Meet the team
MK Community Foundation is a leading grant-making charity sending funding where it's needed most in Milton Keynes.
People are at the heart of what we do and why we are here, and every member of our team plays a crucial role. Meet our team here.
Vicki grew up in north Bedfordshire and watched the development and expansion of Milton Keynes since its inception. She has spent most of her adult life living in Olney and Emberton. The majority of her working life was spent working for Avon Cosmetics which enabled her to work her way through a variety of disciplines namely Finance, Regulatory Affairs, HR, Supply Chain and latterly crisis management and business continuity.
She retired early to support Keith in his year as Mayor which was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about Milton Keynes. As Mayoress she was first introduced to the Milton Keynes Community Foundation and has continued to support and promote as a VP.
Since retiring fully her activities have included latterly being Chair of Emberton Parish Council and Emberton Sports and Social Club. To keep her brain engaged she undertakes specific projects for the Community Foundation and Ride High.
Vicki loves to be outside and walking her dogs, gardening and cycling are her go to activates and likes nothing better than a bracing walk on a Norfolk or Northumbrian beach.
I’ve worked for the Organisation for nearly 8 years, working on Reception in both Acorn House and Margaret Powell House. Day to day tasks include Managing the conference rooms, ensuring they are ready and to standard for our clients & also Looking after the tenants in both buildings. Outside work I enjoy socialising with family and friends.
Lawrence is a Chartered Town Planner and Urban Designer and has spent his career leading large-scale master planning and regeneration projects across the UK and around the world.
Lawrence was a Director of MK-based consultancy David Lock Associates for 25 years and was its Managing Director from 2008 to 2015. During that time, he was also a Director of DLA’s sister company in Australia and of Integrated Transport Planning Ltd where he still does some consultancy work. He retired from DLA in 2019.
Lawrence has been a Trustee of the Community Foundation since 2013 and the Chair of the Board of Trustees since 2015.
Lawrence has been married to Gail for more than 40 years and they have three sons across the world – Wolverton, Hokkaido in Japan and Melbourne, Australia. They have one grandson, so far. They enjoy sailing, winter sports and trekking in exotic parts of the world and at home. And they enjoy the freedom of a much-cherished pop-top campervan, shared with a high energy dog!
Lawrence is a Volunteer with the Peak District National Park Ranger Service, achieving a teenage ambition.
Lawrence and Gail have lived in Milton Keynes Village since moving to MK from London in 1994 and moved just 300m from their first MK home to another in 2018.
Jason is an experienced Executive Director with over 20 years in strategic executive and operational posts, which includes within Higher Education, Corporate Business and SME’s. During this time, Jason has supported Executive Boards, providing Governance and strategic advisory support. Throughout his Career, Jason has had vast experience in developing and delivering strategies and programmes from the ground up, with his remit involving having responsibility over Talent, Learning and Organisational Development, Professional Development, Employability and Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion.
Currently Chief Operating Officer at Inclusive Recruitment and Consultancy firm, Profile Resourcing (www.profileresourcing.co.uk) Jason holds responsibility for ED&I Strategy delivery to Clients, spanning Recruitment, L&OD and Education. Internally, Jason is responsible for the People functions of the Group. Jason holds several Strategic Advisory posts, including FIKA (https://www.fika.community/ ), Trustee and Director at www.worktree.org, an Employability Charity in Milton Keynes, and a founding member of MK Ethnic Business Community, and Milton Keynes College Groups Friends and Allies Network.
Jason has a huge passion for raising aspirations and making routes to employment more accessible within disadvantaged groups, ensuring Inclusivity is at the forefront of everything we do for Milton Keynes, generally increasing Social Mobility, and highlighting the importance of collaboration between Private, Public and 3rd Sector organisations. All of which he hopes to develop during his time on the Board of MK Community Foundation.
Ranjit is Philanthropy Director at MK Community Foundation and proud to be supporting the community of Milton Keynes by engaging philanthropist both corporate and individual to invest in their local community. He has a broad range of experience both in the charitable and corporate sectors. Ranjit also co-chairs the Milton Keynes Ethnic Business Community, a network connecting, raising profile and empowering ethnic minority businesses owners and professionals. Ranjit spends his spare time with family and exploring MK and the surrounding areas.
Fidèle is a public academic and a social entrepreneur. He is a multi-skilled professional and holds a PhD in sociology (University College Dublin). He has extensive experience in research, programme management, event planning and management, and conceiving and executing successful campaigns. He has published extensively on leadership, equality, diversity, inclusivity, immigration, integration and social cohesion. He has worked in the voluntary sector at all levels (employee, volunteer, manager and trustee) in Africa and Europe for over 25 years. Since moving to the UK in 2014, he has been working as an Independent Consultant with DILEAS Consulting, is a Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for Voluntary Sector Leadership at The Open University and as a Volunteer Community Organiser with Citizens:MK, a chapter of Citizens UK, where he has been leading the Fight Against Hate Campaign. He has extensive experience of voluntary sector and public sector boards.
