Fourteen foundations to collaborate on operating more equitably

The 14 in the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Coalition include the National Lottery Community Fund, BBC Children in Need and the Lloyds Bank Foundation

Diversity is key to the coalition
Diversity is key to the coalition

Thirteen UK foundations, including the National Lottery Community Fund and BBC Children in Need, are supporting a new initiative to make foundations more equitable in the way they fund and operate.

The organisations, which also include the Barrow Cadbury Trust, the Lloyds Bank Foundation and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, have formed a new group called the DEI Coalition, which will focus on diversity, equity and inclusion.

Coalition members have agreed to collaborate for three years to find ways to address systemic inequalities.

Fozia Irfan, chief executive of Bedfordshire and Luton Community Foundation, who is leading the coalition, said DEI frameworks were commonly adopted by foundations in other countries but were new to the UK.

"What we hope to do is to critically analyse the way we work and how we distribute funding, to make sure that we are reaching the communities most in need," said Irfan.

"Given the current political context, it is imperative that as foundations we are equitable, transparent and representative, otherwise we are simply not effective."

The members, who will meet for the first time in January, have committed to prioritising DEI issues and taking practical action to set change in motion.

A staff member from each organisation will support the coalition, which it is hoped will provide a forum for the implementation of frameworks, processes and procedures from which other foundations can learn.

Carol Mack, chief executive of the Association of Charitable Foundations, said DEI was a "pressing issue for the foundation sector".

She added: "This is a significant step for the foundation community. We look forward to seeing how it develops and to share learning with our wider membership."

Dawn Austwick, chief executive of the National Lottery Community Fund, said it "looked forward to sharing ideas, developing practice and urgently accelerating the pace at which we all work so that our funding helps build a society for everyone".

The 14 foundations are: the National Lottery Community Fund, Children in Need, the Barrow Cadbury Trust, the Lloyds Bank Foundation, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, the Friends Provident Foundation and the following community foundations: Essex, Milton Keynes, Quartet, Wiltshire, Two Ridings, Leeds, Surrey, and Bedfordshire and Luton. 

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