Russell nominated his niece Alexandra Mills as Chair, and two long-time friends, David Whitfield and Dennis Foster as Directors of The Russell Mills Foundation. Each Director had known Russell for decades and experienced him enthusing about the passions that are the target of the Foundation’s work. Directors contribute their time and energy to the Foundation as gently coerced volunteers.
Since Russell’s death, the Directors have established the collaborative approach by which the Foundation identifies, selects and gives gifts to recipient organisations. In the process the Directors came to appreciate the prescience, be it deliberate or accidental, of Russell bringing the professional expertise and personal passions of his three Directors together to manage the Foundation.
Chair, Alexandra Mills, is a former lawyer and public policy adviser. Now a consultant, she has worked as an anti-corruption practitioner for over 20 years in organisational and consulting roles. She is currently also undertaking post-graduate study in fine art. Alex brings to the Foundation, a knowledge of the visual arts and experience in governance and public integrity.
Director, David Whitfield is currently working in the banking and financial services area with a focus on regulatory change initiatives. His background is in project work specialising in human capital. David is a keen reader of history, current affairs and crime, sharing many passionate conversations with Russell about the power of words and ideas from both fiction and non-fiction books they had read. David brings a love of books, ideas, art and photography as well as a knowledge of governance to the Foundation.
Director, Dr Dennis Foster trained as a primary school teacher. Before retiring he was manager of multicultural affairs and anti-discrimination in the NSW Education Department and oversaw an annual multi-million dollar grants to schools program. In 2015 Dennis was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy based on a study of the meanings of music in human experience. Dennis brings knowledge of grants management, equity, and education, as well as a love of music and theatre to the Foundation.