Charity boards have failed on race

Penny Wilson is chief executive of Getting on Board, a charity that focuses on trustee recruitment writes, most people in the sector would be appalled at the insinuation they are racist, but our trustee boards tell a different story.

Given that 14 per cent of the population is made up of people of colour, should we be uncomfortable that only 8 per cent of trustees are from that group, according to the report Taken on Trust, commissioned by the Charity Commission? Or that just 6 per cent of trustees of the largest 500 charities are people of colour, according to Inclusive Boards, with women of colour representing only 2.9 per cent of trustees? If you were to take out charities founded or led by people of colour, these figures would plummet even further.

Many charity leaders have never thought before about the diversity of their trustee boards. They’re too busy running their charities. They would argue that they didn’t make active decisions to exclude people in some way. And most people in our sector would be appalled by the insinuation that they are racist.

But let’s own this. We have monumentally dropped the ball and now we need to do something about it. Let’s be brave, stick our necks out and start to make change.

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