Clare Thomas graduated from Sussex University in 1971 before going on to study at to Kent University for a post-graduate diploma in Social Work. She began her career as a Psychiatric Social Worker, moving into generic social work in Hackney. She was a Project Leader at the Family Service Unit’s exemplar truancy project, Cromartie House. She then became Deputy Director of the Rainer Foundation working with young offenders, homeless young people and young people leaving care.
For the next 25 years she built up extensive grant making experience in the public and independent funding sectors. She was a Deputy Clerk at the Sir John Cass's Foundation moving onto the Home Office to advise on government policy in relation to charities, on funding to national voluntary organisations, corporate social responsibility and volunteering.
Recently, after 17 years, she stepped down as Chief Grants Officer at the City Bridge Trust one of the UK's largest grant-making foundations with an extensive portfolio of charities large and small, including those supporting people who have been trafficked or sexually exploited.
Clare has served on the boards of the Trust for London, NCVO, The London Bombing's Charitable Relief Fund and as an advisor to the British Red Cross on several funds it administered. Clare is a former chair of the Association of Charitable Foundations and chaired the NOM's Advisory Committee on the Third Sector. She is a member of the BBC Appeals’ Committee and is a board member of Scope.
Currently she runs a consultancy on grant-making, charitable and organisational development.