ACF publishes new report on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

3 October 2019

ACF has published a new report on how foundations can promote diversity, equity and inclusion practices. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: The Pillars of Stronger Foundation Practice is the first report emerging from the Stronger Foundations initiative. It sets out nine characteristics of excellent practice in a foundation, which include collecting data on diversity, implementing DEI practices in funding activities, and making itself accountable to those it serves and supports. 

Nine pillars of stronger foundation practiceInformed by the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion working group, external experts, the wider literature and ACF's own analysis, the report asserts that these pillars can be interpreted and pursued by all foundations whatever their remit, size or starting point.

Accompanying the launch of the report, ACF’s chief executive Carol Mack has written a blog outlining why DEI is an important area for foundations and what the report means for ACF and its members.

We are also delighted to share a series of reaction pieces from external experts on aspects of DEI, reflecting on the report and what each would like to see happen next:

Kenny Imafidon, director, ClearView Research: The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

Tracey Lazard, CEO Inclusion London: Nothing about us without us

Joy Warmington, CEO Brap: Don't rest on your foundations

Raheel Mohammed, CEO Maslaha: How do you understand a community of people?


The full report is available to view and download.

You can also view and download both a summary of the pillars  and also a one page snapshot of all nine pillars.

Commenting on its publication, 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, said:

“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.”

For more information, please email ACF's head of policy, Max Rutherford on [email protected]

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