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Grantmakers responses

Home Truths next steps: letter to largest funders

In September 2020, following the launch of the Home Truths report, V4CE and ACEVO wrote to the 20 largest grantmakers (as identified by ACT in its Giving Trends report). We asked these funders to publish data outlining the proportion of their grants that are awarded to BAME-led organisations or projects. You can read the text of the letter we sent here.

As responses have come in, we have asked organisations if we can publish the information they have provided. We will continue to update this webpage as we receive responses.

Last updated: October 2020

The Funders for Race Equality Alliance (FREA) designed a racial justice funding audit tool to help foundations see how much of their UK funding is: 

  • Going towards Black and minority ethnic-led organisations
  • Contributing to race equality outcomes

13 funders took part in the first cohort and their results are now live on the Equally Ours website

“I am afraid that we cannot provide the information you have requested.  The Leverhulme Trust does not distribute funding to the charity sector.  Almost all of our awards go to universities for the purposes of research.”

9 September 2020

Dear Kunle and Vicky,

Thank you very much for your letter dated 2nd September 2020 and for your essential work to reframe the narrative and highlight that racism remains an unresolved issue in the charity sector.

As CEO of Comic Relief I am personally committed to help tackle this, and Comic Relief will do all we can to redress the years of under investment in BAME-led organisations and influence wider positive change. We are working with our Investment Team to complete the Race Equality self-audit and are more than happy to publish the data, once complete on our own website and via 360 Giving.

We know we haven’t always got it right in the past and are learning to do better, our recent funding to 10 BAME-led intermediary partners is a step in the right direction. However, we will be further developing work in that area and are continually learning by partnering with such exciting and diverse organisations as well as continuing to drive forward this debate with other major funders in the UK and internationally.

Yours sincerely,

Ruth Davidson, chief executive

Thank you for getting in touch with us asking for information on the proportion of our grant funding going to BAME-led organisations.

The Health Foundation does not usually give grants to charities, the vast majority of our funding goes to academic institutions and the National Health Service. During the pandemic we have made some exceptional donations to support the charitable sector in its response to Covid. Of the £2.5m we have made in donations, we ringfenced £0.5m to support BAME-led charities. More information is available here.

8 September 2020

Dear Kunle, dear Vicky,

Thank you for your letter of 2 September 2020. I very much welcome the motivation behind efforts to highlight proportions of funding being allocated to BAME-led organisations. I was also glad to see you highlighting the ACF report on transparency (for which I chaired the working group).

Having said that, your specific suggestion of using the Race Equality Audit Tool assumes that the largest funders are exclusively funding traditional charities. This causes problems for an organisation, like Wolfson, with an emphasis on research and education – and where funding is predominantly channelled through universities and schools. No doubt other major funders, including Leverhulme and Wellcome, find themselves in exactly the same position.

I am in contact with the creators of the Audit Tool to see if we can think imaginatively around this issue. Meantime, I wanted to respond promptly to your letter and explain why it is not possible to respond in the way that you suggest. I would be very happy to discuss this further with you if that would be helpful.

With very best wishes,

Yours sincerely,
Paul Ramsbottom, chief executive

Dear Kunle and Vicky

Thank you for your letter following the publication of Home truths which we found a really helpful contribution to the ‘diversity’ debate and welcomed the inclusion of actions for funders.  We’re really pleased that you are taking this opportunity to push for funders to publish data on the proportion of grants awarded to BAME-led organisations: we agree that this is a really important step in supporting charity sector DEI culture and practice.  At City Bridge Trust we have recently started working with Dinah Cox to develop a Race Action Plan in relation to all areas of our work.  Specifically in relation to our equity data the steps we are taking to improve are:

  • Cleaning our existing data: we have partial information on the proportion of our portfolio that is BAME-led – we want to review the accuracy of this before we are confident in publishing accurate data.
  • Data collection: we are reviewing how we collect this information through our application forms and assessment processes.
  • Race equality audit: we are part of the Funders Race Equality Alliance and are taking part in the pilot of the Race Equality Audit Tool starting with 100 of our current funded organisations.
  • LCRF: Our crisis response fund, the London Community Response Fund (which awards grants to organisations which have applied to London Community Response, which is coordinated by London Funders) has included data collection on BAME-led organisations in the most recent wave of funding, where 52% of awards so far have been made to BAME led organisations. These awards have been made using funding generously donated by the National Lottery Community Fund as well as our own funds.
  • DEI data working group: our new Data Analyst is taking part in this working group (part of the funders D,E,I Coalition) to help us develop good practice in this area.

