthropy. Olga was a dynamic, creative, brilliant thinker, a leader, and an inspiration. Most of all, she was a valued and trusted friend who will be greatly missed. Do svidaniya, Olya!

  44. Sandrine Villedieu says:

    It is so sad to hear the news. Olga will remain for me a wonderful and inspirational introduction to the world of philanthropy. She touched so many people and her legacy is huge, thank you for that. My thoughts are with Nikita and her family.

  45. Olivia Landolt says:

    Extremely saddened by this news and my thoughts and condolences are with her family.

    With passion, presence, and tireless conviction she was a true leader in her field. She will be greatly missed and I will cherish the memories and moments I was privileged enough to share with her.

  46. Keziah Cunningham says:

    A tragic tragic loss. Rarely have I come across someone held in such high regard and with such affection by so many people as Olga. I knew of her many years before I had the pleasure of meeting her. I hugely regret I didn’t have the opportunity to know her more. Olga touched so many people at a deep level. Her ambitious vision, drive, intellect, compassion, wit, genuine and unique charm made a powerful, compelling and inspiraitonal mix – a rare and precious combination. A shocking loss. My thoughts go out to her family and son.

  47. Having known and collaborated with Olga professionally for many years, I only really started to get to know the ‘real’ Olga, who is portrayed so clearly in the various tributes above, after working with her on Philanthropy Schools, first in Moscow and then in Heidelberg.

    Olga taught me a great deal. What I already knew about the ‘how’ of international philanthropy as a lawyer, she supplemented with a cross-cultural understanding which was invaluable.

    Her humour and compassion have already been mentioned and, as my contribution to this theme, I will always remember her explanation of why eyebrows might be raised if I were to ask for milk in my tea in Moscow.

    It was an absolute pleasure to work with Olga and, as so many others have already suggested, she will be a hard act to follow. But we owe it to her, to her family and to international philanthropy to make sure we try.

  48. Anatoly Zabolotny says:

    Shocking, sad and tragic news from London. Long memory to you, Olga.

  49. I have felt terribly stunned and saddened since I heard of Olga’s death yesterday – it seems so wrong to be having to refer to her in the ‘past’ tense – she was so alive and over-flowing with exuberance – her passing is a tragic loss to the world. I met Olga first at the WINGS conference that took place in Sydney in 2001. She was such a forceful and energetic presence – in a milieu which at that time was quite new to me. I remember clearly that she and Barry Gaberman had breakfasts together – and from the ‘outside looking in’ it was clear that while they were engaged in passionate and like-minded conversation about philanthropy, they were also enjoying themselves tremendously. Later on Olga came to South Africa and I got to know her a little more, and then of course since I have been with CAF Southern Africa I have met her at meetings and associated social events. I grew to enjoy not only Olga’s undoubted expertise and creativity but also her humour and determindly irreverent approach to anything approaching bureaucracy, or what she viewed as unnecessary formalities. This year we had been talking with Olga about bringing her to South Africa to help us inspire local HNW individuals to become philanthropists. Although that can no longer happen in the way that we had intended, the legacy of work and practice created by Olga is something that we can all take forward – there is no better way to honour her life and achievements.

  50. David Bonbright says:

    Olga was one of those very rare people who carried great treasure quietly. One knew that there was treasure there, and that you had but to ask for it to be revealed and shared. Now I wish that I had asked to see it more often. And I am all the more grateful for the times that I did, which were always — absolutely always — rewarding and fun.

