On 19 March, Future Foundations UK (FFUK) released its first statement expressing, among other things, how foundations could improve their funding by grant-making through an equity lens. Initially, we were going to say, in the statement, that it felt as if the funding sector’s behaviour was akin to a doctor turning black people away from a hospital door. We omitted the line, and rightfully so because it was insensitive. But it feels relevant now. Three months on and considering the lack of action by funders, it genuinely feels as if philanthropy has turned it’s back on black people. The pain for people of colour right now is particularly high, yet our expectations of funders are low, and it shouldn’t be that way.
Often, funders will say, ‘we don’t want to go against public will’. But now, funders’ inactivity is actively ignoring public will. It is ignoring data and evidence. I wonder how much of the £3.3 billion or so invested by the top-300 UK foundations goes to black and brown-led organisations? Would it match the 13% of minoritised racial groups who make up the UK population? I wonder if any independent foundation has ever invested as much as £1 million to a black or brown-led organisation?
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