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Closing date
29 Mar 2024

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Management, Trustees & Chair, Volunteering
Part Time
Contract Type
Board / C-Suite

The Kennedy Memorial Trust is seeking TWO new Trustees to join its Board from October 2024, one with university academic experience and one with operational management experience, to succeed Trustees who have reached the end of their terms of office.

The Kenned Memorial Trust funds exceptional UK students to pursue graduate studies at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Set up as a ‘living memorial’ to President Kennedy following his assassination, the Trust has funded some 600 Kennedy Scholars since the first cohort departed in 1966. The strong trustee board is chaired by Sir Mark Walport.

The specific experience and skills we are seeking to recruit in these two roles are:

·       Trustee 1: Current or recent experience as a an academic in a UK university, with insight into the landscape of postgraduate opportunities, outreach and selection, and good practice in supporting student welfare.

·       Trustee 2: Experience and skills in operational management, covering issues such as IT, finance and HR systems, project oversight and risk management.

We are keen to strengthen the diversity of the Board and – reflecting the UK basis of the charity - hope to recruit at least one Trustee who lives or works in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. We encourage those with all backgrounds and characteristics to apply. Please do let us know if you need support to make your application.


The Trust

The Kennedy Memorial Trust funds exceptional UK students to pursue graduate studies at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Set up as a ‘living memorial’ to President Kennedy following his assassination, the Trust has funded some 600 Kennedy Scholars since the first cohort departed in 1966. 


The Trust prides itself on the talent and service of the candidates it selects. Following their time at Harvard or MIT, scholars have gone on to play leading roles in the UK and across the world, in public service, the law, science/technology, health, education, business, charities, the arts and media. Alumni of the programme include Lady Mary Arden (Supreme Court Justice from 2018 to 2022), Lord Mervyn King (Bank of England Governor from 2003 to 2013). David Miliband (ex Foreign Secretary, now CEO of the International Rescue Committee), Dame Kate Bingham (Chair of the UK Government's Vaccine Taskforce), Zanny Minton Beddoes (Editor-in-Chief, The Economist), Sir Richard Moore (Chief of MI6) and Matt Clifford (CEO of Entrepreneur First and Chair of the UK's Advanced Research and Invention Agency).  

Originally funded by public donation, the Trust has an endowment of around £16 million. It has developed a medium-scale fundraising programme over the last decade, and now intends to grow both its alumni activity and its fundraising, taking advantage of the forthcoming 60th anniversary of the first scholarships being awarded. An externally conducted feasibility study for the fundraising programme is underway at present.

The Trust is supported by a small administrative team. A new Director has just been appointed. The team is being strengthened to reflect plans for increased fundraising and alumni relations activity: a part-time executive assistant is in post, and a fundraising/alumni relations specialist will be recruited later in the spring.


The Trust is a registered charity overseen by a ten-person Trustee board chaired by Professor Sir Mark Walport. Many but not all of the Trustees are former Kennedy Scholars. The current recruitment is to replace Stephanie Flanders and Professor Fiona Macpherson, who will have served two five-year terms by Autumn 2024.


What Trustees do in the Kennedy Trust


As with any charity, Trustees are responsible for the general control and management of the administration of the charity. It is the role of Trustees to develop and update the charity’s strategy and oversee its work to deliver it.  Trustees support and challenge the executive team to deliver on the charity's goals, oversee the charity’s finances, approve its policies, manage risks, and help to build its external networks.


In the Kennedy Trust, selection of scholars is a key annual activity: a number of Trustees are asked to be involved in the short-listing process, and Trustees also participate in two days of face-to-face interviews (currently in early January).


A recent Board Development Review has established a revised structure of sub-committees to handle detailed issues in a time-efficient way, and make more time for strategy within the Board itself. The new sub-committees are set out below.


Finance, operations and audit (Chair: Tilly Franklin)


Financial strategy Budget planning and monitoring Business plan creation and monitoring Investments Report and accounts Operational systems (offices, IT, CRM, data protection, and related projects) Care of the Runnymede Memorial Academic, scholarships, and welfare (Chair: Sir Mark Walport)  


Oversee competition, ad, stipend etc Conduct long- and shortlisting of applicants Review scholar feedback and recommend any changes in light of it Diversity Support handling of welfare cases Oversee means-testing Alumni and fundraising (Chair: Moira Wallace)


Alumni engagement Event planning (for alumni/donors/ stakeholders) Fundraising strategy, delivery, policies, donor recognition Impact report Website redevelopment External communications Nominations, people, and board development (Chair: Mary Ann Sieghart)


Board development and evaluation Articulation and review of governance framework Staff recruitment, remuneration, HR matters Trustee recruitment Chair recruitment (2025) Preparation of strategy session working with Chair and other sub-committees  Time commitment and specific contributions sought


The time commitment for Trustees is:


Attendance at and preparation for three 2-3 hour board meetings a year, in spring, summer and autumn. In-person attendance is encouraged at all meetings, especially the summer meeting. Participation in two days of interviews in person in London in January. Participation in at least one of the board’s sub-committees (2-3 meetings, usually online). Ad hoc and occasional support to the Board and to the executive team on issues within the Trustee’s skillset. Where possible, attendance at trust events such as the annual summer reception, the annual lecture, and other ad hoc alumni gatherings. Qualities and experience sought


For all Trustees we seek:


Enthusiasm and energy to support the purpose and future of the Kennedy Trust and the Kennedy scholarships Ability to think creatively and strategically, exercise good judgement and work well within a team Experience of governance in a profit or not-for-profit setting Commitment to stay up to date with good practice in charity governance and in candidate interviewing A strong personal commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion, and to widening access for underrepresented groups in higher education Professionalism in handling sensitive and confidential information about individuals In addition:


For the academic trustee we are looking for


·       Current or recent experience as a an academic in a UK university


·       Someone who would make a good contribution to the Academic, Scholarships, and Welfare sub-committee, whose major task will be to conduct and oversee the shortlisting process each Autumn


·       A good understanding of how study options at Harvard and MIT fit with the wider landscape of postgraduate opportunities elsewhere


·       Extensive experience of candidate selection and good practice in shortlisting, interview, and selection


·       The ability to add value to the Trust’s ambitions to further widen diversity of the scholar pool


·       Insight into, and experience of, handling welfare issues for postgraduates and supporting candidates to make a success of their award.


·       No academic discipline is ruled in or out. However, when the current Chair reaches the end of his term we shall lose our only Trustee with a medical background. This is therefore a gap we hope to fill at some point in the next few rounds of recruitment.


For the operational trustee we are looking for:


·       significant experience of operational issues gained, for example, as a COO, CEO,  project or programme director, operations director, or in a start-up


·       someone who would make a good contribution to the Finance, Operations and Audit Committee


·       proven experience in business planning, risk management, and project planning and management


·       someone who can assist the Trust in some of the operational projects that lie ahead, such as modernising its administration, data-systems, website and records, and overseeing a move to more flexible office accommodation


Terms of appointment


·       Trustees are appointed for a five-year term of office, renewable for a further five years maximum.


·       These are unpaid positions, but reasonable expenses are reimbursed.


 Application process


Applications should be in the form of a CV and a covering letter which outlines why you are looking to become a Trustee with us and what skills you bring.


Applications should be sent before 9am on 2nd April 2024. Face to face interviews will take place on 19th April 2024 in London , or - in exceptional circumstances - virtually or on another day.


References will be taken during the process and candidates will be asked to confirm that they have not been/would not be disqualified as a Trustee.


As part of the Kennedy Memorial Trust Trustee recruitment process, names will be submitted to No 10 for formal appointment by the Prime Minister.


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