  51. Bina Rani says:

    I first met Olga when we conducted a workshop in Geneva about 12 years ago and we spent many fun hours afterwards sampling the local cuisine and drink whilst discussing our shared dream of setting up our own independent organisations to further the cause of philanthropy. We promised to keep in touch and partner with each other and we did. Whilst we always met to discuss work, it never seemed like work as Olga never took herself seriously and the famous mischievous twinkle in Olga’s eyes was never far away even while discussing the most serious of topics. I almost cancelled my meeting with her last week as i was hard pressed for time but i am so glad i managed to make it and we even managed to make the time to discuss an old Russian folk story called ‘The Old Genie Hottabych’ where the protagonists travel to India and she told me one of her favourite phrases from the book was ‘hindi rusi bhai bhai’ (Indians and Russians are brothers). Olga was a true leader – led from the front but took everyone with her and i am proud to have been her friend and colleague. The world of philanthropy has lost a great inspirational figure and passionate advocate. Farewell dear friend. Deepest condolences to Nikita and her mother.

  52. Mike Packham says:

    I only knew Olga for less than a year following my start at the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF). but she left a firm imprint on me. She was so passionate on all she did, was highly inspirational and had a wealth of knowledge and compassion. They say ‘the best die young’ and this is certainly true in respect of Olga. The world of philanthropy is a poorer place with her tragic passing. My thoughts go out to her family and especially her son. A very sad day indeed. Rest in peace Olga.

  53. Vasylyna Dybaylo says:

    It is really hard to believe… such a lost for the philanthropic world. Condolences to family and colleagues. She will be always remember via million “tones of good” she made to people around the world.

  54. Jane Banks says:

    Tenacity, conviction, passion and drive with an abundance of mischieviousness. We had many a fun times during CAF International Network meetings. Hard to imagine the world of Philanthropy without Olga. My sincere condolences to Olga’s family at this very sad time.

  55. Gaynor Humphreys says:

    It is hard to express my shock and sadness hearing of Olga’s death after years of work and play with her. She always made it brighter wherever she was – her insights about philanthropy and people and cultures that lit up one’s thinking, the wit, the courage, the enjoyment of life, the pleasure in friends, the generosity with ideas.
    What a legacy she leaves of influence and ideas and passion for the work to which she was so committed.
    Heartfelt condolences to her family at this sad time.

  56. Rien van Gendt says:

    For many years we met regularly in Europe through EFC, in the US through COF or during trips to Russia and even to Latin America. We were often sitting on panels together or serving on committees together. In this way Olga became a natural part of my life. I admired her sharp intellect, her great energy, her creativity and her passion. She was a wonderful and witty person to be with. She definitely will be missed by many people both her peers and the people she served in local communities. I will miss her. Farewell dear Olga
    Rien van Gendt
    Vice Chair Van Leer Group Foundation
    Chair Alliance Publishing Trust

  57. Marissa Camacho says:

    Like many of Olga’s colleagues, I was shocked and saddened at the news of her sudden death.
    I first met Olga in New York through the Synergos Institute around 2004. We had an animated conversation about community foundations and I appreciated her generous sharing of her experiences and insights in promoting and organizing community foundations in Russia. The last time I saw Olga was at the WINGSForum in Como, Italy last November 2010. It was a joy working with Olga on the forum because she not only had great ideas but she was so easy to deal with. I will miss you, dear friend.
    My sincere condolences to Olga’s family.

  58. Liz Davies says:

    Although I heard the very sad news early on Thursday, it has taken until now to start to take it in. Olga – the world is a far poorer (and certainly quieter!) place without you. I’m not sure we can know the real magnitude of the impact of your work, even in such a cruelly short life. You leave us an inspirational legacy.

  59. The news of Olga’s passing was deeply shocking. Over the years, Olga was a valued Roundtable panelist, conference speaker and most recently, workshop leader for “How not to get lost in translation”. Olga’s depth and breadth of knowledge regarding philanthropists and philanthropy was incredible as was her complete willingness to share. Olga was fun to work with, a great collaborator and compassionate. We need to carry on her work, adn constantly question our assumptions. Philanthropy does not exist without the philanthropist. My sincere condolances for what no doubt will be a deeply distressing time for her family, especially her son Nikkita, and her closest friends.

