John Nickson

Special Advisor





John Nickson has worked in the public, private and not for profit sectors for fifty years and is one of Britain’s most experienced fundraising directors.  He also has experience as a donor, trustee, mentor, author on philanthropy and advisor to education, arts and development charities.

After six years working in the theatre as an actor and producer, John joined The British Council and became head of Information and Business Relations.  He joined English National Opera in as Director of Development and subsequently also became responsible for Communications.  John later became Director of Development and Director of the Royal Academy of Arts Trust, before joining Tate as Director of the Tate Foundation with responsibility for all Tate’s fundraising.  Under his leadership, Tate raised more than £250 million to expand Tate Modern and transform Tate Britain and Tate St Ives. He retired from Tate in 2011.

As an adviser and mentor, John has worked with the Clore Leadership Programme, English National Ballet, Tate, Halle Orchestra, Mansfield College at the  University of Oxford, The Van Gogh Museum and the National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam, the Foundling Museum and Greenhouse Sports amongst others. With Caroline Underwood and Philanthropy Company, John worked with the London Legacy Corporation on behalf of Boris Johnson, then Mayor of London, to assess the feasibility of raising philanthropic funding for the regeneration of the Olympic site in east London.

John has served as a trustee of several charities including Atlantic College and the international board of United World Colleges, MANGO ( management administration for non-governmental organisations), Opera Rara and the national board of UK Community Foundations.

John is a governor of the Royal College of Music, where he has endowed scholarships, and is a member of its campaign committee. He is also a trustee of Music Masters, an education charity working in disadvantaged communities with teachers and primary schools to teach entire classes of children how to play the violin or cello together.

As a campaigner for more philanthropy, John is a trustee of the Beacon Collaborative Trust and the author of two books:  Giving is Good For You and Our Common Good- if the state provides less who will provide more?  He is the co-founder of Our Common Good, a venture philanthropy charity committed to transforming the lives and prospects for those living in left behind communities.

John is an Ambassador for the Blackpool Pride of Place regeneration project.