Board of Directors
Sabina Cournoyer, one of the founding members of Peru Opportunity Fund, was born in Peru in 1927. She is a direct descendant of Juan Gildemeister. She was raised in northern Peru on a sugar cane plantation called Casa Grande. During these formative years, she was strongly influenced by her close relationship with her father, who managed the plantation, and her mother, who was a horticulturist. Sabina developed an intense and life-long interest in the long-term effects of good agriculture management and soil conservation.
Preservation of land and natural settings has been an ongoing interest for Sabina. In recent years, she became involved with The Kestrel Trust, which focuses on land conservation and stewardship near her home in Amherst, Massachusetts. She has provided funding for protection of open land and maintenance of hiking trails. She also intends for the trust to inherit her extensive property to further its conservation goals.
Sabina is a graduate of Smith College and earned a MA in Spanish literature from the University of Massachusetts. She has written two books on the history of 19th century Peru, Gildemeister-Chronik (1991) and Konsul Juan Gildemesiter (2011), which detail the life and times of her ancestors.
Nicholas Cournoyer started his career with The Chase Manhattan Bank, later establishing its New York-based emerging markets debt trading group, before heading a similar operation in London. He founded Montpelier Investment Management in 1992 to focus on investments in emerging markets such as Latin America, Russia and Indonesia in the 1990’s and in recent years, the Middle East and China.
Nick is a founder and trustee of Montpelier Foundation in the UK, which looks for sustainable solutions to economically empower disadvantaged people, primarily in developing countries and the UK, through projects involving education and training, health, infrastructure, social justice and livelihood improvement.
Nick brings a keen financial expertise and analytic eye to Peru Opportunity Fund’s grantmaking. He is a graduate of Connecticut College with a major in history.
Sabina Shelby is a co-founder of Peru Opportunity Fund (POF), an initiative of Hampshire Foundation, Inc. She is also the President of Hampshire Foundation, Inc. – a U.S. 501(c)3 charitable organization.
Inspired by her multi-generational roots in global sugar production in Peru, Mrs. Shelby conceived of and created a family-led foundation that combines close-knit family culture with a history of proven business know-how in order to achieve long-lasting social impact. Unhindered by need to raise external funds, the foundation is able to support innovative projects with greatest potential for social influence.
At the helm of Peru Opportunity Fund, Mrs. Shelby focuses her attention on providing cutting edge information and technology to smallholder farmers to increase their productivity and improve their livelihoods.
In the past Mrs. Shelby served as President and CEO of Applied Econometrics, one of the leading providers of software and services to the hospitality industry. She started her career at First Boston in New York City. She lived and studied in Austria, London, Moscow and Peru. Sabina speaks German, Spanish and Russian.
She is a graduate of Wesleyan University and lives with her husband in Hartford, Connecticut.