The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (JRCT) wishes to appoint a co-opted member to join its Power and Accountability Committee from December 2021. The Committee is looking in particular for someone with experience of power and accountability in relation to the media.


Under the Power and Accountability programme, the Trust makes grants to groups working to strengthen corporate accountability, democratic accountability and responsible media, and currently also to support responses to COVID-19 and structural racism. This voluntary role is an opportunity to inform the decision making of one of the main UK funders on these issues and is a great learning opportunity.  


JRCT is an endowed, charitable Quaker foundation based in York, England. The Power and Accountability Committee currently comprises four members of JRCT’s board of trustees, together with three (shortly to be four) co-opted members, supported by two staff. Further information on the history, structure and work of the Trust can be found on our website.


The Trust’s Power and Accountability Programme is working towards a vision of a world in which power is more equally shared, and in which powerful institutions are more responsive and accountable to wider society and more aligned with the long-term public interest.


JRCT is a responsive grant maker and we seek to support a variety of approaches that support systemic change from groups with ideas, expertise and passion across our broad programme areas. The programme mainly funds work in the UK, with a small number of grants for wider pan-European work. For details on the work we fund see our grants policy for the programme.


We have recently been doing work on the origins of our endowment which has identified that the Rowntree company purchased cocoa and other goods produced by enslaved people and benefited from colonial indenture. This is an important context for our future work and we will be considering the implications for our funding overall at the Trust in the year ahead and taking action to strengthen our contribution to racial justice in our grant-making, investments, governance and team diversity. In this context we particularly welcome applications from people of colour with relevant skills and expertise who might wish to join our committee.


What is involved?

The role of a co-opted member is to complement the trustees’ grant-making knowledge with expertise in the media and how it can hold powerful actors to account. Co-optees contribute to reflections on the context within which we make our grants and advise on which new applications to support as well as other issues that arise in our work. We are looking for someone with knowledge of the policy/practice landscape and current challenges and opportunities as well as an awareness of organisations working in the field. For current work areas, please read our grants policy. To see the organisations we fund, have a look at our recent grant awards.


The main work of the committee is assessing grant applications. Co-opted members are fully involved in this process, which includes reading and commenting on proposals, and contributing at the committee meetings, as well as sometimes meeting with applicants. Overall, the role requires a total commitment of around six days per year, including three days for committee meetings, two days for meeting with applicants, plus some additional time for reading and commenting on applications.


The committee usually meets three times a year, typically in February, June and October. These meetings are usually in central London, and typically run from 11.00 to 15.00, although during the pandemic we are holding meetings over zoom. Co-optees also participate in assessment meetings with applicants.  This commitment is variable, but typically might require one or two days during the year, usually in London, although, again these meetings are currently held via zoom. 


The appointment would be for three years in the first instance, with the possibility of renewal for a further period of three years.


This is a voluntary role, but all reasonable expenses are paid - including travel, accommodation and childcare if required. We will also meet claims towards loss of earnings incurred as a result of working for the Trust if applicable. We want to ensure financial concerns are not an obstacle to committee membership, so if you are interested in the role but have any financial concerns that would deter you, please don’t hesitate to speak to us. 


Person specification

The committee is seeking an individual who will be able to contribute effectively to the full range of the committee’s work, offering particular expertise on the media, including print, broadcast and digital media, and related developments affecting how the media can support accountability. We have recently appointed new co-optees with expertise in digital technology and their implications for our work programme. We are therefore keen to engage someone who has a background in journalism and experience in the press/broadcasting sphere, although we also welcome people with experience in social media.


Relevant work that we fund currently includes: campaigning and civil society engagement initiatives on the future of public service media and broadcasting in the UK, work to address structural racism in the media, and action to address online hate.


The successful candidate is likely to have direct experience of working in the media, perhaps as a journalist in press/broadcasting or online media, or in an academic setting or an NGO or infrastructure role seeking to ensure the media supports accountability. We are looking for someone who has a good understanding of mechanisms for improving accountability, both in terms of how the media can hold other powerful actors to account, and how the media can itself be more responsive to the broad range of issues of concern affecting people’s daily lives across all groups in society.


Co-optees are expected to have some knowledge of the voluntary sector, but could themselves be working in, or have a background in, any sector. Experience of grant-making is desirable but not essential.


We aim to ensure the committee is as diverse as possible, including men and women, younger as well as older people and people from Black and minority ethnic communities.


Co-optees should be in sympathy with the Quaker values of the Trust, which include a commitment to equality and the unique worth of every individual, to non-violence, and to honesty and integrity. JRCT welcomes applications from people of any faith or none.


Please note

JRCT operates a conflict of interest policy in respect of all its programme areas. Applicants are requested to fully disclose professional associations with any former or current JRCT grantees. Ideally, we prefer to appoint individuals who are not directly involved in organisations that currently receive funding or are likely to seek funding from the Trust.


To express an interest

If you would like an informal discussion about the role, please contact Katharine Knox on to arrange a call.


To apply, please send us:                                                   

  • Your contact details, including e-mail address
  • A statement, of not more than 750 words, describing what you would bring to the role
  • A current CV.

Please send this information by e-mail to:


The closing date for receipt of applications is 9.00 am on Thursday 23 September 2021. All applications will be acknowledged. If we are interested in appointing you, we will arrange a zoom call to discuss this further, provisionally on Monday 4 or Tuesday 12 October (tbc) – please keep these dates free if possible.