Meet the Team

The team at Berkshire Community Foundation

From reaching out to philanthropists, corporate partners and community groups in and around the county, to hard work behind the scenes to keep the lights on, our small but passionate team goes over and above every day to maximise the support that people in Berkshire can give to their communities.

Gerry Lejeune OBE DL, Joint CEO

Gerry has been CEO of BCF since January 2016, and was appointed Chair of the Berkshire Anti-Slavery Network in December 2018. She was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s honours list 2011 and has received two Thames Valley Venus awards: the Lifetime Achievement award in June 2018 and the national Inspirational Woman award in July 2018. In June 2021, she was appointed Deputy Lieutenant by James Puxley, the Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire.

Under Gerry’s leadership, BCF has seen a steady increase in support from key donors and stakeholders, hitting the £1 million target in annual grant giving in 2018 for the first time ever. In 2020, facing the biggest challenge in BCF’s history, Gerry and co-CEO Jon Yates raised and distributed more than £3 million to the most vulnerable across Berkshire.

Gerry’s involvement in the voluntary sector dates back to 1998, when she was the Director of the Slough Business Community Partnership. She served as Chief Executive of East Berkshire Women’s Aid from 2003 to 2012, transforming a small refuge supporting eight families into a multiple award-winning, nationally recognised centre supporting victims of domestic abuse, handling up to 10,000 calls a year.

In her spare time Gerry enjoys spending time with her husband Ray, children and five grandchildren, attending the theatre, and walking her two dogs Bertie and Betty. In her younger days she loved ballroom dancing and won her first medal dancing the cha-cha.

Jon Yates, Joint CEO

Having spent over 20 years working in accountancy, Jon came to a decision in 2008 that what he really wanted to do was to utilise his skills to help people. He joined Berkshire Community Foundation in 2019 as Chief Operating Officer, with 12 years of experience in Community Foundations – having previously served as Development Director at Wiltshire Community Foundation and Chief Executive at Dorset Community Foundation.

Jon was made joint CEO with Gerry in September 2020, overseeing BCF’s work to help local people and businesses target their philanthropy to those most in need in Berkshire’s local communities. Jon most enjoys engaging people in what BCF is able to do, discovering how it can amplify and maximise their philanthropic intentions, and, in doing so, generating resources to alleviate social injustice. As vocational as that is, Jon does allow himself time to be ignored by his teenage children, and to be, as many people are, a frustrated writer with his first novel due for completion any decade now!

Anita Herbert, Community Impact Manager

Anita Herbert joined Berkshire Community Foundation as Community Impact Manager in May 2020, with over 25 years’ experience in PR and Community Relations. Previously Anita worked at Mars for almost 30 years managing their Community Programme for over a decade, and has also worked in the not-for-profit sector – giving her perspective from both sides of the coin. 

Community is at the heart of what she does. When not working at BCF, Anita spends time volunteering for a registered charity and in most recent months has taken to a little bit of walking to try and keep fit! She lives with her daughter, who is one of two children, and is often visited by the neighbour’s cat for extra company. Anita is very much a people’s person and community certainly comes high up on her list of values which she has brought to BCF.

Ellie Philpott, Community Impact Officer

Originally from Kent, Ellie has lived in Reading and attended the University of Reading for the past 3 years. During this time she undertook an internship with BCF, helping to pull together the organisation’s 2020 Coronavirus Report. She (virtually) graduated in July 2020 with a degree in psychology and joined the BCF team shortly after.

Ellie has always been passionate about the community she lives in and especially enjoys witnessing the direct impact of BCF’s work on the people and communities that it serves. When not processing grant applications, she enjoys visiting home (especially to see her dog, Bella!), pretending to still be a student and going on the occasional ski trip.

 

Joanie Koh, Marketing and Communications Manager

Joanie was born in Singapore and moved to Reading in 2011. At BCF she leads on building and delivering the marketing and communications strategy, and oversees the roll-out of communications materials across all channels. What she loves most about her job is being able to contribute to her local community, and witnessing the impact of BCF’s support for  charities and groups in and around Berkshire.

Joanie has always loved words and writing. After almost 10 years doing PR and marketing for a range of companies and organisations, she fell in love with non-profit communications. Prior to joining BCF she spent 5 years at a sustainability non-profit as project communications manager and PR lead. In her free time she likes going for a walk with her kids, cooking, or sticking her nose in a book – and regrets not being able to do all three at the same time.

Rosanne Hall, Office Manager

Prior to joining BCF in 2015, Rosanne spent 20 years working as a board-level Executive Assistant for a global software company based in Reading. After taking redundancy, Rosanne decided to look for an alternative role and came across a part time position for a ‘lovely’ not-for-profit organisation and is still here today. She uses her exceptional organisational skills and ability to multi-task to keep the BCF office ticking over and managing the diaries of the busy Chief Executives, Gerry and Jon.

Outside of work Rosanne is a keen gardener and during lockdown enjoyed lots of long walks with her little dog Charlie. She also enjoys yoga & pilates and, like many others, has recently taken up baking with mixed results.

 

Royal Patron
Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrice of York

Corporate Patron
Panasonic UK Ltd.

President
James Puxley, Lord Lieutenant for the Royal County of Berkshire

 

Vice Presidents
Graham Barker Vice Lord Lieutenant
Dr Richard Bennett
Lord Brownlow CVO DL
Chris Dodson OBE DL
Lady Elizabeth Godsal MBE DL
Willie Hartley Russell MVO DL
Harry Henderson DL
The Rt Hon the Lord Iliffe DL
Sir Hugh Stevenson
Lady Catherine Stevenson DL
Sean Taylor DL

Trustees
Stephen Howard, Chair of Trustees
Debra Allcock Tyler
Geoff Ash
Alexander Barfield
Darren Browne
Julie Elliott
Margaret Haines MVO
Camilla Horwood
Jane Potter
Sue Roberts
Sean Taylor DL

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