Diversity a challenge for UK foundations, according to research


Alliance magazine


Diversity remains a challenge for British foundations, according to the second assessment made by Foundation Practice Rating. The Rating assessed 100 foundations this year, giving organisations a letter grade on accountability, transparency, and diversity. No foundations evaluated in the research scored an A on diversity this year, and almost have received the lowest rating of D.

The FPR is a crucial tool for grant-making foundations to understand their strengths and weakness and helps to identify areas for improvement every year. The report’s findings show that while some foundations are making strides in these areas, many still have work to do to increase their transparency and accountability to stakeholders.

Seven foundations received an overall A rating this year, the report found, which is an improvement from the previous year when only three foundations received this rating. The foundations that received an A are diverse in size and structure – including a community foundation (Oxfordshire Community Foundation), a large foundation (Wellcome Trust), and smaller endowed foundations (Blagrave Trust). The other foundations that got an A are Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, John Ellerman Foundation, Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Walcot Educational Foundation.

Transparency was the best-performing pillar this year, with 57 foundations receiving an A.

‘The aim of the FPR initiative is to provide an incentive to improve what foundations do – as organisations and as an important part of the voluntary sector. This year we have kept up the pressure on ourselves – to get better at sharing information on the diversity of those making decisions, transparency about what we do and spend, and our accountability to those we serve. The results suggest there are glimmers of change but also that philanthropy in the UK still has far to go,’ said Danielle Walker Palmour, Director of Friends Provident Foundation.

Another finding of the report was that foundations’ websites were found to play a crucial role in communicating mission – yet over one-fifth of the foundations in the research had no website, and many others had websites that were difficult to navigate and lacked a working search function.

‘Paul Hamlyn Foundation is constantly striving to improve how we work and particularly how we become more open and inclusive. The Foundation Practice Rating has helped us to focus and measure our impact, and we are pleased to see we have made progress in some areas. We know that there’s still more to do however, especially in relation to diversity which is where we will continue to commit time and resources in the coming year. The Rating is a helpful tool for all of us to revisit our commitments and ensure they are acted on, which will ultimately benefit grant-seekers across the country,’ said Moira Sinclair, Chief Executive of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, one of the organisations that received an overall A rating.

The full report of results and analysis are being launched today at an event in London. You can live stream the event here.

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