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Member Spotlight – Leona Forsyth, Senior Grants Manager at the Rothschild Foundation

5 minutes with Leona Forsyth
Senior Grants Manager, The Rothschild Foundation


Could you tell us a little bit about your role at The Rothschild Foundation?

As a Senior Grants Manager at the Rothschild Foundation, my role is to lead our grant-making in Buckinghamshire. We have a county-wide place-based funding programme which distributes around £3 million annually to benefit communities around Waddesdon Manor where the Foundation is based.

I support the grant-making process from start to finish: reaching out to community groups and charities so they’re aware of the Foundation’s resource, supporting them through the application process, and then continuing to build a partnership over the course of the funding.


How do you use data in your role and how important do you think data is in helping us build a picture of an area?

Knowing what’s going on in the local community is essential to every aspect of my job. I gather knowledge and insights wherever I can and build relationships with others who have a similar interest in seeing our community thrive.

When reviewing grant applications to our Community Fund we use local data to assess whether the activity proposed will reach the economically deprived areas and under-represented groups we wish to benefit from our funding.


What is your motivation for being involved in the Bucks Data Exchange and what value do you think you’ve gained from it? 

The Bucks Data Exchange is a great example of working in partnership to share information that can have a positive social impact. The Rothschild Foundation was a founding partner in the project. During the pandemic, we needed on the ground insights that would help us target funding to where it was needed most in the emergency response. 

Today we see real benefit in sharing data between funders, charities and the local authority to drive targeted and coordinated action.

The Bucks Data Exchange is valuable because it helps to make well-informed decisions about allocation of resource, whether you’re a funder or charity.


Where do you think the Bucks Data Exchange can add value to the Charity Sector, and how will your involvement support this?

It’s important to say that this is a journey of discovery for the Rothschild Foundation and I’m far from a data expert. Across the charity sector there are skills gaps in gathering, managing and interpreting data, and that’s why we have recently committed further funding to the Bucks Data Exchange to develop a programme of events and training to engage more people in using data resources.


To find out more about how The Rothschild Foundation supports charities and community groups in Buckinghamshire please visit their website.

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