Main content

About Rosa

Rosa supports initiatives that benefit women and girls in the UK.

What we do

Rosa girls

Rosa is a charitable fund set up to support initiatives that benefit women and girls in the UK. Because, while many women and girls here do enjoy freedom of choice and the opportunity for success in their lives, that’s simply not true for all. Our vision is of equality and justice for all women and girls in the UK.

Women aren’t short of ideas to help create positive change in their lives, but they are often short of the money needed to turn those ideas into reality. That’s why Rosa was launched in 2008 – to help raise more money for women’s projects and organisations.

We do this in three key ways:

  1. We champion funding for women and girls – we can help inform, influence and advise other funders to promote greater investment in organisations working with women and girls.
  2. We raise funds and invest in change – Rosa raises money from individuals, companies, foundations and statutory donors so we can make grants to initiatives and groups that tackle specific issues around women’s safety, economic justice, health and wellbeing, and representation in society.
  3. We act as a connector and advocate – by promoting awareness of women’s organisations and the issues they tackle, showing how donations will help create lasting change, and bringing donors closer to the causes they support.

Back to top ↑

How we make a difference

Through Rosa you can “support” projects working with women and girls on these issues:

Please see our Grants page for updates on projects and initiatives we have funded to date.


1 in 4 women have experienced domestic violence in their lifetime

All women and girls have the right to live free from violence and the threat of violence.

Safety for women in the UK is a huge issue, as crimes of rape, domestic violence, sex trafficking and ‘honour killing’ continue at shockingly high rates. Yet many projects that support women who are at risk or seeking refuge are in funding crisis. Some organisations are being forced to close through lack of funds, leaving vulnerable individuals with even fewer places to turn for support.

Rosa invests in projects that are improving safety for women and girls in the UK, and helps raise awareness of the funding crisis to other potential funders.

Economic Justice

2 in 3 people on the National Minimum wage are women

All women in the UK should have the opportunity for economic stability and success in their lives.

More women than ever before are earning now – but usually far less than men, even if they’re doing the same job. Women also lose out when it comes to moving up the career ladder or having flexible working options. Girls from disadvantaged backgrounds find it hardest of all to get ahead. And lack of affordable childcare keeps talented women out of the job market altogether. Rosa invests in projects that will help create a more even playing field of opportunity for women – benefiting individuals, families and employers alike.

Health & Wellbeing

1 in 3 girls in the UK have attempted self harm

All women and girls should feel good about themselves – and be able to get the help and healthcare they need.

Some of the health issues we’re concerned about include poor body image, low self-esteem, eating disorders, and increased alcohol consumption among young women. And some women are especially susceptible to ill health, poor support services and access to treatment – purely because they come from black and ethnic minority communities.

Rosa invests in projects that tackle these issues – from research projects to support groups and initiatives to reach women and girls from all backgrounds with the information they need to help keep them well.

Leadership and representation

More women should hold positions of leadership and decision-making in the UK.

Women are hugely under-represented in politics and public life. And women in minorities – such as black and minority ethnic, disabled, and lesbians – are even less likely to have a public voice.

This means that the issues that are important to them, such as care provision, reproductive choice and local community resources, are less likely to reach the top of the agenda.

Rosa invests in projects that aim to understand how to get rid of the barriers that prevent women from participating in public life and encourage their equal representation and contribution in politics, the economy, the media and social agencies.

Back to top ↑

The need for funds

Rosa was set up because women’s projects in the UK need greater recognition and financial support. Research in 2006 by the Women’s Resource Centre (“Why Women?” Why Women (WRC, 2006) :

  • Projects working with women and girls struggle to raise funds.
  • 7% of registered charities focus on women and girls, but receive only 1.2% of government funding.
  • Few grant-making trusts and foundations identify women and girls as a priority.
  • Potential donors want more education and guidance about why and how to invest in women’s projects.

Leaders from women’s organisations, government, businesses and the media came together to help find a solution. Drawing on the experiences of women working at the front lines of charities and inspired by women’s funds elsewhere in the world, they created a model that would work best for the UK.

