Our Diversity

Our Board of Trustees has a broad range of skills and experience including legal, financial, marketing, development, charity management and grantmaking. The current Board membership is 58% female and 42% male with an average age of 52 years old. 75% identify as White British, 17% as Indian and 8% as White Other.

Trustees are committed to increase the diversity of its members so that we can benefit from a range of social backgrounds, skills, and experience. To that end we recently participated in the Transform Programme, delivered by the charity, Getting on Board, which helps charities take positive action to diversify their Board through open Trustee recruitment and inclusive board culture.

Next Steps

To help us better understand our approach to diversity, equity and inclusion, we have surveyed our team and are currently reviewing our approach.

Nicholas Alston CBE DL


Nick Alston became Chair of ECF in November 2018. In 2012, Nick was elected as the first Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, and later served as High Sheriff of Essex in 2022/23, roles which gave him an insight into the profound importance of the voluntary sector. He is Vice-Chair of Governors at Anglia Ruskin University, and also chairs the Essex based drug and alcohol recovery charity Open Road.

Charles Bishop


Charles joined the ECF Board of Trustees in 2018 and has a strong background in finance operations, the money and gilt-edged markets, property, HR, governance and administration. He was a founding partner at Fair-lead Partners, a corporate finance boutique and held a number of senior positions at Cazenove, including Partner, Managing Director and Chief Administrative Officer.

Gemma Cartwright


Gemma has worked for over 15 years in the voluntary sector, both internationally and more recently within smaller, local organisations. She is a member of the institute of fundraising and holds a Masters in International Development. Gemma’s experience is grounded in working with small and medium voluntary sector organisations to maximise their full potential. She is highly active within the sector she is highly active in the voluntary sector in south Essex especially Southend and through her work supporting trusts and foundations.

Gail Cunningham


Gail is a consultant working with foundations and charities on investment practice and governance, and impact investing. Gail was previously Head of Investment Learning at the Association of Charitable Foundations, and has worked for youth and arts charities, and for the foundation of a global financial services company, leading activity within the UK, Europe and Canada.

Maggie Desmond


Maggie is an advisor with ghSMART (a leadership strategy advisory firm) and former strategy consultant with McKinsey & Company. She works closely with CEOs, boards, and management teams on a range of strategy, leadership, and organisational topics and co-leads her firm's Public & Social Sector Practice, bringing a wealth of knowledge from the non-profit sector across the UK and USA.

Tim Field


Tim is a Partner at Birkett Long LLP and Team Leader of the Business Team providing corporate and commercial legal advice to a wide range of clients. Tim’s specialism is working with not-for-profit organisations and charities which he hopes will be a great fit for his time as a trustee of ECF.

Simon Hall MBE DL


Simon qualified as a solicitor in 1979 and trained with the international law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer where he was a partner from 1985 to 2014. He was head of their Finance Practice, and was head of their global corporate responsibilities programmes. Simon was High Sheriff of Essex for 2017-2018.

Sandra Hollis


Sandra joined the board in 2016. She graduated from Durham University in modern languages and holds a Master’s degree in Marketing. Sandra has held a number of strategic business development and marketing roles, including responsibility for global relationships with the world’s largest banks and brokers. She also held senior positions at Anglia Ruskin University and was appointed Pro Vice-Chancellor.

Dorine Johnson


Dorine is currently VP & Head of Corporate Communications at Franklin Templeton, a £1.5 trillion global asset manager. With over two decades in communications and in Financial Services, Dorine has led on several topics including Sustainability, DEI and geopolitical events. She is actively engaged with and has championed numerous initiatives to support Inclusion within the Financial Services industry.

Soumya Krishna Kumar


Soumya (Mya) is involved in the Young Trustee Movement and is interested in bringing a younger voice to our Board. She is a recent graduate of Mathematics at Warwick University and has secured a position as a quantitative trader. Mya is passionate about Essex and her local community and started a not-for-profit group during the COVID-19 pandemic where volunteers could write and send letters to NHS staff.

Atul Manek


Atul is an experienced Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer, with a 30-year career in financial services, mainly in investment management. He has strong governance, management and risk management skills and is a chartered accountant. He also helped to navigate his business through a period of huge regulatory and technology changes and fast business growth.

Ben Minter


Ben is a Portfolio Manager at Cazenove Capital, specialising in running multi-asset investment portfolios for charities, having worked on the team since graduating from university in 2009. He is a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Skinners and has served therein as a committee member of the Lawrence Atwell’s Charity. Ben currently mentors students via the Social Mobility Foundation and has an active interest in environmental sustainability and conservation within farming.

Stewart Sanderson


Stewart is an experienced Wealth Manager, and was previously Managing Director of Seven Investment Management. Stewart first became involved with ECF in his role with Coutts & Co in 2010. He is an experienced leader and adviser within the UK Wealth Management sector, and is a chartered fellow of the Chartered Investment and Securities Institute.

Jo Wells


Jo has over two decades of experience in the voluntary sector both internationally and in the UK. Most recently she was the Director of the Blagrave Trust, an ambitious and progressive charitable Trust supporting young people to lead change with a strong reputation for listening and collaboration.