Joseph Rowntree Foundation announces new trustees

17th Feb 2021

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has brought new skills to its board with the appointment of five new trustees to help to shape the next stage of its work as a social change organisation.

Will Haire CB, Chair of Trustees, said: “We are delighted to welcome Hilary Cottam, Farah Elahi, Gillian Russell, Jo Swaffield and Kené Umeasiegbu to the group board of trustees. Soon we will start the process of developing our next strategic plan, asking ourselves anew how best can JRF direct its considerable resources to achieving a prosperous UK without poverty. Their fresh perspectives and knowledge of social campaigns, sustainability, innovative work with communities, policy and research, economics and risk management will be hugely valuable to that process.”

Group CEO Paul Kissack (who joined JRF in September 2020) commented: “Our trustees provide invaluable guidance, support and challenge to JRF’s leadership team. Looking at the breadth of experience and insight our new trustees bring I am filled with optimism about what we can achieve in the coming years.”

Dr Hilary Cottam OBE

Hilary is an internationally acclaimed social entrepreneur working with communities and governments around the world to design collaborative, affordable solutions to big social challenges. Transformation is achieved through an emphasis on human relationships supported by technology. Hilary’s current work focuses on the need for a ‘fifth social revolution’: to enable widespread flourishing in this century as work, society and our economies go through deep structural change. Hilary’s book Radical Help on the future of welfare was published to widespread acclaim in June 2018 by Little Brown UK.

Farah Elahi

Farah is the Interim Head of Community Engagement at the Greater London Authority. Whilst at the GLA, she has led on the Civil Society Strategy and City Hall’s work on supporting a thriving sector. Farah’s previous roles include Research and Policy Analyst at the Runnymede Trust, and the Family and Childcare Trust. Her research has focused on ethnic inequality in London, employment and education. Published reports include a number of local Race Equality Scorecards and policy briefings, Islamophobia: Still a challenge for us all, and Nations Divided: How to Teach the History of Partition and Ethnic Inequalities in London: Capital for All.

Gillian Russell

Gillian is a senior advisory partner at Deloitte. She sits on the Government and Public Sector Industry and Risk Advisory Service Line Executives and leads Deloitte’s work in the education sector. An experienced finance and governance professional (FCA) with extensive experience of operating at board and executive level in a range of public, private and not for profit organisations, she is especially passionate about improving public services to citizens and has a particular interest in the role of education in fostering social mobility and inclusion.

Professor Jo Swaffield

Jo is Professor of Economics in the Department of Economics & Related Studies, University of York and Head of Department (since September 2015). Her main areas of research interest are labour economics and applied microeconometrics, focusing on the UK labour market on issues such as the gender wage gap, in-work poverty and low wages (including the minimum wage and the Living Wage). Jo's research has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) and the Low Pay Commission (LPC).

Kené Umeasiegbu

Kené is an experienced sustainability leader. He is currently Campaigns Director at Tesco, where he leads the company's public and stakeholder engagement on key societal issues including climate change, food waste, plastics and food sourcing. In addition to the UK, he has worked in Brazil, Estonia, the Netherlands, and Nigeria; championing the positive role that private enterprise and effective public policy can play in addressing inequality. His career has offered him the opportunity to work within or with major firms to drive impact towards a more just and sustainable world.