The result was Rosa – a charity that helps champion the work of women’s projects in the UK, through awarding grants, showing how money makes a difference, and encouraging more people to support.

Back to top ↑

Our people

As a new charity, Rosa depends heavily on our volunteers and partners. Our Trustee board combines the skills and experience of nine women to drive forward our objectives and we currently have four part time members of staff.

Samantha Rennie, Executive Director

Samantha’s career has focused on promoting social justice in the UK and internationally, particularly through setting up and running funding programmes. She has held senior roles with the Lottery, Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund as well as board and senior advisory positions with London Funders and Comic Relief. She recently set up and ran the Government’s £20M Homeless Transition Fund with Homeless Link.

Jan Floyd-Douglass, Chair

Jan’s career over the past 25 years has comprised senior corporate roles such as Head of Zurich Corporate Pensions, Executive Committee member, Barclays Private Bank and Resident Vice President, Citibank.

Her role accountabilities have included global strategic development, leading and embedding significant change programmes and the planning, delivery and evaluation of high growth and turnaround strategies.

In addition, she has pioneered and led global gender equality and female leadership programmes whilst pursuing her leadership career.

Maggie Baxter OBE, Trustee

Maggie Baxter

Maggie has worked in the voluntary sector for over 35 years, mostly in the grant-giving field. Her consultancy work includes promoting anti-trafficking educational films in eastern Europe and being an adviser to The True Colours Trust. Maggie is a Grants committee member for Trust for London, and trustee to Hilden Charitable Fund, Green Belt Movement International and Women for Refugee Women. Her previous roles have included Executive Director of WOMANKIND and Deputy Chief Executive and Grants Director at Comic Relief (during which time she was seconded to set up the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund). Maggie has also been a London adviser to the Baring Foundation, Unit Co-ordinator of the Grants Unit of Camden Council, and Director of Dame Colet House Settlement in east London.

Maggie has lived In London since 1972 and is particularly interested in the experience of new arrivals to the UK.

Marilyn List, Trustee

Marilyn List

Marilyn List is chair of The List Family Foundation Limited (LFFL) and its USA based affiliate, which has focused its efforts on initiatives that help women and girls since it was founded in 2002.

Marilyn’s background is in health care and education and she has been involved in the voluntary sector for many years, holding leadership positions with Junior League of London, Junior League of Denver, Young Patronesses of the Opera (Miami). She is committed to efforts that focus on the needs of women and girls because she believes this sector tends to be under resourced by traditional funding sources and because efforts in this space can often produce extraordinary benefits. Through LFFL, Marilyn made the research happen that showed how vital Rosa’s role is in the UK, and has provided grants totalling some £1,000,000 to UK and USA based organisations that benefit women and girls.

Gillian Egan, Trustee

Gillian Egan

Gillian has worked in the voluntary sector for more than 20 years, and was part of the working group who helped develop Rosa in the eighteen months before her launch in June 2008. She joined the Board of Trustees in August 2009.

Throughout her career in both voluntary organisations and creative/marketing agencies, Gillian has specialised in supporting campaigning and fundraising activities through communications. Currently, she is a producer at DTV Group and puts her strategic, creative and practical experience to work for a range of UK and international charities.

Gillian served on Womankind Worldwide’s fundraising and communications committee from 2002 to 2011.

Ruth Pearson, Trustee

Ruth Pearson

Ruth is a Professor of Development Studies at the University of Leeds. Her research interests include gender and work in the global economy; home-based work and workers organisations; gendered analysis of production and social reproduction; migrant workers and identity (Burma, Thailand, UK); gender and economic transition (Cuba); money (micro credit, community currencies); hypothecated taxation; gender and development policy and prospects.

Ruth has considerable experience of management of voluntary sector organisations in the UK and internationally, currently or previously serving on the boards of War on Want, the Women’s Employment Enterprise and Training Unit, the Women’s Health Information Support Services and the Association of Women’s Rights in Development. She joined Rosa’s board in January 2011.