Fidèle is passionate about social justice and equity and he is interested in current affairs and politics. He is an advocate of meaningful participation of all members of society, including the so-called hard to reach. Fidèle likes story-telling and discussions on transition from oral tradition to written tradition and has an interest in social media and blogging. He enjoys walking and listening to the voice of nature, as well as being passionate about bio-diversity and sustainable development.
Michaela joined MK Community Foundation in 2018. She is responsible for the Capacity Building Programme which supports community groups with trustee recruitment and corporate pro bono support. Outside work you will can find her trying out new restaurants and cuisine or snuggled at home reading a good book.
Charlotte is our Philanthropy Officer a new role within the foundation. Charlotte’s role is looking after our Bursary programmes and small grant assessments and support Philanthropy managers. Within Charlotte’s role she will have oversight of our Vital Signs Poverty and Disadvantage. In Charlotte’s spare time she enjoys baking, socialising and long walks.
Rebecca began working as our Marketing and Communications Manager in August 2020. She is responsible for championing our branding, maintaining our website, keeping you up-to-date with monthly newsletters and social media, as well as ensuring as many people as possible know we are here to Fund Fairness in the local community. When she’s not working, Rebecca enjoys country walks, socialising with friends and really difficult jigsaw puzzles.
Suresh is a Tamil, and was born in Kuala Lumpur, in the then Malaya. His father was a diplomat and the family moved with his posting to London in 1969. After schooling in Finchley, London, Suresh read Chemical Engineering at Imperial College, London, and went on to take a Masters and a PhD in Biochemical Engineering at the University of Birmingham, completing his studies there in 1979.
He then worked in Malaysia, at a very large Engineering Consultancy. Following this, he took up a post at the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, devising systems for the treatment and reuse of petroleum refinery wastewaters in agriculture (growing alfalfa and tomatoes) and aquaculture (growing Tilapia, known as ‘the aquatic chicken’!). In addition, he was involved in several other interesting projects.
Seeking experience in a different sphere, he then joined the Ministry of the Environment in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman, where he was responsible for the approval of effluent treatment plants, and for investigating pollution incidents. Then, he got married and moved back to the UK, taking up a job which involved two locations - The Institute of Offshore Engineering, at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, and the Orkney Water Test Centre, in Flotta, Orkney.
Suresh, his wife and two children, moved to Milton Keynes in 1991, when he joined The Open University, where he is presently a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Engineering.
In Milton Keynes, he was a Committee Member and later, Chairperson, of the Milton Keynes Racial Equality Council (MK REC). In 2008, he received the first Championing Change Award of the MK REC.
Suresh has been the Secretary of the Milton Keynes Tamil Forum since its formation in 2008, and is a Trustee of the Milton Keynes Murugan Temple, located in Neath Hill. He is also the Secretary of the Milton Keynes Council of Faiths.
At the OU, Suresh is a Member of the BME Network Steering Group, and tries to bring The OU’s expertise in race matters to benefit various bodies in Milton Keynes (e.g. the Police, etc.).
Suresh would like to contribute to environmental aspects of the Community Foundation’s work, and help in publicising how the Foundation can help, and be helped, by the BME Communities of Milton Keynes.
Having read the most recent Vital Signs Report of the Community Foundation, Suresh is particularly keen on a project to bring out the full potential of black male pupils in Secondary Schools in Milton Keynes. Currently, he is building up a team to do this.
Francesca moved to Milton Keynes in 1977 and spent the first 14 years commuting to London, first working on the commercial side of The Guardian newspaper, later moving over to IPC magazines where she worked on the launch of a new women’s magazine OPTIONS. She later became publisher of Ideal Home magazine. On the birth of her second child in 1991 she decided to work locally and she moved from the private sector to work in the voluntary sector, where she managed Relate MK for ten years. The community of Milton Keynes became her focus and she later became a trustee of the Milton Keynes Community Foundation, where she also served a three year term as Chair. She joined the Board of Governors at MK College and served as Chair for six years from 2008-2013.
She is a Deputy Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire and was High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire 2015/16. In 2016 she took on the role of Chair of the Arts and Heritage Alliance Milton Keynes, which has over 35 members and stakeholders. AHA-MK champions the rich heritage and creative future of Milton Keynes, and is also the lead on MAKE, the Milton Keynes Cultural Education Partnership. MAKE’s vision is to work in partnership to enhance the lives of children and young people in Milton Keynes through outstanding and inclusive cultural education and creative enrichment.
In 2020 AHA-MK produced a report ‘Rethinking Cultural Inclusion and Diversity: A Call to Action for Milton Keynes’. AHA-MK was delighted to be nominated for a MK Black History Month Award for ‘an organisation which actively reaches out to black communities’ and was very proud to win the award in this category at the Gala Awards Dinner October 2021.
Francesca has had a long association with Milton Keynes Community Foundation, as a trustee and as a donor. She and her husband John set up a Foundation Skelton Fund, as they and their grown up children Tom and Anna are very committed to Milton Keynes and to supporting its community development. Her time as a trustee ended in 2018. She was very pleased to be invited to take on a new role in 2021 as one of the Vice Presidents of the Milton Keynes Community Foundation in 2021.
Paul has worked in three major banks in a variety of roles including managing 3rd party suppliers, heading up a marketing team and project management. Starting as a cashier, Paul can still remember how to count money! He retired in 2017.
