Lady Stephanie North has been a trustee of Oxfordshire Community Foundation since 2003, and as Chair of the Grants Panel has been a key figure in giving away £5.3 million to 1,700 different local charities and community groups. She is replaced as Grants Chair by Laura Chapman.
OCF’s Grants Panel is composed of 10 members of the local community, including representatives from the council’s youth and adult services, children and family centres, healthcare, the voluntary sector, local business and the legal profession. For the past 13 years it has been expertly chaired by OCF trustee Lady Stephanie North.
Stephanie worked as an attorney in Chicago following a degree in Jurisprudence at Oxford, and was formerly Chairman of Oxford City Magistrates, Oxfordshire Youth Court Panel and Oxfordshire Magistrates’ Association. She served as a Trustee for the Girls’ Day School Trust for many years – one of the largest charities in the UK. She was an Independent Member of the Parole Board for England and Wales, chaired the national Probation Boards Association, and worked as a national tutor for the Citizens’ Advice Bureau. She was awarded an OBE in 2000.
Stephanie has a comprehensive and detailed knowledge of the local community sector, and has taken great pleasure in playing such a pivotal role in funding it over the years. Her leadership has meant that the panel have been able to award a significant amount of community funding to an extremely diverse range of groups – many of which have enjoyed hosting Stephanie as OCF’s representative at their events and celebrations. Apart from her wisdom and excellent judgment, Stephanie brings a lively sense of humour to everything she does – and for all of these things will be most sorely missed as both Grants Panel Chair and member of OCF’s Board.
One of OCF’s newest trustees, Laura Chapman, will be ably taking the mantle as Grants Panel Chair. Laura brings a huge amount of experience to this role, having headed up the Freemasons’ Grand Charity for the past 16 years. During that time, she has overseen a grant-making programme with an annual expenditure of approximately £5m.