Avila Kilmurray is Director of the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland (previously the Northern Ireland Voluntary Trust) since 1994. Born in Dublin, Avila holds a B.A. (Hons.) degree from University College Dublin and a M.A. in International Relations from the Australian National University. She also has qualifications in Public Administration and a Certificate in Welfare Law (Queen's University, Belfast), and has recently been awarded a doctorate from the Department of Law (Queen's University). Avila has been working in Northern Ireland since 1975. Initially employed in Derry in community work, Avila worked in a Community Education Project in Magee College, was active in establishing the Women's Aid organisation and was involved in a range of anti-poverty initiatives.
Since 1980, Avila has been based in Belfast, working for a period with the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action and subsequently as Co-ordinator of the Rural Action Project (N.I.) - an EU Second Anti-Poverty Programme initiative. In 1990, Avila was appointed the first Women's Officer for the Transport & General Workers' Union (T.G.W.U.) (Ireland). She served on the Northern Ireland Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (I.C.T.U.) and on the Executive Council of the I.C.T.U.
Avila has written extensively on community development, women's issues and Civil Society and is an active member of the Foundations for Peace Network – a peer network of independent Trusts and Foundations, both located and working in, conflict areas.