  60. Sue Rogers says:

    I first met Olga in 2005 at my interview for a job with CAF Global Trustees; the interview should have been a sign of things to come as Olga ate her lunch as we talked! I am sure on my first day at CAF Olga said that we should always speak English in the office, but I think that lasted about 5 minutes and from then on we always had the advantage of being able to share gossip in Russian without anyone else understanding! The next five years brought many challenges as we worked together in CAF GT and times were never dull with Olga around. Sometime later we became a team of 3 and were relocated to the far corner of the office – perhaps due to the volume emanating from our lively discussions, debates, laughter and arguments. Olga was perhaps unorthodox in her approach and she certainly made a big impression wherever she went and when referring to potential donors she preferred to talk about billions rather than millions! There is no doubt that Olga’s contribution to the world of philanthropy will be long-remembered and I hope the Foundation School, of which she was so proud, will continue to grow. Whilst I was aware Olga was having some health problems I am shocked and saddened by her untimely death. I hope that Nikita, whom she fought so hard to protect, will get through this difficult time with the help of family and friends. My sincere condolences go to Nikita and Olga’s family. Spi spokoino Olga

  61. Dorothy Reynolds says:

    Life just is not fair. Olga had so much to offer and has been a stalwart supporter of philanthropy. I first met her in Moscow in 1998 when she was with CAF Russia and I had traveled to Togliati to consult with the community foundation. Our paths continued to cross over the years and I valued her friendship and appreciated both her wit and her brains.
    The world is a sadder place now.

  62. Leticia Ruiz-Capillas says:

    Word of Olga’s passing has come as a terrible shock, and I speak on behalf of all my colleagues at the European Foundation Centre (EFC) when I say that we have been truly saddened and humbled by this awful news. Less than two months ago, Olga was, once again, a delegate at our Annual General Assembly and Conference in Portugal, and as always was a lively, animated, and provocative contributor. It is difficult to imagine that someone so recently full of life is no longer with us.

    Personally, I had the great pleasure of working with Olga through the EFC (mainly the Grantmakers East Forum) for over 12 years as well as through WINGS. I am sure that her absence will be felt deeply in all that she was involved in. Our thoughts and sincerest condolences are with her son, family, friends and colleagues spread around the globe.

  63. Doug Rutzen says:

    We have lost a thoughtful, visionary leader. Olga touched so many through her intellect, her dynamism, and her engaging personality.

    Olga has done so much for so many. I remember our work together at the Salzburg Seminar and, most recently, in China. She had a wonderful way of weaving together keen analysis and personal examples, which made her a powerful communicator.

    My thoughts go out to Olga’s family and friends during this difficult time.

    Olga will be missed, but her contributions will endure.

  64. I can only endorse these moving tributes to Olga from so many friends and colleagues. I feel equally dismayed by her loss. There is no-one else like Olga – her combination of talents and energies was unique. After her video workshop at TCFN in Vancouver I was so looking forward to reconnecting with her – but it was not to be. May she be at peace, and may her family draw some comfort from this outpouring of affection and respect from so many people around the world. It is a fitting testimony to her gifts.

  65. Jenny Byers says:

    I feel deeply privileged to have worked with Olga at CAF. As others have said she was passionate, creative and incredibly determined to push the boundaries of Philanthropy for the good of humanity. She was not frightened to think big, or to push others to think big and as a result her achievements were significant – CAF Russia, CAF Global Trustees, The Philanthropy Bridge Foundation and so much more. My meetings with her were always interesting and challenging. She would say Jenny I have a great idea, I have written it up and I would like your thoughts on it. Then with a wink and a grin she would say slowly, slowly, we don’t want to give to much away to soon if we are to succeed. Such people need a very special environment, and commited supporters with vision, to allow them to bring about positive change and I am glad Olga enjoyed this during her career at CAF and after.

    Above all Olga was a beloved daughter and mother and I am truly sorry for the loss her passing will be to her family, her friends and colleagues.

