Please note this is a past event.


Our conference programme will be led by a diverse range of engaging speakers from the foundation sector and beyond, who will share their insights and perspectives with participants.

Chair and compère for day 1 and 2: Kenny Imafidon

Described by Huffington Post UK as a “young rising star making waves in UK politics,” Kenny has written influential and award-winning publications and has led on innovative partnerships with global brands such as Uber, Tinder and Deliveroo, on campaigns to get young people registered to vote and turnout in UK elections and the EU referendum. His work in both the worlds of research and politics has taken him around the world to countries such as, the United States, Brazil, Austria, Tunisia, Israel, and Hong Kong.

In 2014, Kenny was awarded the number one position of Rare Rising Stars and acknowledged for being the most outstanding black student in the UK. In 2015, he was one of 16 people from across Europe featured in the Commonwealth Young Achievers list. Kenny is a Winston Churchill fellow, governor of a local school and a RSA fellow.

More recently, he was named by Impact Squared as one of 100 young leaders (under 25) across the globe making a social impact to transform our world. Kenny is also a trustee of BBC Children in Need, Strength Within In Me Foundation (S.W.I.M), City Gateway and Spark Inside. Kenny is on the advisory board of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust.

Day 1

  Sunder Katwala, British Future      

Sunder Katwala is Director of British Future, an independent and non-partisan think-tank, which works on identity and immigration, integration and race relations with a focus on engaging the public constructively in issues which can be polarising and divisive. British Future is a founding member of the Together Coalition, working to establish the 2020s as a 'decade of reconnection' in our society beyond the Covid pandemic. Recent major projects include the National Conversation on Immigration, the biggest-ever public engagement exercise on immigration and integration in the UK, working in partnership with the Home Affairs select committee, and Remember Together, a project with the Royal British Legion which brings people from different backgrounds together to learn about and commemorate our shared history. Sunder was previously an Observer journalist and General Secretary of the Fabian Society.


  Tessy Ojo CBE, The Diana Award and trustee of Comic Relief      

Tessy Ojo CBE is an inspirational and creative Civil Society Leader experienced in driving change and redefining outcomes for children and young people. In 2020, Tessy was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours with a CBE – Commander of The British Empire for her services to children and young people. She is the Chief Executive of The Diana Award – the only charity that bears the name of Diana, Princess of Wales and through it has developed internationally recognised programmes that give young people skills to thrive and create positive change in their communities globally. The charity benefits from the support of Their Royal Highnesses, The Duke of Cambridge and The Duke of Sussex, as well as the Office of the UK Prime Minister as a Patron.
With over twenty-two years in third sector leadership and in-depth knowledge of working with young people and across the world, Tessy played a founding role in the building and sustainability of the charity, bringing strategic clarity and innovative approaches leading to a 360-degree turnaround of the charity’s growth and global industry recognition. Tessy is a passionate humanitarian and campaigner who has gained international reputation for work around building youth leadership and tackling systemic inequality. At the heart of her work is the belief that, with the right support and investment, young people are the best instigators for achieving sustainable change for both themselves and society.
In 2019, Tessy became the very first British National to be honoured with The Prestigious Martin Luther King Award in Atlanta, in recognition of her innovative approach to leadership and humanitarian work.  She was also named by British Airways, alongside other key notable leaders, as one of the top 100 British Leaders Tessy sits on a number of non-Executive boards including chairperson of the #iwill Leadership board, The BBC’s Appeals Advisory Committee, Comic Relief, The Royal Taskforce on Cyberbullying and the UK Council For Child Internet Safety. Tessy has been married to her husband Stephen for 25 years and together they have two children, aged 23 and 21.


  Charles Keidan, Alliance magazine     

Charles Keidan is Executive Editor of Alliance magazine, a leading nonprofit publication putting readers at the heart of global philanthropy. Charles previously served as Director of the Pears Foundation where he worked closely with its board of Trustees including executive chairman, Trevor Pears. Charles has also served as a Trustee of the Queen’s Crescent Community Association, a charity in North London. As part of his commitment to improving philanthropy, Charles has advised a variety of philanthropists and trustees of philanthropic foundations.


  Fazilet Hadi, Disability Rights UK      

Fazilet Hadi is Head of Policy at Disability Rights UK. She is on the EHRC Disability Advisory Committee and is a Non-Executive Director at Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust. Fazilet started her career as a solicitor in Law Centres and then worked in senior equality roles in Local Government. Fazilet spent many years as a director at RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) and stepped down as Deputy Chief Executive in 2018.


