Maria Adebowale-Schwarte



Maria joined the Foundation as CEO in 2019. Maria is a placemaking and grants strategist with over 25 years cross-sector experience in heritage, human rights, improving urban places and green spaces. She is passionate about genuine community-inclusive and cross-sector development and co-designed public/private space consultation.

She started her career in human rights and social and environmental justice, working in non-governmental organisations. She joined the Foundation from Living Space Project, the urban placemaking think tank consultancy that she founded.

Maria also sits on several governance boards of organisations and advisory groups that hold a strong place-led, sustainable development, culture, and heritage focus including National Lottery Heritage Fund, Environment Agency, Mayor of London’s Sustainable Development Commission and City of London’s Culture and Commerce Taskforce.

She has a degree in Organisation Studies and Business Law, a Masters in Public International Law and a Postgraduate Certificate in Architecture, Sustainability and Design, and received the Place and Environment Clore Social Fellowship. Maria is an Inaugural Fellow at the Centre for Knowledge Equity, Skoll Centre, University of Oxford.

Her book The Place Making Factor explores the role of philanthropy in unlocking siloed approaches to funding.

Ask her about
Organisational strategy. Urban placemaking. Culture and heritage grant funding that creates economic, environmental and social value, which focuses on leaving no one behind.

We love East London
East London was the first area Maria fell in love with when she moved to London from Yorkshire. It’s full of energy, talent and amazing diverse communities, people, places and culture.

Did you know…
In her teens, she was a runner up in a national young fashion designer of the year award, she’s a keen photographer (though doesn’t get enough time to pick up the camera as she would like), loves reading, spending time with her family and collecting ‘knackered’ Penguin paperback books.

Articles by Maria Adebowale-Schwarte


Our tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

9 September 2022
Maria Adebowale-Schwarte

Arts Industry article by CEO Maria Adebowale-Schwarte on diversity and inclusion in the arts and culture

"To survive, the arts must tackle inequality of opportunity" more

4 December 2020
Maria Adebowale-Schwarte

Disrupting Racism and Inequality

We will be ambitious in breaking down barriers facing the artists, musicians, performances, communities, projects and more

18 September 2020
Maria Adebowale-Schwarte

Meet the team

Sir David Bell


Baroness Lola Young


Andrew Adedipe

Board member

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