The Co-op Foundation has welcomed two new trustees to its board, as it hails a move into “a new era” as the Co-op Goup’s charity.
Hope Levy-Shepherd, 27, and George Imafidon, 24, have been brought in to represent young people in decisions.
Ms Levy-Shepherd is co-founder and director of the Black British City Group, a social enterprise connecting junior professionals in the UK with opportunities to volunteer and make a positive community impact in local charities, schools and small businesses.
She is also a solicitor at Linklaters LLP, specialising in corporate mergers and acquisitions and has been recognised as a Yahoo EMPower Top 100 Future Leader in 2021. She was also a highly commended rising star in the 2019 UK Diversity Legal Awards. Hope brings with her a passion for Co-op Foundation’s vision of bringing people together and building strong communities.
Mr Imafidon is founder and CEO of Motivez and chaired the #AB1Million campaign to raise £1m to ensure talented men of African and Caribbean descent can excel in education and beyond. In 2020, George was appointed to the board of the Lewis Hamilton Commission.
The Foundation says the appointments reflect its “commitment to developing the diversity of its own board and encouraging other organisations to do the same”.
In 2020, the Foundation awarded a grant to the Young Trustees Movement to help encourage young people to apply for trustee positions.
It also awarded funding to Getting on Board to help them work in partnership with the campaign group, Action for Trustee Racial Diversity, to develop resources to help charities recruit and retain Black and Asian trustees.
Jamie Ward-Smith, Co-op Foundation chair, said: “I am pleased we’ve taken the steps within our own organisation to deliver the commitments we’ve made to improving trustee diversity through funding organisations such as The Young Trustee Movement and Action for Trustee Racial Diversity (ATRD).
“It is a privilege to welcome such bright, young, talented people to our board. Our new trustees will be essential to bringing an authentic youth voice as we continue to fund youth-led organisations and look to our ‘new era’ as the Foundation through a brand-new strategy coming next year.”
Ms Levy-Shepherd said: “I am delighted and proud to join the Co-op Foundation’s Board of Trustees. I have always been drawn to the Co-op Foundation’s incredible work investing in local communities’ capacity to overcome their challenges and the focus on empowering young people to make a difference. I look forward to bringing my experience of working closely with a range of grassroots charities and schools to this exciting new role.”
Mr Imafidon said: “I am honoured and grateful to join the Co-op Foundation Board of Trustees. It is a privilege to be able to use my voice for so many of us that feel unseen and fund organisations that our communities across the UK need the most.
“I am looking forward to using my experience and insights to support the board and bring about some real change.”