New report calls on sector to take action on diversity, equity and inclusion


Alliance magazine


The foundation sector is not sufficiently diverse and needs to take action to improve its own diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) practices, says the Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF).

In its new report Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: The pillars of stronger foundation practice, ACF sets out nine pillars of excellent foundation practice. These include collecting data on diversity, implementing DEI practices in funding activities, and making itself accountable to those it serves and supports.

The report is the first offering from ACF’s Stronger Foundations initiative, a project which aims to help foundations identify and pursue excellent practice on themes including transparency, investment and funding practices. The report comes off the back of a working group comprising ACF members, that heard challenge and evidence from contributors outside the foundation world over a year long programme of events.  

ACF Chief Executive Carol Mack said, ‘We know the foundation sector has some way to travel to improve its diversity, equity and inclusion practices before it reflects the communities it serves.

That’s why we are delighted to share this report, which sets out an ambitious vision of what it means to be a stronger foundation that is diverse, equitable and inclusive. Based on a robust understanding of the complexities foundations face in this area, the report includes practical ways that foundations might improve their DEI practice, informed by our members, external contributors, the wider literature and especially our working group.

Foundations’ independence and long-term horizons make them well-placed to play a role in removing barriers, reducing inequality, and increasing access for communities that have been historically marginalised or underrepresented. For ACF’s part, we look forward to supporting foundations, whatever their starting point, as they strive to apply the pillars to their own practice.’

Denise Ramsey, Chair of the Stronger Foundations DEI working group, added, ‘This report from ACF is a significant step. Not only does it articulate a variety of ways in which foundations can improve their DEI practice, it does so in a way that can be interpreted and implemented by foundations of all shapes and sizes. There are no excuses anymore for foundations not to be pursuing excellent practice, and if these pillars are implemented in full, we could see a transformative impact on the foundation sector, the wider voluntary sector, and even beyond.’

Read the full report here:

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