We value our relationships with grantholders. Our Trustees are involved at every stage of an application, and we always visit or meet an applicant before a grant is made.
You can review the diversity data of our staff team and Trustees on pages 11 and 45 respectively of our latest Annual Report and Accounts document, available here. We do not have targets relating to the diversity of our staff team and Trustees, but you can read about our approach to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in our DEI Policy and our Recruitment Policy.
Sufina Ahmad MBE
Sufina became Director in January 2020. She works closely with Trustees, the team and stakeholders, including grant-holders, to ensure all aspects of the Foundation’s strategy, governance and grantmaking work are delivered effectively. In 2022, Sufina finished a two-year Executive MBA programme, with a specialism in Strategic Leadership, at Warwick Business School.
Before joining the Foundation, Sufina worked in corporate strategy and performance at the City of London Corporation. She has also worked for the National Lottery Community Fund and City Bridge Foundation in grantmaking, strategy and policy roles. Sufina started her career in service delivery and business development roles for charities working with adults with learning disabilities and older people.
Sufina is a Trustee for Just for Kids Law, We Belong, The Charterhouse and the Association of Charitable Foundations. Sufina is an honorary Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Fundraising, having chaired their Expert Panel on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. She is also an RSA fellow. Sufina was awarded an MBE for charitable services in 2020.
Head of Research and Impact
Ciorsdan became Head of Research and Impact in January 2023. She works closely with the Director, the team and the Board to drive forward the delivery of the Foundation’s strategy for 2018-23. This includes supporting the Foundation to increase its impact by analysing and sharing evidence from its work to inform and shape existing and future grant programmes, investing activities and collaborations.
Before joining the Foundation, Ciorsdan worked for the Foundation for International Law for the Environment (FILE) as Grants Manager on the Finance, Investment and Trade portfolio. Prior to this she was Head of Charitable Partnerships and Strategy at The Goldsmiths’ Company, where she led on funding strategy and collaborations. She started her career working as a teaching assistant in Japan for three years. Ciorsdan also holds an MSc in Grantmaking, Philanthropy and Social Investment from Bayes Business School.
Ciorsdan is a Trustee of Alpha Grove Community Centre in the Isle of Dogs, is on the Fundraising Board of Missing People and is organiser and co-founder of the Grant Givers’ Movement. She is an RSA fellow.
Senior Grants Manager
Kate became Senior Grants Manager in December 2022. She manages the Foundation’s Grants Team and is responsible for grantmaking operations and advising on grantmaking related policy.
Before joining the Foundation, Kate worked as a Grants Manager at Paul Hamlyn Foundation, focusing on supporting organisations working with young people. She has been involved with the voluntary sector since she was a teenager, when she lived in supported accommodation. In her early career she delivered frontline work with children and young people in schools, colleges and non-formal settings. She went on to manage major national projects at UK Youth and The Foyer Federation. She also worked as Development Manager at The Foyer Federation, with a focus on Advantaged Thinking initiatives.
Kate has a BA in English and Comparative Literary Studies from the University of Warwick, is a Prince2 qualified practitioner, and in 2022 completed a Diploma in Voluntary Sector Management at Bayes Business School. She is currently a trustee at the National Association for People Abused in Childhood and has previously volunteered on the Grant Funders Network and on the Lived Experience Movement.
Jo became Grants Manager in November 2022, after over a decade in change making organisations. Jo works remotely for us from Yorkshire. She is responsible for our grants database and provides grant management support to our portfolio of live grant-holders. She also works with the Grants Team on application assessment and ensuring our grantmaking processes are being delivered to the best possible standards.
Previously Jo worked for Women's Aid - the national federation working to end domestic abuse against women and children. Her work involved the development of good value services, the distribution of in-kind donations, and grant allocation to over 160 local refuges and domestic abuse services. Working with the UK's rail industry, she developed the Rail to Refuge scheme; which provides survivors of domestic abuse free travel to a refuge.
Jo started her career within the Buying Team of Lush Cosmetics where she was responsible for the development of ethical supply chains, and grant giving to groups promoting sustainable farming and social justice. She managed the Lush Spring Prize, an annual award recognising social and environmental regeneration.
