There has been a lot of high level debate in the sector about the need to improve the diversity of the charity sector governance and workforce in recent months. There is a moral case for improving equality, diversity and inclusion, and there is clear evidence for the business and impact case too. Asif Afridi, Deputy Director, Brap – Equality and Human Rights organisation based in Birmingham facilitated a discussion at the roundtable discussion held on the 24th September. An ACF working group on diversity, equality and inclusion found:
- Male trustees outnumber women 2:1
- Foundation boards are 99% white
- Almost 60% of foundation trustees are over 65
- Almost three quarters of foundation trustees are recruited informally
- Foundation boards are smaller, the terms are longer and they meet less frequently
We explored the question of diversity, equality and inclusion from a funders’ perspective in how our own organisations address the challenges of diversity and equality in its governance and workforce, and how it considers equality and diversity in its grant making approach. A key question was where do you start? The importance of considering the purpose of the funder and what its trying to achieve with its funding is critical to consider why equality and diversity is important. Understanding the context within which a funder is trying to achieve its mission and why you want to increase your commitment to equality and diversity to make that difference are important starting points. Improvements in equality and diversity for funding organisations as well as how they use their funds to achieve their goals is not just about reflecting this in your governance and staffing, but how your processes consider questions of equality and diversity in achieving your goals: how you induct new trustees and staff, how you are accountable for your grant giving and monitor this within your own organisation and the grants you give. In particular, the question of how funders and grantees share progress on equality and diversity. The following resources and sources of information were mentioned.
ACF – Diversity, equality and inclusion working group. Snapshots of each meeting to date:
Grant Givers Movement
Movement within charitable trusts and foundations (driven by staff with different positions / roles) looking at the inequalities within the sector and importance of foundations / fundraisers working together.
Civil society futures inquiry
Reports looking at role of funders / civil society organisations in addressing race inequality within society.
https://civilsocietyfutures.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2019/09/WhatNextForCivilSocietyFutures.pdf (particularly the chapter on race equality)