Paul brings experience in financial planning and risk management, marketing and communications and planning and delivering projects. His MBA focussed on business strategy, start-ups and marketing for small and medium sized business.
Paul is married with two boys, now grown up and the family has lived in Milton Keynes for most of his married life. He enjoys soul music from all years and playa the alto saxophone - badly despite learning for more than 10 years. Paul’s wife, Zoe, is a local councillor and they enjoy travelling spending most of their holidays away in their campervan with their young golden retriever.
In addition to being a trustee of Community Foundation, Paul also volunteers at Whipsnade Zoo where he talks to visitors about the animals and what Whipsnade is doing to protect them in the wild. Paul reckons that it is the best job he has ever had.
Daniel started as our Marketing Assistant in November 2021. He provides administrative support to the marketing team and helps to manage our social media channels. When he’s not working, Daniel enjoys disco music, magic, art and cooking.
Devdeep is a co-founder and clinical director of RTW Plus Ltd. Devdeep is a physiotherapist by background with strong focus on complex trauma, amputations and chronic pain. He worked in India and UK as a clinical physiotherapist before transitioning to case management services. After working in one of the largest rehabilitation companies in UK, first as a case manager and then as clinical lead, Devdeep gained hands on experience of undertaking detailed needs assessments and developing and implementing rehabilitation plans.
Devdeep completed his doctorate looking at factors influencing adherence and attendance in musculoskeletal physiotherapy. He has presented at over 40 conferences internationally as well as running training courses for healthcare professionals around workplace rehabilitation.
Devdeep is also passionate about research, innovation and development in rehabilitation and healthcare services. He has won multiple awards from CSP, VRA and other industry bodies for his research and practice.
Devdeep has lived in Milton Keynes since 2015 with his wife Prabh and sons Angad and Anhad. When not working, Devdeep spends time fiddling with websites, coding and computers. Beyond his professional life, Devdeep has keen interest in international affairs, politics, cricket, online networking and reading. His favourite means of relaxation and unwinding is a long walk with Sufi music at the end of the day. Devdeep is a practising Sikh and is keenly engaged with the local Gurudwara (Sikh Temple).
A journalist for 12 years, Shirley moved into public relations with the RAC before expanding her remit to embrace marketing and communications, mostly within the education sector. Managing her own businesses since 2006, Shirley diversified further with Heritage Hunters (family tree research), D & S Productions (event management) and works as an actor and writer. A member of several Milton Keynes acting troupes, Shirley writes and performs plays and pantomimes. She enjoys singing. Her other hobby is geocaching – the use of GPS systems to find items hidden around the world by fellow players
Pam has a wealth of knowledge and experience gained over 20 years across all aspects of business within the private, political, public and voluntary sector.
Until very recently Pam worked at Milton Keynes Council (MKC) for 15 years, her work spanned many areas, including Regulatory Service, Policy, Events, Economic Development, Culture and she has led on numerous policy and strategy areas that have benefited businesses and residents in Milton Keynes (MK). Her work at MKC was instrumental to receiving a host of accolades including being recognised as the best place for business investment and job growth. She has delivered MK’s most challenging but significant inward investment projects resulting in the creation and retention of thousands of jobs.
By fostering partnerships with the private and voluntary sectors Pam has been able to deliver cultural and sports events in MK that bring diverse communities together.
Pam is also a very successful entrepreneur, starting from the age of 17; she has built up a portfolio of properties and many successful businesses. Her belief is to never stop learning; and therefore, places great importance to furthering her own education by completing an MBA in 2011 and is currently studying for a Doctorate of Philosophy specialising in skills and training within the business sector.
Pam is great believer in giving back. She is a trustee for the MK Women Leaders Awards, having won the Women Leaders Business Award in 2015 and the Public Service Award in 2018. She is also a trustee of CBM UK, the largest Christian disability charity in the world. Helping others is her mantra, providing her own time mentoring people from diverse backgrounds into education and employment.
Kay returned to MKCF in September 2018 in the role of Philanthropy Assistant, primarily overseeing small and community grant assessments. Supporting not for profits to apply for funding, ensuring funding fairness and inclusion. Kay also oversees several bursaries and awards, supporting individuals to achieve their goals. Kay was made Philanthropy Manager in November 2019, part of her role is to develop relationships with existing and potential donors and supporters of MKCF-helping them achieve their philanthropic aspirations. Kay oversees the Vital Signs areas of Work, Education and Economy - this has given her the opportunity to work with local schools and colleges to develop knowledge of Philanthropy and initiatives for students to support their local communities. Kay enjoys spending time with her family, walking her American Akita Dog and listening to music of many genres.
Steve has worked in Financial Services for over 40 years and is currently a Chartered Wealth Manager and Head of Business Development for WH Ireland Plc, based in Milton Keynes and London.
Steve started his career with NatWest, holding various roles in Private Banking, before moving into training Private Bankers in sales, management and credit skills. In 1996, he moved to Coutts in London and then Oxford, launching the Milton Keynes branch of Coutts in 2006. He moved to WH Ireland in 2017.
