ECF welcomes three new trustees

11th February 2021

Three dynamic new trustees have joined the independent charitable trust, Essex Community Foundation, (ECF) to help the organisation to have an even greater impact in the future.

Gail Cunningham, Ben Minter and Gemma Cartwright are making it their mission to see ECF strengthen its position as one of the leading community foundations in the UK, working with individuals, families, businesses, charitable trusts and statutory bodies to support the vital work of charities and voluntary groups in the community.

A total of 167 charitable funds are now under ECF’s management and this achievement has meant that over the past year of great challenges, £4.8 million has been distributed in much-needed grants to 436 voluntary organisations and 89 individuals.

Gail, Ben and Gemma have taken up their roles as trustees at ECF at a time when the organisation has set its sights on encouraging even greater local philanthropy to help improve the lives of those in need in Essex.

Gail, who lives in Chelmsford, is head of investment learning at the Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF). Her extensive experience of the charity sector, in the UK and overseas, makes her a great asset as a new trustee for ECF and she is eager to use her skills to help the organisation develop and continue to flourish.

She said: “Since moving to Chelmsford, I have been impressed by the work of ECF, in particular its sustained growth, commitment to grassroots issues, community accountability and its ambition to make a greater impact through working in partnership with other organisations.

“I have a keen appreciation of the power of community foundations and similar models, having worked with them in Canada. The ability of community foundations to listen to people’s needs is a key resource.”

Ben Minter, a charity investment manager who lives in Brentwood, is bringing energy and enthusiasm for the voluntary sector to his new role as an ECF trustee.

“I think ECF serves a vitally important role in ensuring the resilience of local enterprises from grassroots upwards, helping them to keep going, especially given the current economic environment and the longer-term funding pressures in the third sector,” said Ben.

“There is great value in working directly with the local community and I will take huge pride in being able to visit the people and projects funded by ECF grants to see the success stories, while offering further support to those yet to reach that stage.

“I was born in Colchester and feel a sense of real connection to the county. I believe that being a trustee for ECF will be a great way to give something back and will help develop a network of local expertise for the good of the community in future.”

Gemma Cartwright, who lives in Southend, is a development officer with the Southend Association of Voluntary Service supporting many charities and voluntary groups.  She also volunteers her time and gets involved with lots of community work and activities. Through her work she had already forged strong links with ECF and is looking forward to her new role as trustee.

Gemma said: “I have a deep passion for equality, ending injustice and the work of the voluntary sector and I am strongly motived by the direct impact made by small and medium sized groups.

“Having grown up in Southend I have been aware of ECF for many years and the vital impact it has across Essex. As an ECF trustee I will be able to use my knowledge of the charity sector, develop new skills, interact with new people and learn more about the work of the voluntary sector across Essex.”

Caroline Taylor, chief executive of ECF said: “We are delighted to welcome Gail, Ben and Gemma as our new trustees and know that their skills, experience and commitment will be invaluable as we face the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”

To see more members of our trustee Board, click here.