  66. Natalie Tucker says:

    I am fortunate and privileged to have worked with Olga over the past year and a half- as you can imagine, there was never a dull moment. I still can’t believe she is gone. The many things Olga was involved in will not be the same without her, and it is such a terrible shame that she will not see all the things she hoped for materialise, but I’m sure that her influence and inspiration will long continue in the world of philanthropy and through the people who met her. My thoughts go out to her family, and especially Nikita.

  67. Marion Amartey Wadibia says:

    To the proudest Russian I ever met, my heart is truly saddened to learn of your passing. You have been a friend, a sister, a critic and a leader. You can not be replaced.
    Puskin would have been proud……… we all are proud of you.

  68. Andrea Van-Sittart says:

    I first met Olga around 10 years ago when she burst into the Exec Director’s office at CAF in the middle of my meeting and with all that determination and gusto who could ignore the crazy idea of the moment. Turns out over the years, as I shared pints of Guinness and just a couple of weeks ago, the tea always without milk, those crazy ideas were so often the amazing vision of a brilliant and inspirational woman. Her energy was boundless, her enthusiasm contagious and her deep cheeky laugh (with those twinkling all knowing eyes) infectious. I was so very sad to hear this news and the messages here give a tiny insight into the effect that Olga had on each of us, memorable, unforgettable. Love to Nikita who she always spoke so dearly about x

  69. Terry Odendahl says:

    Everyone at Global Greengrants Fund sends their deepest sympathies to Olga’s
    family, friends and colleagues. We had the great pleasure and privilege of
    partnering with and learning from Olga over the past year. She was a true
    luminary in the philanthropic field, and the loss of her vision, energy,
    leadership and ideas will ripple throughout the world.

    Sadly, Terry

  70. Shannon St. John says:

    I am shocked beyond belief at Olga’s passing.

    I first met Olga before her philanthropic career, when she was a journalism intern at the Raleigh (NC) News and Observer in the early 90′s and was sent to interview me in my position with the local community foundation. It has been my good fortune to have crossed paths with her frequently over the two decades since, most recently during our joint wait for an airplane in Lisbon in May, where we had great fun trying on hats for a polo match! What I will always remember about Olga–and what might be a fitting tribute to her for more of us to emulate–is that she never sugar-coated anything. She called it as she saw it, no matter how tough the comment or how powerful the listener. Olga, you will be sorely, sorely missed!

    My deepest condolences to Nikita and the entire family.

  71. Ruth Mantle says:

    I was shocked to read about the death of Olga and I am saddened our paths did not cross as much as I would have liked. When they did, she provided great insight and perspective on global philanthopy. Whilst researching philanthropy in Asia, she provided support and encouragement for research and analysis to inform debate. Our community has lost a unique contributer who will be greatly missed. My deepest sympathies to her family and friends.

  72. I first met Olga in the early days of Philanthropy UK and was struck then and since by her passion and commitment, underpinned by deep understanding of philanthropy and the motivations of those whom she advised. Since then she had become both a colleague and a friend. The combination of professional competence, enterprise, entrepreneurial spirit, originality, directness and humour was unique. She will be hugely missed.

  73. Oranutt Narapruet, Philanthropy Bridge Foundation says:

    Words can’t begin to describe the sadness and loss that I felt when I heard of Olga’s passing. Only now have I managed to bring myself around to reading these wonderful tributes to my former colleague and friend.
    Always smiling and supportive, Olga never left a friend to face their problems alone, never forgot a birthday, and always came back from a work trip with presents. I’ll remember her for her incessant toasts at meal times, her weakness for jigsaw puzzles (all 300-odd of them!) which she loved to do with Nikita, her passion for cooking and admirable attempts at gardening, and her unyielding generosity.
    At work, Olga was unstoppable. “You need to make sure I don’t get too carried away”, she used to tell me. But it was this amazing drive and enthusiasm that made her the inspiration that she was. I feel incredibly lucky to have known her.
    You’ll always be in our hearts, Olga.