One of the first events that Steve ran for Coutts in Milton Keynes was a dinner to introduce Clients to the Community Foundation, and Steve has been involved with the foundation ever since, accepting the offer of becoming part of the Honorary Structure in 2016. Steve takes a keen interest in philanthropy in general, but specifically supports work in the areas of disadvantaged and underprivileged children, as well as education, arts and sport. He also volunteers for Young Enterprise locally, as well as organisations such as Worktree.
The Hutchings family hold a growing Acorn fund, and live in Milton Keynes. Angela is a volunteer for MK Gallery, and an art lover, whilst their two daughters Amelia and Olivia continue their full time educatio
Vasco worked as a Consultant Physician with the local Health Authority/Community Health Services since 1985, taking on the role of Associate Medical Director from 2001 to 2007, and retiring in 2011. He worked in the specialities of Public Health and Substance Misuse, and General Practice.
Dr Fernandes was Chair of the British Medical Association’s (BMA) Regional Public Health Committee (and Member of the National Committee) from 1989 to 2010. From 1995 to 2000, he served on the National Public Health Laboratory Service Board, having been appointed by the Minister of Health as the BMA representative.
From 1993 to 2010, Vacso was the Honorary President of the MK Equality Council, and until a few years ago, was a Member/Chair of the MK Community Foundation’s Grant Panel.
Dr Vasco Fernandes is the Patron of the MK Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Group, and an appointed Independent Person (helping to maintain standards of conduct of elected Councillors) for the Milton Keynes, Luton, and Central Beds Councils, and the Beds, Bucks and MK Fire Authorities. In addition, he is also on the Board of the YMCA MK.
Vasco enjoys playing table tennis and bridge. Weather permitting, he also likes walking. Since retiring, he has undertaken Biblical and related reading and research and finds it fascinating to be able to reconcile Christian beliefs and faith with Science.
Brenda was born in London to Irish immigrant parents and she emigrated to Milton Keynes in 1981 to work in the legal sweatshops of the new city as a property solicitor. She has been involved in the Community Foundation for over 30 years, both as a donor and a Vice President, representing and promoting the Community Foundation’s ideals and many causes.
Since retirement, she has travelled extensively and experienced much need abroad but believes that charity begins at home and home is where the heart is. She therefore included the Community Foundation in her will and hopes not to spend it all before her time.
Following her Cordon Bleu Diploma (London), Debbie worked in France, Australia, Switzerland, Antigua and London. She became a Konditorin (German Pastry Chef) and then spent time in Austria, Switzerland & Germany before qualifying as a Konditormeisterin (German Master Pastry Chef).
Debbie established Brock Chocolates (a small business 1999-2005) in Newport Pagnell opening two shops.
Debbie is very active locally, as amongst other commitments she has been;
- An Elected Member Milton Keynes Council Representing the Olney ward 2006-2014
- Mayor of Milton Keynes 2010-2011
- Cabinet Member Adult Social Care, Health & Wellbeing 2011-2014
- Health & Wellbeing Board Steering Group Member
- Chair the Milton Keynes Health & Wellbeing Board 2012-2014
- Member Milton Keynes Hospital Council of Governors 2011-2014
- Member of the Milton Keynes Adoption Panel and later Fostering & Adoption Panel 2011-2016
- Chair the Milton Keynes Cenotaph Trust co-commissioner of the Milton Keynes Rose
- Commission as a Deputy Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire 2015
Debbie is married to Peter Geary and they have a daughter Frankie who is 12 years old. Peter remains an elected Member of Milton Keynes Council. He has represented the Olney Ward since he was first elected in 2008.
Debbie is a farmer and her and Peter run a small farm at Tathall End, Hanslope. From their home at Emberton they keep Southdown Sheep, Devon & Cornwall Longwool Sheep (a rare breed), a small herd of Lincoln Red Cattle and geese. A passion is horse riding which keeps her fit and active. Since the loss of her father in 2019 my mother, Debbie’s mother, Patricia Brock, is very much part of their daily lives.
Peter and Debbie began the renovation of their house in 2014 undertaking a much of the work themselves. What started as a temporary move to Debbie’s parents somehow turned in to 4 very happy years! They moved back to their own home at the end of 2018, but the house is still a work in progress.
Anne began working as our part-time Data Officer in January 2020. She is responsible for the administration of our customer relationship management system and offers other staff training on the various processes needed for their role. Furthermore, Anne produces quarterly KPI packs for staff and the board of trustees and has the responsibility of reconciling the CRM with the accounting software that the foundation uses. When she’s not working, Anne enjoys country walks & birdwatching and caring for her grandson two days a week.
Sean is a Chartered Management Accountant as has worked in strategic finance roles for the past 15 years. Currently, Sean is a Finance Director within Network Rail and is responsible for a busy finance department, looking after the railways between Birmingham and London. He has spent much of his career working in principle analyst roles, promoting the benefits of databased decision making and specialising in corporate reporting.
Most recently, Sean has been responsible for the management and implementation of the national efficiency portfolio and is committed to ensuring organisations are as financially fit and cost conscious as is possible. Sean is also a member of Network Rail’s cultural fusion network and promotes volunteering and charitable activities across the organisation.
