Ms Swain, who is currently chief executive of Community First Yorkshire, will be tasked with building and delivering a long-term plan that meets the foundation’s charitable objects and strategic ambitions.
Ms Swain said: “I’m delighted to have been appointed to the role.
“I have seen first-hand the positive change that the organisation has brought to the area through its grant giving programmes for community groups, clubs and charities.
“Making a tangible difference to people’s lives by supporting individuals, groups and whole communities to identify their own vision for change and to achieve that by using their existing strengths, skill and knowledge has been my driving purpose throughout my career.
“I’m delighted to be leading an organisation which will do exactly that for people on the North Yorkshire coast.”
David Archer, chairman of the Sirius Minerals Foundation, said: “We were looking for somebody who could help the foundation deliver on its important promise during the next stage of its evolution.
“We’re confident that, in Leah, we’ve found a dynamic leader capable of taking the organisation to the next level.”
The foundation was set up to share some of the economic benefits of the Woodsmith Project amongst local communities within the boroughs of Scarborough, Redcar and Cleveland, and the North York Moors National Park.
It has funded skills training, public space and facilities improvements, environmental initiatives and community building projects in the past.
Most recently, it launched a £250,000 Covid response fund to help local voluntary, community and social enterprise groups adapt to the new and challenging environment created by the Covid-19 pandemic.