We are prioritising this work over the Autumn and our aim is to have data on the proportion of our portfolio that is BAME-led by the end of October.  This will give us the time to make sure we produce good quality data that offers comparability with other funders.  It might be helpful if our Heads of Impact and Learning (Jemma Grieve Combes and Ruth Feder ) could have a discussion with Sanjiv or yourselves about this data so we could ensure we provide it in the most useful way.

Best Wishes





4 September 2020

Request to publish grant data on funding awarded to BAME-led organisations

Dear Kunle and Vicky,

Thank you for your letter about sharing our data on PHF’s funding of black and minority ethnic led organisations. We wholeheartedly support the work ACEVO and Voice for Change England are doing in this area and are keen to support in any way we can. We have been working on a new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion action plan using the ACF pillars of foundation practice framework and having strong data is a key component of our commitment in it. This also speaks to work we have embarked on as part of the Funders for Racial Equality, the DEI Funder Coalition and our support, as part of a group of funders, to develop a DEI Index.

We will be very happy to publish our data and share it with you. Historically we have not systematically collected demographic information on the leadership of the organisations we fund (we have some partial data on programmes). We will start collecting this data in October 2020 when we resume our regular grant-making, so we should have good data available next year. In the interim, we have started to look at the profile of our grants over the last year – using the tool you shared. We still have work to do to ensure this data is robust and consistent, but we are hoping this will give us a form of baseline and we would be happy to share this in due course.

Our current aim is to publish our DEI statement of commitment at the end of this month and publish our plan at the end of the year.

I hope this response is helpful. If you would like to discuss things further, please do get in touch with Holly Donagh, our Director Strategic Learning, Insight and Influence or Kirsty Gillan-Thomas, our Head of Evidence and Learning.

Best wishes,

Moira Sinclair, chief executive

Thank you for contacting us and for your broader efforts to challenge these issues across the sector. I’m afraid we are not able to provide you with the information you have asked for.  Pears Foundation is not open to applications and our support for communities in the UK is often distributed through charities with federated or membership structures or, in the case of specialist funding areas such as Holocaust education in England or international development in Israel, is directed through higher education institutions.  Consequently, we have not been able to establish a means of collecting meaningful data on this issue across our funding that would be accurate and proportionate.

Part of our remit is to create a space for difficult conversations and our trustees are keen to do more of this in the future.  We will continue to publish all of our grants on 360Giving and are committed to transparency and to learning, along with the sector, how we can do this better.  We will keep in touch regarding any developments and would welcome hearing from you as your work in this important area develops.

With best wishes and thanks,

Amy Braier and Bridget Kohner

We were really happy to see this request from ACEVO and Voice4Change England, and welcome this initiative on behalf of the organisations we do fund, but also those we don’t.  Thank you for initiating it.

As you know, we are a member of the Funders for Race Equality Alliance. As part of this, we have already analysed a sample of our grants using the Race Equality Audit tool. We are also working with 360Giving and a range of funders to develop a DEI data standard, which will be completed early in the new year. Once the standard is agreed we will use it to analyse our whole portfolio and publish full data on our website.

However, we will also publish our preliminary analysis of our grant funding (the sample analysis using the Race Equality Audit tool, as well as pre-existing data we collect on BAME-led applications and grants) before Christmas. We want to share this alongside our wider approach to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and a funding announcement for our contribution to Comic Relief’s Global Majority Fund – which is not yet public.

Dear Both,

Thank you for your letter of 2nd September regarding a request to publish our grant data on funding awarded to BAME-led organisations.

As a funder working to address issues of social disadvantage around the UK your letter raised some important issues for us. We do already analyse our funding in terms of the different sectors of the community our grants aim to support. We publish this information on 360 giving and our own website. I absolutely recognise the benefit of increased transparency and indeed was the representative from the Board of the Association of Charitable Foundations sitting on their Transparency and Engagement working group.  

In assessing our grants one of the factors we look at is service user representation in the management structure and in the design of the services of the organisations we fund. We do not however record this in a collatable way. We are however now planning to use the Race Equality Audit Tool to analyse our main grants portfolio. Once we have done this we would anticipate publishing the results on our website.


Yours sincerely

Nick Acland


I’d be very happy to support. I’ve passed your letter on to the team here and will be discussing with them how best to show our support. We will come back to you on what this will look like.

Equally, I’m keen to go further (and I think the sector should too) so, for me, it’s not just about publishing what we fund but also our intentions too. It’s one way we can become more open about our commitments and priorities in this space. I’d like all organisations to feel that they can apply for support from CiN and some of that is also about what we proactively say and do, our systems and processes and our collaborations as well as the grants we make.

We’ve got some ambitious plans in this space and I’d also like to come back to you shortly with more information when we have announced the appointment of our new Director of Children and Young People.

Simon Antrobus, CEO