John has worked with numerous arts and welfare organisations over many years, predominantly as a funder. He is Director of The Elmley Foundation, a grant making charity which supports the arts in Herefordshire and Worcestershire, and his background includes spells in senior positions at the Arts Council. For ten years until June 2005 he was South West Regional Manager of the Big Lottery Fund (formerly the National Lottery Charities Board, later the Community Fund), where he was responsible for all application assessment and grant management. He has been closely involved in the design of programmes to help disadvantaged people and pioneered joint working with the other lottery distributers which led to the launch of Awards for All.  

John is a Fellow of Hereford College of Arts, whose Board of Governors he chaired for eight years, and holds an Honorary M.A. from the University of Worcester.