Vivienne Jackson, Act for Change Fund  

Vivienne Jackson is Programme and Learning Manager for Act for Change Fund. She has worked and volunteered throughout her career in the not-for-profit sector, predominantly with young people, people who migrate and people who are experiencing homelessness. Her PhD in sociology looked at labour migration, identity and belonging.

Angela Awuah, Act for Change Fund  

Angela Awuah is the Programme Coordinator for Act for Change Fund. Prior to Paul Hamlyn Foundation (PHF), she has worked in administration for charities, CICs and in the private sector. Outside of PHF, Angela is the founder and director of Mental Health The Arts (MHTA) where she has won several youth social entrepreneurship awards. It’s an early intervention creative arts academy in South London which works with young people on developing creative coping mechanisms using their gifts and talents. She has a MSc Degree in Public Mental Health.

Matthew Mckeague, Architectural Heritage Fund

Matthew has been CEO of the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) for four years and has led the organisation through a period of expansion, launching the £15m Transforming Places through Heritage programme and the new social investment fund, the Heritage Impact Fund. Matthew joined the AHF from the Churches Conservation Trust (CCT) where, as Director of Regeneration, he led a highly successful team developing innovative new uses for historic churches. His previous experience was in a range of urban regeneration roles within local authorities and as a consultant. 

Carol Pyrah, Historic Coventry Trust

Carol is the Executive Director of Historic Coventry Trust, an entrepreneurial heritage development trust which aims to bring new life to the city’s heritage, finding innovative ways to sustain historic places and to inspire, involve and connect people with the city’s history ( The Trust is working to complete a £20M first phase of heritage regeneration projects, repairing and bringing new economic uses to some of Coventry’s most important historic buildings. Carol has been leading the national demonstrator project for Historic England’s £95M High Street Heritage Action Zone programme. Previously she was on the Executive Team of Historic England.

Dr Sophie Flemig, Cattanach

Dawn Shackels, Community Foundation for Northern Ireland

Dawn is the Director of Peacebuilding and Communities with the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland. Renowned for its work in peacebuilding, the Foundation is an organisation that is not afraid to take risks in supporting the most marginalised, to help build peace in Northern Ireland. Having worked in social justice and peacebuilding roles over the last 20 years, Dawn is not only highly respected but is clearly value driven, compassionate and committed to peacebuilding and a strong advocate for the most vulnerable and marginalised in society. She has significant experience of managing, developing and implementing solutions to complex and sensitive community, peacebuilding, social justice and human rights issues within Northern Ireland and internationally, most recently through her role on the Foundation’s for Peace Network.  irector of Regeneration, he led a highly successful team developing innovative new uses for historic churches. His previous experience was in a range of urban regeneration roles within local authorities and as a consultant. 

Michael Hughes, Community Foundation for Northern Ireland

Michael joined the Community Foundation in June 2013 and led the Space and Place Programme which supported 30 communities (geographical and of interest) to develop underused and/or difficult spaces that would connect more people and communities. He has key responsibility for the Building Sustainable Communities strategy area within the Foundation and has led on community based action support programmes including Comic Relief, Pears Foundation and Micro-Grants and is currently working on a developing a community assets/endowment programme exploring new ways of tapping into community wealth as a key driver for sustainable and locally led social change. Director of Regeneration, he led a highly successful team developing innovative new uses for historic churches. His previous experience was in a range of urban regeneration roles within local authorities and as a consultant. 

Paul Braithwaite, Community Foundation for Northern Ireland

Paul is Head of Innovation & Voice with the Community Foundation Northern Ireland, leading their work on social innovation and community voice. Since joining the Foundation in 2013 Paul has developed and delivered a number of new initiatives using research, grant-making, facilitated dialogue and international learning exchanges to stimulate new collaborations and initiatives around the themes of deliberative democracy and social innovation. Current programmes include:
The Civic Innovation Programme which supports initiatives that put people at the centre of decision-making and has included Northern Ireland's first citizens' assembly and participatory budgeting projects
Community Innovators, which supports organisations to learn and apply a creative problem solving approach to thorny social challenges
Techies in Residence, which matches VCSE organisations with tech developers to build digital products for social impact 

Laura Mathieson, Corra Foundation

Laura joined Corra Foundation four years ago. She is a Community Co-ordinator within the Getting Alongside Communities Programme, based in East Renfrewshire. Laura has a background in research and community development, specifically, employing theatre and arts based approaches to initiating and deepening dialogue in communities. Laura is currently working alongside community members in Dunterlie, Barrhead to carry out a piece of community led action research as part of SCDC’s Knowledge is Power project. She is also working with a group of local people to carry out a Community Led grant making process as part of Comic Relief’s #ShiftThePower programme. 

