Addressing racial inequality: a statement of commitment

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Addressing racial inequality: a statement of commitment

4 August 2020

Addressing racial inequality:  a statement of commitment

As a funder with a long-term commitment to supporting those working to address racial injustice in the UK, we’re proud to support remarkable organisations and people who dedicate their lives to identifying and dismantling systemic racism.

We will continue to stand in solidarity with those working tirelessly, and in increasingly difficult conditions, for the systemic change we need as a society.

However, we know that funding is only part of the picture. We’ve listened to recommendations to the sector from Charity So White and Future Foundations and we recognise we need to do more to tackle all forms of racism within our organisation and the wider society we’re part of.

Contradictions of power and privilege within the charitable and philanthropic sectors mean that our histories, cultures and structures can reinforce racial inequality.

As a foundation whose purpose is to address the root causes of conflict and injustice, we see the need for a deep process of reflection, and subsequently, informed and sustained action, to address our own power and privilege in ways which match the values we hold as a Quaker trust. 

We take this responsibility seriously and we recognise the urgency of meaningful change as well as the time needed to do this in an authentic way. We want to be open about our actions and our progress. Some work is underway; and we will consider how to make further progress at our September board meeting.

  1. Staff and trustee recruitment and development

We need to do more to ensure our organisation – which has a predominantly white board and staff team – better reflects the society we are part of. 

We are undergoing an organisational restructure which will create new roles at the Trust and which aims to improve diversity and inclusion within our staff team.

Among several new posts – which will include a senior grant-making post - we will be looking for grant staff with lived experience of the social issues and injustice our programmes address.

We have undergone a trustee recruitment process and we continue to appoint advisors (“co-optees”) with diverse experiences of conflict and injustice to our grant making committees.   

We recognise that representation is not the solution to the problem of institutional racism. That is why we are taking additional action, noted below.

 

2. Strengthening our grant-making

 

We are conscious of the wider context of our work and its contribution to undoing the structures that perpetuate racial inequality. We will work towards equity in our grant making. As a first step, we are examining the extent to which our current funding backs BAME organisations and individuals.

We have also recently launched a new phase of support for organisations in the light of the Covid-19 crisis which specifically responds to the dual harms of the pandemic and systemic racism.

 

3.  Work on movement building

 

We are mid-way through an in-depth process to examine ways in which we can better support grassroots activism on a range of systemic issues, including anti-racism, and to help grow, elevate the voices of and empower social movements. We will share the outcomes of this work and our plans for the future.  

 

4.Examine our history and strengthen our investment strategy

 

We are re-examining our own history, including the origins of our endowment, and will fully consider the implications of this for our mission and values.

We continue to develop our investment strategy. We have divested from fossil fuels and avoid investment activity which conflicts with our aims, including companies materially involved in armaments and extractive industries with poor human rights or environmental practices. We see race inequality as being connected to a range of other harms – militarism, violence, climate degradation and extractivism – and we therefore aim to invest in sustainable companies that operate with integrity in the interests of people and the planet.

 

  1. Work within the sector to find solutions

 

We will continue to work with others in the foundation sector to find solutions to the structural changes needed.

We are members of the Funders Alliance for Race Equality, and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Coalition, which both seek to learn together and increase progress on these agendas.

We are co-funding a mapping of the race equality sector in England and Wales, which will provide a better understanding of the sector and its players for trusts and foundations, with a view to building the infrastructure.

 

Finally, we acknowledge that there is much more we need to do. We commit to listening harder to the experiences and perspectives of people of colour, to being open to feedback, and to making changes as a result.