Stephanie became Grants Officer in November 2022 and works remotely for us from Yorkshire. She is responsible for providing administrative and organisational support for the day-to-day operations of the Grants Team. This support includes responding to initial enquiries by email and phone, assisting with the first and second stages of the application process, and working with the Grants Manager and Senior Grants Manager to support the Grants Team to fulfil their duties. Her role also involves managing a small portfolio of grants and participating in special projects.
Raised in the Pacific Northwest, Stephanie moved to the UK to complete a Masters in Social Work. After completing her studies, she began her career in the voluntary sector as a service manager for a charity working with older people. She brings prior grantmaking experience from her time as a Funding Officer at The National Lottery Community Fund.
Finance and Operations Manager
Mark became Finance and Operations Manager in August 2023. He is responsible for overseeing and ensuring the efficient management of the Foundations finances, investments, resources and the office. He also supports with the design and implementation of the Foundation’s Investment Policy.
Mark is a qualified accountant (FCCA) who has previously spent over 20 years in the Banking and Financial Services Sector in various roles and has been involved in the delivery of a-number of internal finance and IT programmes.
He is a Trustee of the Abbeyfield Billericay Society who provide assisted living for the over 55s.
Executive Assistant (Mat Leave Cover)
Bernie became Executive Assistant in November 2023, and is providing maternity leave cover for Lauren Williamson. Bernie is responsible for overseeing and supporting the administration and governance functions of the organisation, which includes the executive support to the Foundation’s Director and to the Board. She will also support the wider team with day-to-day administrative tasks, including the running of our office and fulfilling our governance duties.
Before joining the Foundation, Bernie had a long career in business support and administration during which she worked as part of a small team in a UK government body in Brussels. She then undertook an EA role for a vice president in a multinational company. The latter part of her career has been spent working for the NHS, in business management teams and providing executive support to senior management. Working for the NHS, particularly during the Covid emergency, showed that Bernie works well outside of her comfort zone. As a life-long learner she looks forward to learning about the Foundation and its work until Lauren’s return in late 2024.
Executive Assistant (Currently on Mat Leave)
Lauren became Executive Assistant in October 2022, and is responsible for overseeing and supporting the administration and governance functions of the organisation, which includes executive support to the Foundation’s Director and to the Board, and supporting the wider team with day-to-day administrative tasks, including the running of our office, and fulfilling our governance duties.
Before joining the Foundation, Lauren was working on a fixed-term contract with the Department for Work and Pensions as a work coach. She has an extensive background working as a Personal Assistant and Office Manager, including her time with us a few years ago as Office Manager and PA. She first started her career at the disability charity Livability as a governance assistant and then progressed to work across multiple sectors in key administrative functions – including a short-term stint as cabin crew for Emirates airlines!
Peter Kyle CBE
Peter was appointed to the Trustee Board in March 2014, following a career in the arts and cultural sector spanning theatre, dance, arts management and education.
His former roles include Chair of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Chair and Pro Chancellor of the University of Westminster, Chair of the Magic Circle Foundation, Director-General of The English Speaking Union, Chief Executive of The Scottish Ballet, Chair of the Centre for Contemporary Arts, Dean of the Arts Educational Schools and Chief Executive of Shakespeare’s Globe.
Peter is currently Trustee of Noel Coward Foundation, Governor of English National Ballet School, Honorary President of Tavaziva Dance Company, and a Member of Council of Shakespeare’s Globe. He holds an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Westminster and is an Honorary Fellow of South Bank University. He received an OBE for services to drama in the 2011 New Year's Honours, and a CBE for services to cultural heritage in the 2023 New Year's Honours.
Geraldine was appointed to the Trustee Board in July 2016. Geraldine’s career has been in frontline community work, including as Chief Executive of Community Links, a social action charity working alongside local people to tackle inequality in east London. She also founded a social enterprise, GAP Research, which supported residents in highly diverse communities to undertake their own research and to work with public agencies to design effective solutions to long standing problems.
Bringing that experience into the funding sector, Geraldine is now the Director of Collaboration at London Funders, and the Co-ordinator of the Trust for London's Citizenship and Integration Initiative.