Julie Hunt, Trustee

Coming from a corporate background, Julie has worked in the voluntary sector since 2000 and has developed a strong track record of appointments by national and local voluntary sector organisations including Mencap, Alzheimer’s Society and the Family Fund.
A former board member of the Institute of Fundraising, she set up Hunt4Funding in 2012 providing a bespoke funding adviser and mentoring consultancy service having worked for a wide variety of clients, including the Government.
Previous trusteeships include Bexley Women’s Aid and The Parents Consortium. She is currently an active volunteer supporting the Rosa Corporate Development Board. Over the years she has developed several volunteer fundraising teams for small charities receiving several awards and quality standard marks. She is a trained mentor for the Institute of Fundraising London region.
Previous roles include Marketing and Communications Executive of an international property company and Executive at an international PR agency.

Sarah Aggett LLB, Trustee

Sarah has 10 years experience in the non – profit sector including Director of Programmes for an international medical education Charity and Grants Director of a Charitable Trust. She is a Trustee of several Charities, a member of ROSA’s FGM small grant making committee and sits on various other fundraising committees. This breadth of involvement in the sector has given Sarah insights into many operational, governance and fundraising issues. She was a Partner in a London law firm and now runs her own independent Charity consultancy.

Sherine Mahmoud, Trustee

Sherine has worked in social investment since 2002, bringing together charities, funders and corporate partners.
She has a strong background in international development working with Nobel Prize winning Grameen Bank – replicating their micro-finance model globally with a focus on the Middle East and Latin America. She spent 5 years in private equity, making investments into micro-finance institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa, including establishing greenfield operations in the most remote communities.
Most recently Sherine is actively involved in researching and developing effective management practices for socially driven businesses – tailored to the needs of the charitable sector. As an Investment Director at Impetus-The Private Equity Foundation, she is supporting charities to become high performing providing them with funding, business advice and access to corporate partnerships.

Back to top ↑

Our supporters and partners

Rosa’s work and the grants we make depend on the generous support of individuals, companies, and charitable trusts and foundations. We are very grateful to the following people and organisations for their financial support:

Alan Parker, Anne Donaldson, Aviva, The Hilden Charitable Fund, The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, The List Family Foundation Limited, Pumphouse Trust, Network for Social Change, The Staples Trust, Women at Risk, Women’s Trust Fund

If you are new to Rosa and would like to learn more about how you can get involved, we would love to hear from you:

You can find out more on our support us page or you can simply contact us.

Rosa’s ambassadors

Sandi Toksvig

Sandi Toksvig is a writer, presenter, comedian, actress and producer on British radio and television. She has most recently presented The News Quiz on BBC Radio 4 and 1001 Things You Should Know on Channel 4.

Polly Toynbee
Polly Toynbee

Polly Toynbee is a writer and journalist.

Dame Marjorie Scardino
Marjorie Scardino

Dame Marjorie is the former CEO of Pearson PLC – the first female Chief Executive of a FTSE 100 company.

Some women and girls live in a free and equal society; many do not. Some women and girls can find support for the ideas they have to help them change their own lives; many cannot. That’s why Rosa exists, and it’s why I support them.

Dame Marjorie Scardino

Jon Snow
Jon Snow

Jon Snow is a broadcast journalist best known for anchoring the Channel 4 news.

I am honoured to be an ambassador for Rosa. As the father of girls, I am all for championing their interests.

Jon Snow

Juliet Stevenson CBE
Juliet Stevenson

Juliet Stevenson is a film, television and stage actor, and a human rights campaigner.

Baroness Joyce Gould
Joyce Gould

Baroness Gould has championed women’s equality for many years, and was Chair of the Women’s National Commission.

Spending cuts will seriously affect organisations working with women and girls. Rosa’s work is all the more essential because of this. She has my full support.

Baroness Joyce Gould

Baroness Margaret Prosser, OBE
Margaret Prosser

Baroness Prosser, former Chair of the Women’s National Commission, is a Labour peer and Deputy Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Rosa’s support to women’s organisations both as a funder and influencer is much needed which is why I’m glad to support her valuable work.

Baroness Margaret Prosser, OBE

Glenda Jackson CBE
Glenda Jackson

Glenda Jackson is the Labour MP for Hampstead and Kilburn.

Back to top ↑