Sean is married to Anne-Marie and they have one young son. Sean grew up in Grimsby but made his way down to Milton Keynes 7 years ago and now lives very happily in Olney and has very much made the town his home. Whilst not working, Sean has a keen interest in music, plays the guitar very badly and still tries to attend as many music festivals as he can get to.
Jill is a lawyer. She was a partner in a London firm of solicitors for 12 years before choosing a life without commuting and then enjoyed several years working in a firm in Milton Keynes.
She lives in rural Milton Keynes, near Newport Pagnell, with her husband and daughter, where they have been for over 20 years. She has been a trustee of a local charitable trust for many years through which she was introduced to the Milton Keynes Community Foundation. She has been a trustee of the Foundation since 2016.
Her interests include theatre, live music, art galleries, swimming, watching tennis and rugby and walking her two labradors.
I started working as a Receptionist/Conference Co-Ordinator in June 2021.
This entails booking meetings via email or over the phone, greeting people at reception, showing clients office spaces and meeting rooms, dealing with IT issues and replenishing coffee machines.
When I’m at home I like to go for walks round MK lakes, knitting, and creating new art items: I’ve made a planter out of a cut down tree trunk, I have plants growing in it. I’ve just completed 2 Fir Cone Xmas Trees 1 in Gold & 1 in Pink; my next task is making a cone out of Xmas Bauble Baubles.
A natural communicator, business leader and public servant, Nicholas is as confident in a boardroom, civic reception, or strategy meeting, as he is in a networking environment, leading a team or understanding emerging technologies.
Throughout his successful career, Nicholas has consistently proven his commercial and technical acumen having founded both a software company, which he sold lucratively, and the region’s oldest digital marketing agency, Interdirect, in which he continues to take a leading role.
As a champion of his community, public service and supporting the third sector have long been central tenets of Nicholas’ life. He has supported a variety of local organisations, most notably as Vice President, Milton Keynes Community Foundation, an organisation that he has supported for over 18 years.
In addition, Nicholas chairs the Milton Keynes Business Leaders Partnership, a membership organisation comprised of significant businesses based within the local area. Throughout his two years as chair, he has successfully modernised the organisation to ensure its corporate governance, executive practices, and membership demographic exceed contemporary standards of transparency, equality, diversity, and inclusion. Having now ‘steadied the ship’, a job made much harder by the pandemic, Nicholas strives to ensure Milton Keynes and its satellite towns, including the county of Buckinghamshire, unite to capitalise upon the opportunities presented by the Arc, by competing actively with the cities at its poles.
Aged 52, Nicholas lives in Stoke Goldington with his three (mostly) adult children. Away from the throng, he relaxes by coaching rugby at his local club, trying to cook authentic Asian cuisine and enjoying the footpaths of the beautiful Buckinghamshire countryside.
Precious is an experienced professional and executive with 20 years' experience delivering high value projects and programmes across retail, commercial, residential and infrastructure sectors. Precious is CEO of Perspectif Ltd, a PR Communications and Content Agency and Partner at Queensbury Consulting a management consultancy firm.
She is passionate about changing narratives and building sustainable relationships, she also has a keen interest in raising the profile of STEM careers and is a Mentor with the Aleto Foundation whose purpose is to celebrate success and support future leaders.
As a resident of Milton Keynes herself she is passionate about being intrinsically embedded into the community. The foundation will enable her to strategically support and draw from her professional experience to input into an organisation aligned to her own purpose of uplifting, improving, and empowering the MK community and surrounding areas.
Fola has worked for many years with large multinationals in the private sector as a strategy consultant, a business leader and a partner with one of the top accounting firms in the UK. Her public sector experience leading a portfolio of international multimillion pounds project in Africa and South Asia through her company, Indisys Business Solutions, led to her being awarded an honorary degree by the Open University. Fola also worked for both HSBC and IBM in a number of senior roles including as IBM’s Head of Diversity for UK Ireland and South Africa.
Fola has an MBA in Finance from City University London, a postgraduate diploma in IT from Brunel University & a BSc in Architecture. She currently chairs and sits on a number of local and regional boards and she has been Chair of the Milton Keynes Community Foundation and Milton Keynes College. In 2017, Fola was appointed a Vice President with the British Red Cross and Milton Keynes Community Foundation, and was also invited to become a Companion to the Chartered Management Institute. She was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant for Buckinghamshire in 2015 and in June 2016 she was awarded an MBE for services to business and community.
In addition to directing ForMK, a charity dedicated to investing Milton Keynes, Fola chairs the board of Milton Keynes Christian Centre and Into The Community (which includes MK Foodbank). She serves on the board of World Vision UK and Thames Valley Partnership. She also leads Fresh Inspiration and Fresh Youth MK following her retirement from Mazars, where she was a UK partner and Global Lead for International Development, providing leadership with international donor agencies who require consultancy, audit and assurance support. Prior to this Fola was Managing Director of Indisys Business Solutions, directing a £21.6 million portfolio of award-winning development projects in 14 countries located in Africa and South Asia for the Open University.
