Foundation Practice Rating shows we have more to do

This week sees the launch of the first Foundation Practice Rating report, which uses an objective rating system to assess the diversity, transparency and accountability of 100 foundations in the UK.

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We welcome the findings of the report, which holds a mirror up to the funding sector as a whole, and shows us where we need to improve. The rating can also support individual funders – including Esmée – to be more accountable, more transparent, and to make real progress on diversity, equity and inclusion. Esmée is one of ten funders of this new initiative, which is led by Friends Provident Foundation.

How Esmée did, and our next steps

The Foundation Practice Rating system gives foundations a rating from A to D (A being very good and D not so good) on three key areas of practice: diversity, transparency and accountability, in addition to an overall rating. Esmée received an overall rating of B and, whilst we were rated well for accountability and transparency (rated A for both), we did poorly on diversity, receiving a C rating. We aren’t alone on this. Diversity, which also takes into account the accessibility of the funding process, was the weakest area for the majority of funders assessed.

The report rightly calls funders out on this – particularly as diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is an area we want to see the organisations we fund taking action on. The Foundation Practice Rating has already helped us to take action by highlighting our weak points and sharing good practice.

Since being assessed, we have shared more on what we’re doing around DEI, including our staff and Trustee diversity data. We have also shared our approach to recruitment, and we’re exploring ways to make our guidance and application process more accessible.

We will also be using other information and feedback we have gathered about our practice. For instance:

  • We adopted the DEI Data Standard to help us identify and address structural inequity in our funding practice. As part of that, we are conducting an analysis of our funding portfolio.
  • With the help of nfpResearch, we surveyed organisations we fund and applicants to our funding over the last three years on their experience of us. We’re so grateful to everyone who took the time to respond and will be publishing the results in the next few weeks.
  • We commissioned TSIC to do a DEI review of our funding process.

We plan to share the findings from all of these, alongside our plans, over the coming months. We also continue to welcome feedback on our work and our practice, so do please get in touch.


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