Gordon McLean, Corra Foundation

Gordon started at Corra Foundation in January 2019 and supports the Getting Alongside Communities programme, Corra’s place-based programme operating in nine communities across Scotland. The programme supports local people to connect, collaborate on ideas, and take action to create positive change. His background is in Community Development and before joining Corra, Gordon was Lifelong Learning Service Manager at Edinburgh Council. He was employed by Edinburgh Council for 13 years and was seconded for 4 years to help lead on Edinburgh’s approach to Getting It Right For Every Child. 

Louise Shaw, Corra Foundation

Louise joined Corra 5 years ago from a Community Health background as well as having experience in Asset Based Community Development. She is a Community Co-ordinator within the Getting Alongside Communities Programme, based in North Ayrshire. Louise is currently working on a Systems Changers Programme which is a collaboration between The Corra Foundation and Lankelly Chase. Louise is also supporting the local community to bring about a localised Participatory Budgeting process.

Elaine Wilson, Corra Foundation

Elaine is Head of Learning and Development at Corra Foundation she oversees the learning and evaluation of Corra and works with colleagues to look at opportunities where Corra can work collaborative with others. Elaine previously managed Corra’s Partnership Drugs Initiative a programme with Scottish Government to support children and young people affected by drug and alcohol issues. Elaine is a member of Institute of Voluntary Action Research’s open and transparent grant-making (#FlexibleFunders) steering group. She is involved in the development of several funder collaborations. Including last year’s Scottish Government’s Community Wellbeing Fund emergency response to coronavirus. 

Gemma Bull, Modern grant-making

 Gemma was England Director and Funding Strategy Director for the UK's largest community funder, which awards £600 million annually. Her responsibilities included building teams, leading hundreds of people and driving a major redesign of the whole organisation’s grant-making. Previously she was Managing Director for Innovation and Enterprise at Leonard Cheshire Disability and Head of Innovation at Save the Children. She now specialises in supporting organisations to innovate, improve and collaborate.

Tom Steinberg, Modern grant-making

Tom is a nonprofit CEO turned grantmaker. He founded civic tech pioneers mySociety and developed data and technology policy for the UK government before becoming a senior executive at two of the UK’s largest institutional funders. Tom is an Ashoka Fellow, a board member at the International Consortium of International Journalists, and the co-founder of an open access education project run out of the Harvard Kennedy School.

John Collins, The Fore

John Collins, Programme Director, joined The Fore in December 2020. John brings over two decades of multi-sector experience to his work at The Fore. Previously, he served as a strategy and management consultant focused on clients in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. Prior to this, John held various positions, including senior analyst at a private equity firm, project manager at REDF, a venture philanthropy firm founded by George Roberts of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., and financial consultant at Ernst & Young, LLP. John, who hails from New York, holds a Masters in Public Policy and Administration from Columbia University and a BA in International  Business from Lehigh University. He is an active volunteer for AIDS Walk (New York), St. Joseph’s Hospice (London), and is a member of the Board of Advisors for Freelance Investigative Reporters and Editors (FIRE).



Day 2

  Derek Bardowell, CEO of Ten Years Time and Trustee of Thirty Percy

Derek A Bardowell is the chief executive of Ten Years’ Time, author of No Win Race (Mudlark/Harper NonFiction, 2019) and a Knowledge Equity Fellow at the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford. Derek is also the host of the podcast Just Cause and a Thirty Percy trustee. 


  Lori Bezahler, Hazen Foundation

As President of the Edward W. Hazen Foundation, Lori Bezahler leads a national grant making program supporting organizing and leadership by young people and communities of colour to dismantle structural inequity based on race and class. During 2013, Ms. Bezahler was also a Senior Fellow at the Center for Social Inclusion and she currently chairs the board of Race Forward. Her writing and commentary have appeared in The Nation, TIME Magazine, the Washington Post, Foundation Review, the Chronicle of Philanthropy, the Journal of Responsive Philanthropy, and on numerous blogs and other media outlets. With over 20 years’ experience as a leader in the not for profit sector, she has served on several boards including Grantmakers for Education, the National Center on Schools and Communities at Fordham University, Philanthropy New York, and the Center for Community Alternatives, and has taught as an adjunct assistant professor at NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service and Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service.

