Leeds Community Foundation (LCF) transforms lives and communities across Leeds and Bradford by connecting philanthropic people with local causes that matter to them.

Operating for over 15 years, they are the largest community funder in Yorkshire and one of 47 accredited community foundations in the UK. Annual grant-making ranges from £3-5million, funded by donations from individuals, families, businesses, local authorities and the Government.

Working with grass-roots community groups that understand the needs of the communities they serve, their focus is on creating a fair and inclusive society, bringing a wealth of opportunities to often marginalised communities, including skills, education, culture and employment.

Context.

After over eight years with the Foundation, six of those as CEO, Kate Hainsworth would step away from her duties in December 2023.

The new CEO would come in during the development of LCF’s new strategic plan with the focus on strengthening its position to provide a stable, long-term resource for the people of Leeds and Bradford.

They would join the organisation at a time of challenges from recent global turbulence, including the pandemic, a challenging cost-of-living crisis, and shifting trends in philanthropy, which have resulted in falling donations at a time of greater need.

Brief.

The new CEO of Leeds Community Foundation would be passionate about the impact that Leeds Community Foundation can make while understanding the complexities of instigating change in communities facing entrenched inequity.

They would need experience in raising substantial charitable funds and an understanding of current charity governance and modern grant-making practices.

With diversity, equity and inclusion at their heart, they would work internally to inspire staff to achieve even more, communicating complex messages in an accessible and comprehensive manner. Externally, they would build and maintain strong relationships with various stakeholders, including community groups, donors, and public sector entities.

LCF recognised that diversity in leadership across the third sector is not reflective of the diversity of their communities and was open to applications from those seeking their first Chief Executive role.

Outcome.

Peridot Partners began the recruitment process in May 2023. Over a six-week search period, Peridot reached out to over 100 senior leaders in the Leeds Bradford area, using our networks and LCF’s networks. We also ran a concurrent marketing campaign across LinkedIn, X (formerly known as Twitter) and other advertising outlets to reach those who would not otherwise have seen the vacancy.

After a competitive interview process, the successful candidate, Steph Taylor, was appointed to take the helm as CEO in January 2024.

Beginning her career as a youth worker in Yorkshire, she is now an expert in philanthropic giving, having worked in partnership with numerous charities over their career. She brings experience in raising and distributing over £20 million annually at an international foundation while leading its strategic advisory function for government, companies, and major donors.

For the past three years, Steph has been the Deputy CEO of Leeds Community Foundation and Director of GiveBradford.

“Bill took time to challenge the panel’s thinking. He drew our attention to attributes of candidates we may have overlooked. He adapted the approach to the two-stage interview process to meet our wishes and needs…The candidates who made the long list were appropriate which demonstrated an understanding of the brief.”

Dee Reid, Deputy Chair, Leeds Community Foundation.

“Bill provided a positive, open approach and additional support was offered which was really helpful. Having a sense of the questions that would be covered really helped with my nerves, and helped me to be the best I could be! I look forward to doing justice to LCF’s mission by working collaboratively, equitably and with ambition.”

Steph Taylor, Appointed Chief Executive, Leeds Community Foundation


Bill Yuksel is our Managing Consultant for not for profit and student union recruitment, with over 35 CEO appointments across England, Wales and Scotland. With a true passion for social change and a drive to match motivated candidates with organisations where they can make a difference, please email Bill or connect with him on LinkedIn to find the leaders you need for your community foundation.