Peter moved to Milton Keynes in 1980 and gradually became involved in the voluntary sector in Milton Keynes in the early 90s, when he decided to manage more of his business interests from home. He is a qualified accountant with a history of management buyouts and investments in trading companies and has also served terms on the boards of local NHS organisations.
His involvement in the Milton Keynes Community Foundation started at the request of its then Chief Executive and his dear friend and neighbour, Tim Hill, to assist with the assessment of financial viability of organisations applying for grants.
Appointed as a Trustee of the Foundation in 1995, together with Francesca Skelton and Michael Murrey, he was asked later to join the board of its subsidiary, MK Community Properties Limited and has served terms as chair of both organisations.
He became an ardent supporter of the ethos underlying Community Foundations following meetings with a Mott Foundation representative sent to the UK to promote a partnership challenge between CAF and Mott in 1990 to stimulate endowments in the UK and was delighted, during his term as Chair of the Foundation, to see it produce its first Vital Signs report based on Canadian Community Foundation models released in 2011.
The importance of the Vital Signs Report was not only to highlight issues of deprivation affecting the growing community of Milton Keynes, but also to provide a much-needed focus for the Community Foundation’s grant-giving programme, enabling it to address some of the issues raised in the report in a targeted way at a time when demand for such grants was expanding.
Since leaving the Community Foundation board he has continued to encourage individuals and companies to support the Community Foundation financially in its vision to the create a community in Milton Keynes where equality of access to education, health, mental well-being, employment, leisure and the arts can lift the lives of those for whom such access is limited or difficult. Leaving such deprivation unaddressed, he urges, ultimately has a negative impact on the quality of life of all who reside in that community and therefore the combined perceptions of philanthropy and self-interest should be an incentive to all to become involved.
He promotes the idea that using the Community Foundation as a one-stop conduit provides the advantage of being able to support one or more causes close to donors’ hearts in the knowledge that the impact of their contribution will be enhanced by the professional and ethical processes imbedded in the Foundation’s operations to maximise positive social outcomes in a cost-effective, fair, and efficient manner.
Ian has worked for the Community Foundation for over 5 years as the Chief executive. His role is focused on supporting the staff team deliver on their objectives, liaising with the Board of Trustees in providing strategic leadership.
Ian works closely with the Strategic Leadership Team of directors and managers, with the Chair of Trustees, with all the trustees individually and in groups and our amazingly engaged President and Vice-Presidents to deliver the organisations strategic plans.
Ian prioritises engagement with the amazing diversity of supporters, working with partners and visiting and engaging with the groups the Community Foundation support. He has a major role in supporting philanthropy in Milton Keynes and in the development and growth of the Community Properties the Foundation is custodian of.
Ian says: “I really enjoy my job, especially engaging with the many people who deliver amazing, life-changing projects, programmes and services across the borough. I feel it is a real privilege to meet with individual philanthropists, companies and organisation who are doing all they can to bring about change as I see that our focus on Funding fairness is inspiring many more people to get involved in their communities”.
I joined MKCF in Jan 2019 as a Philanthropy Manager, and became a Philanthropy Director after 10 months. Working with Ranjit, I oversee the Philanthropy team who look after our fundholders, donors; supporters and grantees. In addition I have oversight of the Capacity Building programme, Marketing and Communications team with particular responsibility for the production of our annual Vital signs reports. To relax I enjoy travelling to new places both in the UK and overseas, singing with my fellow Rockies and spending time with family and friends.
Sarah began working as our Director of Finance in November 2019. She is responsible for overseeing everything financial, as well as ensuring accounts are produced in a timely and accurate manner. The pandemic has meant that a lot of Sarah’s time has been spent focusing on projections, forward planning and cashflow management. When she’s not working, Sarah enjoys life on her smallholding, with her husband and three daughters. Most of her time away from work is spent outside in wellies, dealing with animals!
Robert has lived and worked in Buckinghamshire all his life. He was the Administration Director for a large Insurance Group, with responsibility for their premises and employees in its head office near High Wycombe and other offices in the City of London and Essex.
Robert moved to Chicheley, near Newport Pagnell, with his wife Claire and two sons in the mid-1980s and has been actively involved in all aspects of the management of the family farm.
Robert is Chairman of the Buckinghamshire CLA (Country Land and Business Association); a member of the Thames Valley Rural Crime Partnership (TVRCP); a member of the Milton Keynes Independent Advisory Group (IAG); Chair of the Rural North & East Community Forum and of Chicheley Parish Meeting.
Robert is a Trustee of The Buckinghamshire Historic Churches Trust and a Trustee of a small local Charitable Trust that is a MK Community Foundation Fund holder.
He has been a Vice President since 2011 and former Chair of the Grants Panel. He is passionate about the Community Foundation’s ability to provide support to the voluntary and community sectors of Milton Keynes.
Vanessa has been working as Operations Director for almost 9 years. She is responsible for ensuring the safe and effective use of the 2 Central Milton Keynes buildings as well as overseeing the operation of the Conference Centre. When she is not working Vanessa enjoys getting out for long country walks with her husband and also spends a lot of time with her 3 young grandchildren. Vanessa is also a Family Magistrate and regularly sits on the bench in the Northamptonshire family courts.