  Moira Sinclair OBE, Paul Hamlyn Foundation

Moira is Chief Executive of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. Their vision is for a just society in which everyone, especially young people, can realise their full potential and enjoy fulfilling and creative lives. In 2019/2020, PHF awarded £46.8m of grants in the arts, in cultural education, in migration and integration, and investing in young people. 
Moira is Chair of Clore Leadership, Chair of East London Dance and Vice Chair of the London Mayor’s Cultural Strategy Board. She is also a member of the British Library Advisory Council and the Investment Committee for the Arts & Culture Impact Fund.
Previously, she worked for Arts Council England and Vital Arts after stints in local government and theatre and production management. A graduate of Manchester University where she studied drama, Moira became a Clore Fellow in 2004/05. 



  Veronika Mora, Hungarian Donors Forum        

Veronika Móra has been working ah Ökotárs - Hungarian Environmental Partnership Foundation since 1997 and holds the position of the director since 2007. Earlier, she was the national consultant for the Dutch Foundation Milieukontakt Oosteuropa, but also worked for the eco-counselling office of Ecoservice Foundation. With HEPF and earlier, she’s been working on a variety of issues related to ecological consumption, gene technologies and public participation. Since 2003 she’s been leading HEPF’s Civil Partner program aiming to improve the legal-fiscal environment of civil society, but she also gained experience in managing and overseeing grant programs of various sizes, not least the Hungarian NGO Fund under the EEA/Norwegian Financial Grants.


Besides her full time occupation she also has voluntary positions in a number of NGOs, among them the chairmanship of the Hungarian Donors Forum. She is a biologist (MSc) by education, but also has a MA degree in organisational psychology, and more recently gained a diploma in environmental law.

Josh Cockcroft, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation

Josh is co-chair of the DEI Data Standard working group and has worked at the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation since early 2019. His focus at Esmee has primarily been on data and sector infrastructure to improve funding practise. While at Esmee he has worked on a range of collaborative projects, including the Funders Collaborative Hub, the Foundation Practise Rating, and the Funders for Racial Equity Alliance Audit. 
Prior to working at the Foundation Josh worked in strategy roles across in the media and start ups.

Caroline Fiennes, Giving Evidence

Caroline is one of the few people whose work has appeared in both OK! Magazine and the scientific journal Nature. 
A recognised expert in philanthropy, she is a Visiting Fellow at Cambridge University, and for three years wrote the ‘how to give it’ column in the Financial Times. She founded and directs Giving Evidence, and has advised many funders over many years. She is leading the research and analysis for the Funder Practice Rating. A physicist by background, she takes a scientific approach to effectiveness – and hence works with experimental economists, e.g., with J-PAL at MIT and with its sister organisation Innovations for Poverty Action. She is on boards of The Cochrane Collaboration (specifically Evidence Aid), The Life You Can Save founded by ethicist Peter Singer, and the (amazing) Flemish Red Cross. She has published masses of research about philanthropy, including in Freakonomics, The Economist, Forbes, and elsewhere, and is described by Nobel Laureate Richard Thaler as “charmingly disruptive”.

Debbie Pippard, Barrow Cadbury Trust

Debbie is Director of Programmes at Barrow Cadbury Trust, a position she has held for the past ten years. In addition to her role in overseeing the Trust’s programmes, she leads its Economic Justice portfolio, focussing it on how local economies can be shaped to benefit local communities.  
Debbie has a particular interest in gender justice, racial justice and the voluntary and community sector. She was one of the founders of the Funders for Racial Justice Alliance which has been influencing in supporting charitable funders to increase their funding of work to further racial justice and race equality.  Past roles have included management positions at The National Lottery Community Fund and an NHS Trust plus Chief Executive of an organisation for people with learning disabilities and their families.
Her non-executive positions have included a number of Trustee- and Directorships. She is chair of The Foundry, the award-winning conference centre and host to a range of social justice organisations and of Global Dialogue, one of the leading platforms for international funder collaboration. She is on the boards of Ethex, a fintech company that connects social businesses with investors, and of West Midlands Funders’ Network.

Danielle Walker Palmour, Friends Provident Foundation

Danielle Walker Palmour is the Director of the Friends Provident Foundation, an independent grant-making charity established from unclaimed shares arising from the de-mutualisation of Friends Provident Life Office in 2001. Friends Provident Foundation focuses has a wider interest in the use of financial markets to produce social value and has led small trusts in social investment.  