Keith was appointed to the Trustee Board in January 2018. He is a qualified accountant who has spent most of his career in investment management for large institutions. This has involved roles with organisations in the public, private and charitable sectors, including Investment Strategist with the BP Pension Fund and Chief Investment Officer with the Railways Industry Pension Schemes.
Keith is also a trustee of the Dunhill Medical Trust.
Tufyal Choudhury was appointed to the Trustee Board in May 2018. He is an Associate Professor of Law at Durham University; a Senior Research Fellow on National Security and the Rule of Law at the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law and Society, and a fellow of the German Marshall Fund Trans-Atlantic Forum on Migration and Integration. His research focuses on human rights, integration and counter terrorism law and policy. He is also a trustee of the Democratic Audit, and Director of MFest (Festival of Muslim Cultures and Ideas).
Annika Small OBE
Annika was appointed to the Trustee Board in June 2018. A social entrepreneur, she is co-founder of CAST, a charity that works to build a more resilient and responsive social sector using digital technology. Prior to CAST, Annika was CEO of Nominet Trust, which, under her leadership, invested more than £40m in early-stage ventures that deploy technology for social innovation. Previous roles include founding Generation Global, which brings together young people from different cultures to learn from one another, and CEO of Futurelab, which uses digital means to open up education to some of the most disadvantaged young people around the world.
Annika is Chair of the University of Chichester and a non-executive director of Wey Education plc. She was awarded an OBE in the 2018 New Year’s Honours for services to social innovation and digital technology.
Becca was appointed to the Trustee Board in September 2018. She brings experience of working in the charity sector in policy, campaigns and public affairs. In her spare time, she is co-director of the award-winning IC Change campaign, which aims to end violence against women. She has a strong interest in enabling people with lived-experience to participate in and lead social change, developed through her employment, academic interests and personal experience as a disabled woman. Becca’s work has been recognised through the Gender Campaigner of the Year award from Sheila McKechnie Foundation, acknowledgment by President Obama and inclusion on the University of London’s 150 ‘Leading Women’ list.
Jonny was appointed to the Trustee Board in March 2021. He is currently WCMC Chief Executive Officer at the UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), and chair elect of the Cambridge Conservation Initiative, a collaboration between the University of Cambridge and nine leading internationally focused nature conservation organisations.
Since 2012, Jonny has served as an elected Council member for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), where he also chaired the Council’s policy and programme committee for four years. In addition, Jonny is non-executive director of Corrour Estate, a large upland estate in Scotland; chair of the Ecological Advisory Board of Ardtornish Estate, and trustee of the Postcode Trusts, which disburse funds from the People’s Postcode Lottery.
Jonny holds a BA (Hons.) and an MsC (Hons.). He is an honorary fellow of the University of Edinburgh, an Ambassador for the Scottish Wildlife Trust, and an honorary fellow of Scottish Environment Link.
Lily was appointed to the Trustee Board in February 2022. She has worked across responsible investment, social and environmental action, and network building. She is currently Senior Research Associate at Jesus College, Cambridge, leading development of a 1.5°C-aligned corporate bond index. Lily was previously Head of Networks at the responsible investment charity ShareAction. Alongside leading the Charities Responsible Investment Network (of which John Ellerman Foundation is a member), she developed a sister network for the higher education sector and collaborated with the Department for Work and Pensions to launch the Occupational Pensions Stewardship Council, a £550bn community of UK pension schemes sharing knowledge and practice on investor stewardship. She is a non-executive director at Positive Money, and a Trustee at NEON.
You might also be interested in
The Foundation was set up as a generalist grantmaking trust in 1971. We continue with the broad philanthropic interests of our benefactor Sir John Ellerman, while reflecting changing times.Find out more
Our values reflect how we work. We are a responsive funder, listening and responding to what applicants judge is important.Find out more
John Ellerman Foundation was set up by John Reeves Ellerman, 2nd Baronet (Bt.) in 1971Find out more
We aim to invest and manage our funds in a way that balances the desire to maintain the financial capacity for grantmaking over the long-term, with direct support for our aims through our investment activities.Find out more