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Creating race equity: CEO and chair programme

In 2019, ACEVO launched a pilot programme to support CEO members and their chairs who want to achieve greater racial equity in their organisations.

The purpose of the programme was to:

  • support leaders to achieve greater racial diversity and inclusion in their charity
  • support organisations to achieve racial justice through their work
  • enable leaders to learn from the programme by sharing the progress made by organisations and the learning gained from both successes and failures on the route to racial justice
  • develop a process of peer learning on race equity
  • provide an introduction to race equity learning
  • support continuous learning practices and self-reflection on racism and race equity.

The programme comprised four action learning set sessions over a 12 month period facilitated by Pari Dhillon, a former CEO, coach and consultant with extensive experience of race equity and advocacy.

The pilot programme ran from Jan-Dec 2020 with the following participants: 





Vicky Browning

Rosie Ferguson


Tom Lawson

Sally O’Sullivan

Sheffield Flourish

Josie Soutar

Pam Stirling

IAC: Centre for Adoption

Satwinder Sandhu

Barbara Hudson

Institute of Fundraising

Peter Lewis

Amanda Bringans

Evaluating the programme:

  • 100% of participants agreed or strongly agreed with the statement: “This programme has enabled me to take action on improving race equity within my charity”
  • 100% of participants strongly agreed that “this programme has improved my understanding of racism and racial injustice, and how it can/does manifest in my charity”
  • 100% of participants agreed or strongly agreed that “this programme has enabled me to talk more confidently about racism and ‘race’”
  • 75% of participants agreed or strongly agreed that “this programme has resulted in conversations about racism taking place with my board of trustees” with one respondent commenting: “Not yet, but we have recruited Black people to the board (only one meeting so far), and are committed to EDI training for the board. It will come.”
  • 100% of participants agreed or strongly agreed that “this programme has supported me as a leader to create greater race equity in my charity’s external facing work”

Participants’ comments:

“I couldn’t recommend this programme enough. It has been transformative in how I view and am able to talk about race and racism. It has also made my relationship with the charity chair much stronger.”

“Racism is such an important issue to address and as voluntary sector leaders we have a mandate to create a fairer civil society. Issues raised by Charity So White and ACEVO’s own report on racism within the sector show we have an internal sector problem that needs to be addressed and so it is essential every single organisation within our sector takes this seriously and does the work required to truly deliver on their missions and objectives, whilst also at the same time literally making society and the world around us a better place to inhabit and live in.”

“This has been one of the best learning experiences I have ever taken part in – both for the organisation and personally.”

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