  74. Panikos Efthimiou says:

    7 January 2011…”Happy Christmas Panikos…well we both know today is the right day of course”. I was born an Orthodox Christian too. Olga smiled that smile, we embraced and were soon into our favourite conversation, deconstructing Bolshevism and the relative importance of the roles played by Lenin and Trotsky. We teased each other mercilessly.
    Her joie de vivre and total commitment to the world of philanthropy and improving the lot of charities remained undiminished to the very end. She was a furnace of passion and ideas and had an amazing ability to make you sit up and take notice however crazy you thought the idea may be.
    She will be greatly missed by so many throughout the world. CAF was so lucky to have had her both in Russia and the UK. To all her colleagues in Moscow I share your grief and know that the whole of the CAF network will do all we can to keep her memory alive. More importantly her work must and will continue. Her legacy is incredible.
    My thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends especially her beloved son Nikita.
    26 July 2011 – I met a CAF charity client today and told him the news. “That is not just a tragedy but one of the biggest losses ever to our community”. Enough said.
    O theos na se magarissi Olga.

  75. Agnieszka Sawczuk says:

    I felt full of remorse for not to replying to Olga’s mail that she had sent me earlier this month right away as she used to reply to mines. We had plans how to – taking advantage of her remarkable knowledge of the sector and people around the world – boost private philanthropy in Poland.
    Her enthusiasm and drive, overwhelming at times, always challenged me what eventually often made me think „Well, why not? It might work, actually”. She was a great inspiration to me. I will miss her energy, creativity, empathy.

    My thoughts are with her family and Nikita in particular.

  76. Barry Knight says:

    I remember the last time I saw Olga as she worked the EFC conference in Cascais. I thought how energetic she was and how happy she seemed. She gave me a big beaming smile as we parted.

    I interviewed her on several occasions – she was on everyone’s “must interview” list for evaluations. Sometimes quirky, usually profound, and always fun, I always came away feeling I had learned a lot from her.

    She is irreplaceable, and we are all poorer for her passing.

  77. Only today, on return from vacation, I read this sad news. A terrible loss. Olga was so smart, clever, profound, with such dedication, commitment and passion. It makes one wonder why it had to be. A prayer for her and condolences to her family. I will miss her.

  78. Jennifer Astone says:

    I never got the opportunity to meet Olga but I read her columns regularly in the Alliance Magazine. She was thoughtful and path-breaking. She opened my understanding of where philanthropy should go and what it should be. She pushed the field to look beyond the obvious and go into new places, fields and relationships. For this I am grateful. I am sad I never told her what her writing meant to me. With condolences to her family, friends and community.

  79. Tanya Pein says:

    Olga was widely loved, listened to, respected and admired. All was, and is, richly deserved. She has, through the generous commitment of her time, effort and talents inspired so many, and ultimately made a difference to millions of people. Her influence – direct and indirect – survives her and will continue her positive impact for generations to come.

    I was a member of her expert network at Philanthropy Bridge Foundation, and she took us through her plans for the first three years. There was no outline project plan, as could reasonably be expected for a start-up. Instead, there was a dazzling long list of events on several continents, with many already preliminarily agreed. She had so many towering achievements behind her, but continued to create more. She spoke of her strategy of collaborating with local organisations and acting as a catalyst to support their long term development. I had brought a bottle of champagne and we toasted her and her enterprise. If I had known better, it would have been vodka.

    Olga was a delight to be with. Her warmth and sensitivity was deep and strong. Her thinking was incisive and challenging, and always underpinned by her humanitarian approach. She was a jewel and I treasured the time spent with her. I cherish the memories and continue to be inspired by her. She was truly a bridge between people and peoples.

    I wish Nikita, her mother and sister Natalya comfort from the knowledge that she adored them.