Arif Master has been a qualified Optician and Contact Lens specialist by Profession for the past 32 years and is the founder and owner of an independent Practice in Milton Keynes, which he opened in 1995. Prior to this, Arif worked for Dollond & Aitchison Opticians as a Practice Manager in Buckingham.
Currently, Arif is pursuing higher qualifications in minor eye conditions and Glaucoma.
Arif works with his wife Sukaina, who is the Practice Manager, and he aspires to set up an eye camp and develop eye care services in the villages in Tanzania for the underprivileged in future years.
Born in the Spice Island of Zanzibar, Tanzania, Arif came to the UK in 1979 for further studies, and has been living in Milton Keynes since 1985.
At present, Arif is serving as Vice–chairman in the Council of Faiths and is a proud Executive member of Interfaith Milton Keynes, representing Zainabiya Islamic Centre of Milton Keynes.
Arif and his wife Sukaina have two daughters, Zainab and Fatema. He enjoys travelling and has visited many countries around the world, such as Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Morocco, Tunisia, Russia and Europe.
His main belief in life is that everything should be kept in harmony. People have to keep in balance in all spheres of life, society, work, family and friendship. Volunteering is his personal way to keep balance; He connects with people from all walks of life which has broadened his horizons and world view. Doing good for others and the community has helped him to create a natural sense of accomplishment.
Keith spent nearly 50 years working in Information Technology, with roles in programming, systems analysis, project leadership, sales and latterly project management. The last 3 years of Keith’s working life was spent as Executive Office Manager for Iain Stewart, MP for Milton Keynes South, ensuring that businesses, schools, voluntary organisations and charities received visits from their MP.
Since 2011, Keith has been a ward councillor at Milton Keynes Council. Keith was Mayor of Milton Keynes form May 2015 – May 2016. It was during this period that Keith gained an insight into Milton Keynes Community Foundation and he has continued to support the Community Foundation from then.
Using contacts made during his time working for Iain Stewart and as a Councillor, Keith has been able to promote the Community Foundation.
Keith is married to Vicki, also a MK Community Foundation Vice-President, and they have one daughter, Isla. Sport has been a major part of Keith’s life, with rugby union and tennis being the prime focus. Olney Rugby Football Club’s colours are Cerise and French Grey; many people recall Keith wearing his club blazer at many events during his Mayoral year. Other interests that Keith has include travel and walking, usually with between one and three dogs!
Emberton is the village where the McLeans have lived since 1990 and Keith has fully participated in village events throughout that period; the adage being if you put effort into a community you will get much from it!
Titi is the Financial Controller. She is responsible for the accounting operations on a day-to-day basis and record keeping of one of the entities at the foundation. Titi also moonlights as a cake decorator in her spare time and likes to travel.
Peter has a real passion for sport and is a 2012 Olympian. He dedicates making it into the GB team to his community as he took part in lots of free sports programmes growing up and was really inspired by the opportunities he was given. He feels passionate to now work for the Foundation and help charities, clubs and groups to support them to be able to deliver such worthwhile programmes in Milton Keynes.
When Peter isn’t working with the foundation, he enjoys watching the NBA and running Nutri Troops, an interactive primary school programme to teach children the importance of exercise and healthy living through animation and imagination.
Chris is a retired Chartered Surveyor, having been a fellow of the RICS and, for a number of years, serving as a Vice President. He has over forty years’ experience in the residential market and the Social Housing sector.
Chris has served as a trustee for the Milton Keynes Parks Trust and currently is Chair of Greensleeves Care, a charity running twenty-five care homes predominantly in the east and south of the country. He has also served as a town councillor in Olney, his home town.
Chris is married to Sue and, between them, they have five children. Throughout his life Chris has played and enjoyed sport, particularly rugby, having played for both Bishops Stortford and Ipswich rugby clubs in his youth. A few games for Olney Veterans when he moved to the town convinced him that his body had endured enough!
Chris also loves music, with tastes running from jazz, pop and rock through to Beethoven. A keen walker for many years, Chris now settles for gentle strolls rather than long distance treks. He and Sue also like to travel with a variety of destinations both visited and planned.
Kurshida has a research, policy and strategy background working for local and central government with a strong track record in social action. She designed and supported delivery of Homes England’s Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund, Homelessness Change and Platform for Life and was the lead for the Vulnerable and Older People Advisory Group.
Kurshida is Chair of Midlands Region of the Housing Learning and
Improvement Network (Housing LIN). Within the Housing LIN, Kurshida has lead the debate to draw attention to the need for better evidence on the housing and support needs and aspirations of older people from BAME communities. This culminated in the joint Race Equality Foundation and Housing LIN report – Housing and the older ethnic minority population in England (Feb 2019). She is also a lead voice in the “Ageing well in BAME communities” with a recent summit bringing housing providers and policy makers together at a summit in October 2019.
