Diversity, equity and inclusion: our language and classifying our data

Company Three

Learn about what language we use when talking about people and communities and how we're using the DEI Data Standard to help us better understand how equitable our funding and funding practices are.

We know that putting people into categories can diminish individual identities and that this is problematic. We want to avoid this as much as possible. So, when describing individuals and communities, we will seek to use the term(s) the individual or community identifies with.

We will use a collective term to refer to inequities across communities. For instance, we will use ‘communities experiencing racial inequity’ to describe people that experience inequity as a result of their race or ethnic group. We will also take an intersectional approach to how we describe people to recognise multiple identities. For example, we will refer to ‘women experiencing racial inequity’.

Classifying our data on organisations and the communities they support

To help us track progress on our commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and ultimately be a better funder, we have adopted the DEI Data Standard to classify our data based on the following:

  • An organisation’s mission: by this, we mean any specific groups or communities that are included in your constitution.
  • The communities an organisation is targeting or supporting: by this, we mean that 75% or more of the people receiving support or are intentionally being targeted share a particular identity or experience.
  • An organisation's leadership (the key decision-makers): we define an organisation as being ‘led by’ a particular category when 75% or more of the Board/Management Committee AND 50% of senior staff share a particular identity or experience, where staff exist.

We will use the information we gather to better understand who is applying for our support and who it’s reaching. It will also help inform improvements to our processes so that they are accessible, fair and inclusive.

Adopting the DEI Data Standard

From September, applicants will be able to select what categories apply to their organisations when submitting an Expression of Interest. We will also be sending a short DEI survey to current grantees to capture information we may not already have.

We will be carrying out a full analysis of our funding at the end of 2021, which will help us understand how equitable our funding is and where we need to make improvements.


The DEI Data Standard

The DEI Data Standard is a shared framework (taxonomy, application and guidance) to monitor equity considerations in grantmaking, which was developed by 360Giving and The Social Investment Company. It was designed with extensive consultation with a diverse range of specialist infrastructure organisations, organisations working on social justice issues, and the wider sector to try to reflect, as far as possible, how organisations identify themselves.

Jointly commissioned by a group of funders including Esmée, we hope the framework will help us to collect data in a systematic manner, and to gauge how equitable our funding and funding practices are.

Learn more about the DEI Data Standard

Learn more

  • The FiELD, East London Dance

    Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

    Our commitments on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as an organisation and through our work.

    Read more
  • team-plastic-fishing-2019.jpg

    What we're doing about diversity, equity and inclusion

    This article explains where Esmée Fairbairn has got to so far, where we're headed, and pulls together our views, plans, and resources.

    Read more
  • Columba 1400, Visual Explorer Exercise

    About Esmée

    Learn about our people, our governance and history as well as our approach to investment and see our annual reports.

    Read more