Third Sector Awards 2016: Rising Chief Executive - Winner: Tom Rosewall, Vision for a Nation Foundation

Awarded to the chief executive who has made an outstanding contribution to his or her organisation, or the wider sector, during their first two years in post

Tom Rosewall
Tom Rosewall

Who is he?

Rosewall was appointed as chief executive of the eyesight charity Vision for a Nation Foundation in 2014. A native Californian, he has more than 30 years of experience in successfully integrating and growing emerging global corporations, including 21 years spent in Europe.

What has he done for the charity?

Tom has played a galvanising leadership role in the organisation’s successful support of the Rwandan Ministry of Health in providing the country’s 10.5 million people with access to life-changing, local and affordable eye care – something that no other emerging nation has achieved. Tom directed the training of nearly 2,000 nurses deployed at 502 health centres and helped guarantee the availability of eye medication and glasses nationwide. More than 520,000 Rwandans have been screened in just 27 months. Tom took the same services directly to all of Rwanda’s 15,000 villages over 28 months. The programme is forecast to screen an estimated 1.25 million people by December 2017, with 625,000 receiving medication, 300,000 glasses and 250,000 referrals for specialist care at Rwanda’s 42 hospitals.

What else has he achieved?

Tom spent less than 50 per cent of the approved two-year budget he inherited when he joined in March 2014 while dramatically increasing impact and return on investment. These savings are now being used to complete the programme, extend its reach to all communities and double the nursing capacity.

What did the judges say?

Richard Davidson, director of engagement at Anthony Nolan, said: "This is a strong submission because Tom has clearly had a huge impact at VFAN. The impact of the charity is well articulated and the progress has been made cost-effectively and quickly."

Highly Commended

Jane Carr, Voluntary Impact Northamptonshire


Ruth Hunt, Stonewall

Claire Jenkins, Grow Movement

Anna Smee, UK Youth

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