Board of Trustees


United Way UK is governed by a high-profile board of trustees. The voluntary board oversees all governance and advises on charity strategy, business development and priorities for the charity.

Chair of the Board: Steve Pappas, Senior VP Europe, Costco Wholesale Ltd

Steve has worked in 5 countries and across 4 continents with Costco Wholesale. He joined in 1991 as an assistant warehouse manager and quickly progressed to become a general manager in southern California. He moved to London in September of 2006 as managing director of Costco Wholesale UK Ltd.

Steve has been a long-time supporter of United Way and set up a very successful payroll giving scheme in Korea, which Costco is now replicating in the UK.

Adam Freeman, Partner, Freeformers and Chairman, Metropolis Group

Adam’s career has been focused on the 3 C's- Content, Community and Commercial and 1 D- Digital. In short how to build a business from the relationships consumers have with media/content brands. He has worked in online retail, publishing and digital sectors as Managing Director of Bloomberg Media, EMEA and Executive Director of The Guardian News and Media.

Freeformers is the digital growth partner to FTSE 100 organisations, working with a diverse array of clients including Barclays, HSBC, John Lewis, Camelot and E.ON. Their mission: to create the future workforce, now.

Bill O'Dowd, CEO and Chairman, Dolphin Entertainment, Dolphin Digital Media and Dolphin Films

Bill has nearly two decades of experience in the television, digital media, and film industries. He founded Dolphin Entertainment in 1996, and it has since become one of the world’s leading production companies specializing in children’s and young adult live-action programming. Bill enjoys a solid reputation as an Emmy-nominated producer, international distributor, and financier of quality entertainment content. 

Bill’s desire to produce quality content for children led to his goal of increasing educational opportunities for children all around the world. He is a frequent speaker on education topics and creates partnerships based on fostering reading skills and encouraging a passion for philanthropy in young people. He joined the United Way Million Dollar Roundtable in 2009 when he made a $2 million gift to the United Way Center for Excellence in Early Education for the newly named Dolphin Digital Media Demonstration School, Educare of Miami-Dade. 

Gary von Lehmden, Managing Director Corporate Bank Head EMEA, Citigroup 

Gary von Lehmden is the Chairman of EMEA Corporate Banking and Chief Lending Officer for Citibank N.A. in EMEA. He is also the Head of EMEA Capital Management. He has over 30 years of banking experience in relationship banking and corporate finance.

Gary is the past President and Chairman of British American Business, the leading transatlantic trade organisation with over 700 member companies. He is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Association of Foreign Banks in London and is on the Corporate Advisory Board of the National Theatre. Gary also serves as the AFB delegate to the Bank of England Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) as a member of their 12 person Practitioner Panel.

Hugh Sanderson, Executive Managing Director, GMP FirstEnergy Capital Corporation LLP

Hugh Sanderson joined GMP FirstEnergy Capital Corp. in September of 2000, was promoted to Managing Director in 2009, and to Executive Managing Director in 2012. As Executive Managing Director, he is responsible for GMP FirstEnergy's office in London, England, directing and coordinating the research, acquisition and divestiture advisory, institutional sales, trading, and advisory teams. 

Hugh's educational credentials include a Masters of Business Administration (Finance and International Business) from Dalhousie University, a Bachelor of Arts (Economics) from McGill University, in addition to which he is a CFA® charterholder. While at Dalhousie he won the prestigious Queens University International Far Horizons Competition. 

Hugh actively supports a variety of charities and was chair of the Gardner Breakfast in support of the Scouting movement, an organisation he has been active in for over twenty years. He has been a long-time supporter of United Way in GMP FirstEnergy's hometown of Calgary, Canada. He acts as Treasurer for United Way UK.

Alan Lewis, Former CEO, LCVS | United Way Liverpool

Alan has extensive experience of charity governance, community engagement and social care. As CEO of LCVS he oversaw celebrations for their centenary year and supported a move to LCVS’s new home at 151 Dale Street, which is now a 3rd Sector Resource Centre in the very heart of Liverpool.

Alan's career spans teaching, social work and senior management in public and NGO sectors. He is now enjoying a busy retirement of travelling, painting and volunteering. He acts as General Secretary for United Way UK.

Deputy Chair of the Board: Melanie Czarra, Investment Banker

Melanie has worked as an investment banker in M&A, Investment Banking/Corporate Finance, Debt Capital Markets and Debt Syndicate for over 25 years.  Melanie has lived and worked in the US and Europe and held brief secondments in Hong Kong and Tokyo.  Melanie was most recently with UBS Investment Bank in London as co-head of EMEA Corporate Debt Capital Markets and Client Solutions. Prior to that, Melanie was with Mizuho International Plc, heading the EMEA Primary Debt Markets Division of the bank, Head of EMEA Debt Syndicate, and a member of the Executive Committee of the firm, reporting directly to the CEO.  Previously, Melanie was with Salomon Brothers/Citigroup for 14 years in London, responsible for Corporate Debt Syndicate and Cross-Border Debt Capital Markets.  Melanie has also held positions with Goldman Sachs in New York, and both Baring Brothers and Lehman Brothers in London.

Melanie has been passionate about the United Way, since her first volunteering and payroll-giving experiences in New York and her home town of Washington, D.C., She joined the United Way Board in 2018, keen to expand the United Way UK’s footprint across the UK and further develop programmes with corporate sponsors and major donors.

Melanie is on the International Advisory Board of the University of Edinburgh Business School.  Melanie has previously served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Junior League of London and the W11 Opera for Young People.