  80. James Myers says:

    What a shock and what a loss!
    I can only echo the sentiments expressed in the other tributes – and there will be many more as this sad news gets around the worldwide philanthropic community. I would also like to add my own appreciation for her friendship and support over the past 12 years or so. I will be keen to know if there may be a fund or other support for organised for Nikita.

    Rest in peace, Olga.

  81. Margaret Costigan says:

    It is with deep regret and profound sadness that I heard today of the loss of Olga.
    I also cry today for her son who was her world and for whom she did it all.
    I met Olga through CAF when I came to London from Dublin looking for assistance with a project I was putting in place.
    She gave more support to me then I could believe and I admired her so much. We met on a number of occasions then and also after she set up her dream Foundation.
    I do not want to believe that we will not meet again but maybe some day …………………….
    She was special to me and I can imagine how special she was to those who knew her better than I did and who cared and respected her so much.
    May she rest in peace.
    Margaret Costigan

  82. Edtami Mansayagan says:

    Olga was with us during the Bali gathering with funders and indigenous peoples five months ago. That was my first time to meet her. Her insights were so valuable… may I join the global community to express deep sympathy to her family and friends…

  83. Elroy Dimson says:

    I met Olga in 2007 through teaching her on the Foundation and Endowment Asset Management programme that I co-directed at London Business School. Olga was an inspiration to her peers from the philanthropic sector, and to subsequent participants on the course at LBS and (since 2009) at Cambridge University.

    As a course participant, Olga was always interested, constantly asking questions that would enable her to use classroom ideas in her professional role at Charities Aid Foundation. She was persuasive at asking me and others for help, though when the requests came for me to travel to distant parts I responded with suggestions such as Tanya Pein, with whom she worked closely. It is my loss that I did not work internationally with Olga after the LBS course ended. Still, I took pleasure in the network she augmented through her participation in my course.

    I will learn from your passion, Olga. I am glad we met.


  84. liza dresner says:

    I share everyone else’s deep shock at this awful news. I was privileged to work with Olga and Nikita when Nikita first came to the UK. Olga was not just a huge figure in the world of philanthropy but also a loving mum who fought hard for the best for her son. Our thoughts are with him.

  85. Tariq Cheema says:

    The World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists expresses its profound sadness on the sudden demise of Ms. Olga Alexeeva. Olga was a great friend and supporter of WCMP. We offer our condolences to her family, friends and philanthropic community worldwide.

  86. Our relationship with Olga has been long-standing and Olga’s profound knowledge around the topic of philanthropy as well as her warm and cooperative style have made working together a pleasure. Her committment will remain an inspiration for us.
    We, the UBS Philanthropy Services team are deeply saddened by her pre-mature death and our best wishes go to her family and especially her son.

  87. Karisia Gichuke says:

    What a loss. Olga stood out to me as being exceptionally committed and insightful, with a multitude of experience to learn from; she was generous in sharing time with me as a newcomer to the philanthropic world a few years ago. When I last saw Olga in May she was full of laughter, with energy and excitement about her new venture; she spoke with great pride of her son and my thoughts go to him, her family and friends.

  88. Filiz Bikmen says:

    A close friend of mine recently lost her father.

    A friend of ours wrote to her the following ‘I am deeply saddened for the loss felt by those he left behind, that had the opportunity to know and love him and enjoy his energy during his lifetime. Yet I am even more saddened for the loss of those who never got to know what a wonderful man he was’.

    I always knew of Olga, we exchanged warm greetings and a short chats at events. I read many of her articles, listened to her clever remarks in session panels. I admired her for the amazing work she accomplished and most of all, for her passion and dedication.

    At the EFC in May, we agreed to explore working more closely together on developing philanthropy in Turkey. I was so pleased that I would finally have the opportunity to get to know her better. Sadly, that plan could not be realized and I never had the chance to share her energy as so many of you did.