James Banks, London Funders

James has been Chief Executive of London Funders since 2017, after nearly 20 years of working and volunteering across London’s civil society. James leads the work of London Funders to strengthen civil society and create a better London, through enabling a network of over 170 funders from all sectors to be effective. As covid-19 hit, London Funders launched the “We Stand With The Sector” funder commitment, with over 400 funders from across the country signing up to core standards to support civil society through the pandemic, sharing the text for a mirror statement for European funders through DAFNE and the European Foundation Centre.  Four days after the first lockdown started in the UK, James and the team launched the London Community Response funder collaboration, bringing together 67 funders who have so far distributed over £55m to civil society groups in the capital to deal with the crisis and support the resilience of London’s communities as we look towards renewal and recovery.

Tracy Lazard, Inclusion London

Tracey is a Disabled person with 23 years of experience working in a variety of Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations (DDPOs), where she has promoted disability equality, user involvement and the Social Model of Disability and the Cultural Model of Deafness. She has been in CEO positions for the last 16 years and joined the Inclusion London team as Chief Executive in 2011. Tracey is passionate about the value and contribution DDPOs make to both equality and inclusion but also to delivering effective, accessible and holistic services that make a real difference to Deaf and Disabled people’s lives.

Paul Roberts, LGBT+ Consortium

Paul became Chief Executive for Consortium in April 2011 and has over 18 years’ experience working in the LGBT+ voluntary sector.  Paul leads on the strategic direction of the organisation working with the staff team, board and Members to ensure Consortium stays community focussed and LGBT+ issues are listened to by a range of stakeholders, including Government and the wider voluntary sector. Paul’s background is within community development and he has a passion for connecting communities together and giving people space to share their collective knowledge and experience.

Nahid Rasool, Shantona Women's and Family Centre

Nahid Rasool is CEO of Shantona Women’s and Family Centre.  She has been working for Third sector/ Charitable organisation more than 35 years. 23 years for Shantona, prior to that she worked in London, Bradford in various capacities. She has seen and directly faced lots of challenges, prejudice, inequality and barriers, within the South Asian community. These made her determined to do something for the culturally diverse women and girls who live in this country, facing inequality and discrimination within their home, and in the wider world.

Lucy McMenamin, GiveOut

Lucy McMenamin is GiveOut's Philanthropy Officer. Following the completion of an MSc in Marketing, Lucy helped launch a successful coffee business in Dublin before moving to the UK to begin her career in the third sector. She brings experience in philanthropy management, Diversity and Inclusion strategy and she is passionate about social justice and LGBTQI+ rights.

Rupert Abbott, GiveOut

Rupert Abbott is GiveOut’s Executive Director. He has over 15 years of international human rights experience, specialising in the design and development of human rights initiatives and organisations, and in leading research and advocacy, including on LGBTQI rights.

Aisha Shaibu, GiveOut

Aisha Shaibu is an LGBTQ+ activist, cultural producer, and founder of award-winning tours and events company Moonlight Experiences. Moonlight Experiences is dedicated to uplifting queer women, non-binary and Black/POC members by harnessing the economic power of tourism and nightlife to tackle the lack of diversity. Aisha has been an architect of diverse parties, festivals, and events collaborating with brands, institutions, and communities on events designed within an intersectional framework. Aisha’s activism and community contribution extends to the work she does as part of the management team of the new LGBTQ+ venue, Glass House London; as Head of Community Engagement for UK Black Pride; and as a Trustee of the award-winning international LGBTQI community foundation GiveOut.

Claire Tunnacliffe, GiveOut

Claire Tunnacliffe is GiveOut’s grant-making officer. Her background is in urban planning, environment, and sustainable development, with a particular focus on public interventions in public spaces. She is currently undertaking a part-time PhD at the Bartlett School of Architecture in LGBTQI+ activism in London as a queer practice of placemaking. 

Shahed Malvi, Leeds Community Foundation

Shahed joined Leeds Community Foundation as their Head of Grants in April 2020 and has over 25 years’ experience working in both the public + voluntary sector.  Shahed leads on the management and implementation of around 40 grant programmes funded by a range of statutory, philanthropic and charitable sources each year, working with the staff team, to ensure the Foundation stays focussed on resourcing community groups to address the most pressing needs across Leeds and Bradford. Shahed’s background is within youth and community development and community regeneration and he has a passion for supporting people powered change within communities. 

Heather Nelson,  Black Health Initiative

Heather Nelson is currently Chief Executive of Leeds based charity Black Health Initiative (BHI) with an extensive 30-year background and working knowledge of Equity and Diversity with the overall aim of Inclusion within the Education, Health and Social Care 3rd Sector.  BHI works with and for disadvantaged and marginalised communities addressing equity of access in education, health and social care locally, regionally, and nationally. Heather is also one of the few female black serving Magistrates, and has served over 20 years within the British Judicial System.




ACF is proud to work with its Official Partners.