Ref: 7367

The Pilgrim Trust

United Kingdom

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Role coordinated by:

George Hourmouzios

Principal Research Associate, Social Impact & Environment Practice

t: +44 (0) 20 7340 6246


Primary Practice Group: Social Impact and Environment

Salary & Benefits: Unremunerated

Closing Date: 29/07/2024

American philanthropist Edward Stephen Harkness founded the Pilgrim Trust in 1930 by endowing it with a capital sum of just over £2 million for charitable purposes within the United Kingdom.

Our original endowment has enabled us to support a wide range of causes, adapting to the changing circumstances and needs in the UK. The freedom and flexibility this has allowed the Trustees, which has enabled us to make innovating and pioneering decisions, is part of what makes the Pilgrim Trust so special.

Each year, we give around £3 million in grants to charities and other public bodies that focus on preserving the UK’s heritage or on bringing about social change. We also fund activities such as research and advocacy that catalyse wider, structural changes. Our aims are to improve the life chances of the most vulnerable and preserve the best of our past for the public to enjoy.

Following the successful leadership of Sir Mark Jones, we are seeking a Chair to lead us into the next period of our long history. You will be instrumental in achieving our goals and will provide support and counsel to the Director and to the Board as we face various strategic questions in the years to come. This is an exciting time to join the Trust as it looks ahead to its centenary.

You will hold a demonstrable interest in our work.  You will have a track record of prior non-executive experience, with experience in or strong familiarity with our broad focus areas across either social change or conservation and preservation. Ideally, you will bring experience of occupying a leadership or board role within the charitable and/or grant-making sector and experience of working with or within the Civil Service or NGOs. You will bring a low-ego, consensus oriented, and diplomatic approach to Chairing, with the ability to lead a strong Board and an understanding of the dynamics of Board working, and the need for a strong and positive relationship with executive management.

You will be a compelling advocate for the Trust externally with the ability to support the Director in building and maintaining Pilgrim Trust's high standing and reputation. We are looking for someone who combines good judgement with excellent strategic and diplomatic skills, as well as the capacity and ability to engage with intellectual discussions on a broad range of topics.  

The Pilgrim Trust is keen to receive applications from a broad range of individuals and to consider various professional backgrounds for the role. Although there is a preference for those with experience gained in the charitable and grant-making sectors, we encourage applications from those who may be less familiar with those sectors, but who would offer the requisite skills to Chair and a passion for preserving the UK’s heritage and bringing about social change. 

We are committed to encouraging equality, diversity and inclusion amongst the representatives who serve on the Board and for it to be representative of the communities within which it works now and in future.  As such, we encourage applications from a diverse range of candidates from all cultural or socio-economic backgrounds. 


For further details, including the job description, person specification, please select 'Download Further Details' below.  

Candidates wishing to apply should submit a CV (including comprehensive details of key achievements and responsibilities) along with a covering letter which fully addresses the competencies outlined in the role description and person specification.

The closing date for applications is 09.00 (GMT) on Monday 29th July 2024. 

The Pilgrim Trust will be supported in this appointment by executive search firm Perrett Laver.



For a conversation in confidence, please contact Principal Research Associate, George Hourmouzios at or +44 (0)20 7340 6246.

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