Richard Franklin is the Chief Executive of Kisharon, the charity for children and adults with learning disabilities. Richard previously spent most of his six-year tenure at the organisation as its Director of Fundraising and Communications, during which period he oversaw an increase of its annual income from £1.6m to in excess of £6m, raising funds for a number of projects including the current redevelopment of Kisharon’s new school scheduled for completion in 2020.
Richard’s extensive experience in the not-for-profit sector includes senior roles at Crisis UK and Jewish Care, prior to which he was a partner in city law firm, Nicholson Graham and Jones. In his spare time, Richard also served as Warden at Highgate Synagogue.
What was your path to doing what you do?
I was a solicitor by profession before moving into the role of Fundraising Director at Jewish Care fifteen years ago. Prior to that I worked in similar roles with Kings Heath Partners and Crisis UK. I had the good fortune to meet Dr Beverley Jacobson in 2013 who persuaded me to join Kisharon as the Director of Fundraising and Communications. I served as acting Chief Executive for Kisharon after Beverley’s departure and took the role on a permanent basis in the Spring of 2019.
Who helped you along the way?
My friend Lord Feldman’s father, Malcolm Feldman z’l, taught me that the greatest gift is in the giving. The Feldman family always involved me in their charitable endeavours and it was through conversations with Malcolm that my career took a different direction.
What have you learned along the way?
Humility, I hope! The people you work with know infinitely more that you about many, many things. “We have one mouth and two ears” – listening is very important while maintaining the courage of your own convictions and reaching the best outcome you can.
Name a book film boxset or play you found inspiring?
Book – Facing Up by Bear Grylls
Film – Gandhi
Boxset – I never get to the end of those!
Play – So many to choose from (I was once a theatre ticket agent) but I would have to say Nicholas Nickleby.
What are you most proud of, professionally?
Seeing Kisharon being considered seriously within our community and within the learning disabilities world.
Do you have a plan or ambition for the future?
To maximise the talents of the people we support, our staff and our volunteers.
How do you unwind?
I jog (slowly) around a loop of Hampstead Heath extension everyday, except on Shabbos when I walk to Highgate shul (35 minutes there and back!).
What hobby would you like to take up if you had the time?
So many come to mind! cooking, stand-up comedy, playwriting and ballet… a pretty eclectic range I would say!
If you ruled the world for a day, what would you change?
What would you say to someone who has just found out their child has special needs?
It depends on the circumstances and the sensitivity required. Ultimately, I’d hope to signpost people to places where they can best access information and support at what may be a difficult and challenging time. Kisharon’s social workers and support services are a great place to start: 020 8209 1160.
Who do you most admire and why?
My partner in life, Debbie, for putting up with my foibles - and too many other people to mention – let me come back to you on another interview….
Written by: Richard Franklin