    I send my deepest condolences to family and friends of Olga…I share your pain and feel a great great loss for not having known her better.

    Your legacy will always live on Olga…. in our hearts and in our pursuit for a better world.

  89. Nicholas Fairfax says:

    I have lost a true friend and an inspiration but the world’s loss is far greater.
    With Olga’s passing, a light has gone out in the world.
    But her example and pathfinding will not be forgotten.

  90. Celia Cruz says:

    Hi Olga,

    I just want to thank you for your inspiration, patience and committement. I can still see you in front of me, in front of IDIS team, philanthropists in Brazil. I believe you will live in our hearts and you will be inside of our way of thinking philanthropy in Brazil.
    Again, Olga, thanks for your amazing work and I hope your lessons will generate more and more social impact!

  91. Elena Cook says:

    Olga’s death is something we will never accept: how can it be that it is always the best and the brightest, the kindest and most courageous that leave us first!

    I have known Olga for twenty years, I have met her many times, spoken to her for hours, worked with her, laughed with her, travelled with her. But like almost everyone I feel so acutely that I should have spent more time talking to her, sharing things with her and, especially, helping her. Because, although she was always there for other people, always the first to help, she herself often needed help. Yet she would never admit it, always laughing it away and saying that she would get through, she would manage. If only I had not let it persuade me that she was fine, that everything would be fine…

    I will remember Olga’s love of life: how she enjoyed everything she did and how she managed to see so many good and wonderful things in what most of us would brush aside and dismiss. It was the same with people she met: she would always see through the superficial right down to the core, she would always find something good and inspiring in others. She made me see things and people with different eyes, the eyes of a child always discovering new and wonderful things about the world, such a rare gift. Her love and care for Nikita were truly outstanding. Her kindness was limitless, her courage remarkable.

    How I miss her!

  92. I only met Olga once and had a most stimulating and inspiring time with her. She went out of her way to be helpful and was most insightful and pragmatic in her judgments and opinions and very keen to help. She made a lasting impression. I was so looking forward to meeting her again.

  93. Gabriela Voicu says:

    Good bye my dear friend! I shall always remember you as the embodiment of Russian people’s magic beauty… Deepest sympathy and condolences to family and friends.

  94. John R Healy says:

    News of Olga’s death came as a terrible shock. A few weeks ago, at the annual gathering of the EFC, she was her usual, irepressible self: sharing ideas for the promotion of philanthropy, telling wicked stories about mutual acquaintances, sketching out her plans for her Philanthropy Bridge Foundation. And now – gone.

    Olga was a figure of real consequence in philanthorpy. Her connections and her knowledge spanned the world. Her passion was infectious. Her determination was legendary.

    We can ill afford to lose her. But we can all admire the legacy she has left behind her.

    John R Healy
    Centre for Nonprofit Management, Trinity College Dublin and former CEO of The Atlantic Philanthropies.

  95. Nick Deychakiwsky says:

    I never met anyone quite like her. Down to earth, smart as a whip, clever, compassionate, astute observer, profound. And fun. Even if you expected that she’ll have something profound to say, it would still be delightfully surprising. Having her as a speaker or presenter was always a treat, you knew that it would be good, not just on the mark but interesting and well-delivered. Bold and courageous to the brink of confrontational sometimes, yet with a heart of gold. Fighter for social justice and individual dignity, with strong convictions. Deeply passionate about her country, her world, all of us human beings. Full of life – but sadly, not any more. Proshchai, Olga.

  96. Jo Ensor says:

    A day hasn’t gone past since Olga’s death without me thinking about her and feeling great sadness and regret that her life was taken so prematurely. My thoughts go primarily to Nikita, whom I never met, but whom she spoke about so often, with such pride and love. My regret is that Olga was on the cusp of something incredible with the Philanthropy Bridge Foundation. She had the passion, commitment and energy, the contacts and cultural understanding, the entrepreneurial spirit, vision and deep understanding of philanthropy to make it happen and to be transformational. I don’t know that I have ever met someone so unassuming and genuine who has such a powerful personal “brand”.

