All lives matter

What prompted this blog was that I have been asked by my Chair of Trustees to produce a discussion paper on Diversity for my Board of Trustees of the Community Foundation for Calderdale (the Foundation). This is a very important piece of work given the re-emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement brought to the fore recently in the USA, and internationally, following George Floyd’s killing by an officer/officers of the Minneapolis Police Department.

The Foundation, the organisation I am proud to be CEO for, was established in March 1991 to ‘Promote philanthropy and build invested Funds (endowment) and target grants to improve the quality of life for the people of Calderdale’. Mission Statement

Calderdale has a population of approximately 205,000 people and approximately 10% is made of black and minority ethnic (BAME) communities. This statistic is important particularly when looking at BAME representatives on the Board of Trustees i.e. the pool of possible representatives is small and suggests one BAME trustee is a realistic ambition. The Foundation currently has a board of 12 Trustees (6 male 6 female) with no representation from minority or ethnic communities.

I have used ‘All Lives Matter’ as my Blog headline not deliberately to be provocative but because it was my instinctive reaction, when I witnessed the numerous placards at Black Lives Matters demonstrations to challenge the slogan – Of course, black lives matter, but other lives matter too!

I am fully behind legal forms of protest that highlight injustices and influence positive change for the black community, but surely ALL human lives matter? Human life is precious, regardless of skin colour, ability, faith, gender, sexual orientation…

The challenge for the Foundation is to ensure we are doing all we can across all aspects of the organisation, including Governance and recruitment, without being tokenistic. To ensure that there’s an equal opportunity for ALL and that the Equality and Diversity Policy DOES NOT only see the light of day to satisfy Quality Accreditation, it is regularly employed to ensure Equality and Diversity are embedded in all aspects of Foundation activity.

My discussion paper will pose the following questions which I hope will be helpful for readers of this blog if you are considering a Diversity Review

Q1: Should our Mission Statement be specific about the beneficiaries i.e. BAME people, people with disabilities, different religions and sexual orientation etc?

Q2: What do our ‘values’ say about Diversity, if anything? Is it time to review our organisational values?

Q3: Are we doing all we can to recruit trustees from all sections of the community?

Q4: Are we doing all we can to recruit staff from all sections of the community?

Q5: Is our website and outward facing marketing materials accessible to as many people as possible, including those with sight impairments?

Ironically it was decided in 2019 that this year was going to be the Foundation year to Celebrate Diversity through the Annual Community Awards. Floods in February and Covid-19 have scuppered these plans but hopefully, following a board discussion and implemented changes, the Foundation will be better placed to fly the flag for Diversity at the 2021 Awards.

If you would like to know more about a trusteeship at the Foundation please contact the office on 01422 349700 and ask to speak with me (Steve Duncan).

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