Community Foundation's chief executive to step down

The chief executive of South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation (SYCF) is stepping down next year after more than a decade of service.

Ruth Willis is retiring as CEO of SYCF in Spring 2025 having been at the helm since 2013.

SYCF supports thousands of community groups throughout Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield with grant funding and training to improve the lives of local people and make a positive difference.

Under Ruth’s leadership, the High Green-based Community Foundation has seen significant growth, increasing its annual community grant giving total from £400,000 to £1.7m.

During her 11 years with the Foundation, Ruth has been responsible for expanding SYCF - bringing South Yorkshire Funding Advice Bureau into the organisation ensuring it continues to provide its valuable local and national funding training programme.

She also introduced Vital Signs – a major research project undertaken by SYCF every three years providing the opportunity for members of the public to have a say on their local area linked to ten key themes.

Other highlights of Ruth’s time at SYCF include raising £1.3m to support communities affected by the 2019 floods, the launch of a Philanthropy Match Challenge in conjunction with the Liz and Terry Bramall Foundation, which raised £1m, and partnering with two Community Foundation Donors to establish the innovative South Yorkshire Charity Mentors programme.

Ruth said:

Ruth Willis is retiring as CEO of South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation.

Ruth Willis is retiring as CEO of South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation.

I’m extremely proud of the work we have delivered over the last decade to transform South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation into the incredible charity it is today.

The many achievements would not have been possible without the support of an outstanding team and I’d like to thank the staff, trustees, volunteers, donors and partners past and present who have made this success possible.



Professor Chris Booth-Mayblin, chair of South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation, said:

The trustees are incredibly grateful for the 11 years of passion, dedication and innovation Ruth has brought to South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation.

Under Ruth’s leadership, we have significantly expanded our grant giving programmes enabling us to make an even bigger positive impact on the local community, improving the lives of people in South Yorkshire. She has been pivotal to the Foundation’s success and will be a hard act to follow.


Ruth is retiring in May 2025. SYCF will now begin the process of recruiting for a new CEO.