Kurshida was the Chair of Citizens MK from 2016 – 2019 and Board member of Midsummer Housing Association (now part of the Guinness Trust Partnership). Kurshida is married with two children and has lived in Milton Keynes since 1990. She has a passion for
working with communities and has developed a unique vehicle in Milton Keynes for engaging with diverse communities and in particular Muslims and faith-based communities who are seldom heard and less visible. Kurshida is the founder of Trubys Garden Tea Room, an interfaith café promoting dialogue between Muslims and the wider community in MK. She also founded and created the annual Great Get Together Iftar in 2017 to bring the diverse communities in MK to celebrate Ramadan with the Muslim community attracting over 1000 attendees.
Becoming a Deputy Lieutenant in 1995 and subsequently holding the role of High Sheriff gave Elizabeth the most rewarding opportunity to get to know Milton Keynes. The Community Foundation offered an in-depth insight into the challenges facing the city, and also enabled her to meet so many of the leading players. As a former chairman of Heart of Bucks, the Buckinghamshire Community Foundation, she has developed an understanding of how Community Foundations can work to improve and build stronger communities. Through active networking and collaboration, she has been able to give both validity and encouragement to those groups working with the most deprived and vulnerable members of the community and through developing connections with MK Islamic Arts and Culture she has opened up opportunities to strengthen social cohesion.
Her career as a teacher has enabled her to play a pivotal role in school governance, and when High Sheriff she was able to champion education in the county. Having a particular interest in music, she has been central to founding a new orchestra, providing support for music festivals and societies, both in and outside the county, and encouraging local music making. It is very much her vision to develop partnerships with business and the statutory bodies to bring people with shared goals together thus enhancing community involvement and fostering a sense of belonging. Her recent appointment as HM Lord-Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire will enable her to focus fully on what makes Milton Keynes special and in what ways she may be able to help the city achieve its goals.
Janet has been with the Community Foundation since April 2019. She is the Executive Assistant to the CEO and is also responsible for the key administration functions of the Foundation. Outside of work Janet loves spending time with her family, arts & crafts and reading.
Jamie joined the team as Finance Apprentice in April 2017. He completed Level 3 and 4 Apprenticeships in accounting alongside full AAT Qualification. He is responsible for credit control, bank reconciliations, purchase and sales ledgers as well as contributing towards our monthly management accounts. Outside of work, Jamie enjoys playing squash and watching football and Formula 1.
Emily joined as a Philanthropy Manager in December 2019, she looks after the Arts & Heritage, Local Environment and Housing and Transport Vital Signs areas. As well as advising on grant applications and completing grant assessments, she also looks after our Corporate Membership, Friends of MK Community Foundation programme, Localgiving match fund challenges and the annual car raffle. When she’s not working she enjoys taking her two dogs for walks and playing the flute and ukulele.
Shammi completed her BA and PGCE in Religious Studies at Kings College London and MA in Religious Education at UCL.
Originally from Luton, she moved to Milton Keynes in 2005 and has been teaching Philosophy and Religion for 18 years. She is currently the Head of Humanities Faculty at Denbigh School.
As an RE consultant, SACRE member and recently appointed National Executive leader for NATRE, Shammi has been actively involved in promoting RE, interfaith dialogue and the inclusion of non-religious worldviews.
She is the founder of Youth SACRE MK which is a group of teachers and students that work together to improve RE and promote freedom of thought across primary and secondary schools in Milton Keynes. In 2017, Shammi was awarded an Equality award for outstanding contribution to religion and faith and in 2018 she received the change-maker education award.
Shammi has been a member of the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee and she worked with the local council and secondary schools as a consultant for the CCSSC community cohesion project. She has supported collaborative projects such as MK2050 plans by promoting student voice and collaborative work with the RS department at the Open University.
“I am passionate about supporting our most disadvantaged in society through the power of education. I believe that education and positive experiences are the most powerful tools that can help both adults and children to set free from the problems that we often see in our society.
I feel very lucky to have settled here in Milton Keynes, purely by accident as we stumbled across the beautiful lakes. I am proud of what this town has offered my children in terms of opportunities and wonderful green spaces. Milton Keynes represents an egalitarian, peaceful and forward thinking community with so much to offer future generations. I would like to support the foundation through further collaboration and bringing the views of our young people to the table. Our young people are full of love and compassion for the needy and want to be more involved in supporting their communities. I would like to utilise their wonderful ideas and make them a reality.
I feel very lucky to have gained so much from living here and this is an opportunity to give back and help the foundation with my contacts and experiences to widen the network.”
Shaun has over 35 years’ experience in international banking working with Corporate customers and Financial institutions. He has worked as a Director for Deutsche Bank and two other major American Banks and also lived in Dublin for three years. As well as being an expert in international Trade Finance, his roles included managing large diverse regional and global teams with different cultures and needs. He is strategically minded, solution orientated and passionate about people development.
Shaun is married to Susan and lives near Stony Stratford with two grown up daughters, one who is a nurse at the Milton Keynes hospital and the other who works for a local charity. Interests include playing golf and table tennis, listening to music, watching football and rugby and travelling.
Shaun has successfully worked alongside the Philanthropy team for a number of years and is currently chair of the Philanthropy & Grants committee.
Sandra began working as our Philanthropy Team Assistant in November 2019. She looks after the administration support for the Philanthropy team (grant applications and monitoring) as well as the processing of all the donations. When she’s not working, Sandra enjoys live theatre and music, gardening, and genealogy.
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