Foundations should avoid "simply doing what we have always done" and do more to embed diversity in the sector, according to a new report by the Association of Charitable Foundations.
The report, called Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: The Pillars of Stronger Foundation Practice, says foundations should take the lead in helping to diversify the charity sector because they are "well placed to play a role in removing barriers and increasing access".
The report says its research found that foundation boards were 99 per cent white, two-thirds male and 60 per cent over the age of 65.
The report sets out a number of steps foundations could take to change the situation, starting with investing time and resources in understanding diversity, equity and inclusion.
The report calls for strategies to tackle the foundation sector’s diversity problems, the collection, tracking and publication of data on the issue, and attempts to make staff and boards more diverse.
Funding practices should also embrace diversity, the report says, and foundations should be publicly vocal about their support for diversity, equality and inclusion policies.
Accountability to those the foundation serves and using its position to advocate for change and collaborate with others to promote diversity are also important, the report says.
In her foreword to the report, Janet Morrison, chair of the ACF, says: "Doing good by giving financial support to others is not enough. Thinking hard about how we behave and how we embody our values in everything we do is vital.
"This means asking hard questions about how we work, and adapting and changing, not simply doing what we have always done. As society changes we need to ensure philanthropy evolves too."