What have we been doing?
In October 2019, we announced a focus on philanthropy’s role in addressing equity and inclusion. We set out to celebrate our region’s diversity while shining a light on the work of organisations who help communities with lived experience of racism, homophobia and other types of discrimination. We wanted to widen the lens of whose giving gets to be in the philanthropy picture. And we wanted to address some uncomfortable truths, because we and others have a responsibility to do more to tackle prejudice and build inclusion so the North East can be a more equitable society. Our key messages were that we knew we needed to do more, we didn’t have all the answers but we hoped we were asking the right questions.
In March 2021, we published our Vital Signs reports on diversity, equity and inclusion. They examine the experience of five groups whose contribution to the vibrancy of our region is often inhibited by deep-seated inequalities: women; people with learning disabilities; Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities; disabled people and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.
We’ve also taken time to look at our own practices. Our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Policy came as a result of listening to our membership of individuals, voluntary organisations, businesses and public bodies. Our strategy to 2025 commits us to address diversity across our goals. At the end of 2021, we agreed and published benchmarks for the diversity of our staff and trustees against which we now measure ourselves.