    I was lucky enough to sit next to Olga at CAF. She oozed conviction and passion, humour in the face of adversity and strong moral values. She hugely inspired and motivated me with her plans for CAF and latterly for PBF, she constantly amused me with her impatience for bureaucracy, she touched my heart with stories from her past. She was always there for me and in retrospect I wish I had been more proactive about being there for her too –she always laughed off any hint of a problem or personal weakness……

    My deepest sympathies go to her family, I hope you feel some solace from these tributes. Your Olga was completely unique. The world of philanthropy has lost one of its greatest pioneers and ambassadors and many of us have lost a very dear and loyal friend.

  97. Zoltan Valcsicsak says:

    Olga, I remember sitting next to you at a conference lunch table in Budapest discussing the role Russia had played in Hungary’s history. We didn’t agree on every detail, but the way you argued and tried to convince me was clever, interesting and somehow charming. You were so passionate about your country and so passionate about your work that none of us could just walk away and forgot you. I felt privileged and super excited when you recently invited me to join the team around the Philanthropy Bridge Foundation and now I feel emptiness and frustration seeing you leaving us so unexpectedly. We will never forget your witty remarks and laugh, Olga.

  98. Jo Rogers says:

    When I first heard of Olga’s death I was deeply shocked and am still finding it hard to come to terms with this terrible news. Olga and I worked alongside each other for almost 20 years in our separate but connected spheres of child welfare and philanthropy. I saw Olga a week before her death and she was full of energy and plans as ever – delighted with her new foundation. She had become a trustee of Partnership for Every Child last year and we were privileged to have the benefit of her support and advice. I miss Olga and will always remember her. My thoughts go to her family and to her son Nikita. We have posted a longer tribute on our website http://www.p4ec.ru

  99. Olga will be deeply missed. She had an incredible spirit and zest for life. I was always happy to be in her presence and learned a great deal from her during our many conversations. She was smart and passionate about the strengths and shortcomings of global philanthropy. My heartfelt and deepest sympathy to her family.

  100. Rory Tolentino says:

    Olga’s passing leaves such a void in the world of philanthropy development. She was one of the first people to open the world’s eyes to Russian philanthropy post Cold War and remained committed to it always. She had such tremendous energy and passion and wonderful insight that it is hard to think about a gathering on philanthropy without Olga. She will be dearly missed. Heartfelt condolences to her family.

  101. An amazing friend and fantastic person, kind, smart, visionary and deeply honourable. She worked with me on Estonian issues and I worked with her on Russian ones. We did a lot of good things and her work and commitment lives in several initiatives and culture that helped to bring along. In the words of an Estonian poet, Artur Alliksaar:

    There are no times that have been lived in vain.
    The meaning might not be clear now.
    There could be no more, no less,
    Life will get fair share from us all.

    There are no times that are disappearing or spoiling.
    Remains only the moment where we are now.
    Time that has come about, no longer fades,
    Even if our senses do not apprehend that and fail.

    It is not the time that matters, it is what we do with it. Olga did her best to her fullest.

  102. What a waste. We were going to do so much, make foundations more effective and effecient, work together and change the world. Olga was an inspiration, a real power house and a loving mother. I will miss you.

  103. Thank you for your advises on conflict resolution of the southern border Thailand-Malaysia. May you rest in peace.

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  106. Kuljeet Jagdev says:

    I have only just found out about Olga’s death and am devastated. I worked with Olga at CAF a few years ago and remember her with such fond memories. We worked closely on a Beslan appeal and attended a fundraising concert together, an evening in which I got to know her a lot better. Olga spoke so lovingly about her son – that’s something I remember so vividly even now. Her legacy will live on in the fantastic work she did. My thoughts are with her family, especially Nikita.

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