The membership body UK Community Foundations (UKCF) has appointed Rosemary Macdonald as its new CEO.
She had been interim CEO of the organisation, which represents 46 community foundations across the UK, since March. Her predecessor Fabian French stood down after five years in the role.
She joins from Wiltshire Community Foundation, which she led for 12 years.
UKCF is currently distributing funds from the National Emergencies Trust (NET) coronavirus appeal to local charities via its network of foundations. The appeal has raised £82m so far.
Macdonald said: “I am looking forward to leading UKCF. I am so proud of the work community foundations did in quickly getting funds to those who needed it on a local level when coronavirus took its toll.
“UKCF has a long history of distributing funds to people in need in society – and that work has never been more important. UKCF plays an important role in the charity sector in speaking up for the smaller groups and organisations who otherwise struggle to be heard.”
‘We will put diversity, equality and inclusion at the heart of what we do’
Last month, campaign group #CharitySoWhite criticised UKCF for its approach to diversity and equity in the distribution of the emergency coronavirus funds. #CharitySoWhite has been asking that, given the disproportionate impact the pandemic is having on BAME communities, 20% of all emergency funds is ring-fenced for BAME-led organisations.
In a blog post giving details of its interactions with sector bodies, #CharitySoWhite wrote: “We are deeply concerned with the little action and commitment that UKCF has taken to ensure race equity in the distribution of funds through their networks.”
In response, UKCF published a statement saying it is "striving to do more to address inequalities and ensure fairness of distribution", including partnering with other organisations and working to encourage more BAME organisations to apply for funding.
According to data from NET, 17.4% of its emergency funds have so far gone to BAME communities. MacDonald said diversity, equality and inclusion will be one of her priorities going forward.
She said: “We will champion local philanthropy, bringing more resources to local communities as we enter challenging fiscal times. We will continue to be the voice of local communities in national forums, providing the insight through our local lens.
“We will continue to develop our members’ skills and capacity, learning from experts across the UK and internationally. We will also put diversity, equality and inclusion at the heart of what we do, providing training for UKCF and its members to understand the needs of marginalised communities to ensure that we deliver equitable grantmaking.”
Dr Jerome Booth, chair of UKCF, said: “We are very fortunate to have Rosemary join UKCF in a permanent capacity after being the interim CEO since March. She brings enormous experience of the community foundation network and a passion for the work. Rosemary performed extremely effectively in what has been a high-pressure period as the network responds to the coronavirus pandemic across the UK.”