Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Diversity, equity and inclusion - Guy's & St Thomas' Foundation

Better health for all through diversity, equity and inclusion

We believe better health for all is within our reach and by becoming a more diverse, equitable and inclusive organisation together we can achieve this.

Group of people at a conference

Our journey towards greater diversity, equity and inclusion

We are working to embed diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) into everything we do. Two years ago, we set an agenda for our approach. This underpins how we manage our assets, who we employ and partner with, and how we make decisions.

We made our commitment to DEI not only because it is the right thing to do, but because we genuinely believe it will enable us to be more effective in driving health equity.

Better health for all is within our reach. However, to achieve this, we need people from a range of different backgrounds and experiences to inform our organisational culture and practice. Therefore, removing barriers and taking bold actions to ensure our own organisation is equitable, diverse and inclusive, is central to this aim.

To do this, we not only look at our internal practices. We also support a diverse pipeline of partners and suppliers, and take intentional action to ensure our actions today leave behind a fair and equitable legacy. Most importantly, we use our influence as a foundation to encourage and enable others to do the same.

Our definitions of diversity, equity and inclusion

As an organisation, we have collectively crafted our own definitions of diversity, equity and inclusion. These reflect the needs of our mission to build the foundations of a healthier society and reduce inequality in health. They underpin our cultural values: being enterprising, collaborative and delivery minded.


For us, it means:

Recognising and taking account of everything that makes us unique as an individual. It is not just the categories that are protected by law. It is our backgrounds, the way we live, our personality types, our ways of thinking and the variety of our perspectives. Along with this, diversity describes the positive value of the rich tapestry of experience. This helps us to look at things from different angles to make an impact in the communities in which we operate.


For us, it means:

We consider individual needs to create fair access, opportunities, and advancement for everybody. While equality means sameness, to us equity means acknowledging we all have different starting points. As a result, we act with transparency, compassion, and trust. We create conditions for everyone to thrive and reach their full potential.


For us, it means:

We embrace, celebrate and value difference within the workplace. Our organisational effort and practices ensure we remove barriers. Therefore, all groups or individuals are culturally and socially welcomed and valued equally.

How we approach diversity, equity and inclusion

Using as a guide the pillars of stronger foundation practice from the Association of Charitable Foundations, we have identified three areas of focus to drive forward our diversity, equity, and inclusion practice. These are:

  • Firstly, our practice. Embedding equity and inclusive practices into our work, processes and policies and continuing to learn and develop to ensure equitable impact.
  • Secondly, our legacy. Working to dismantle inequitable structures and to build an equitable and just legacy through our work as a Foundation. We do this by supporting a diverse pipeline of talent in our sector and, leading by example, influencing partners and others to do the same.
  • Finally, advocacy. Maximising the unique space we hold as a foundation to influence and advocate for DEI through our networks and platforms by using our own voice, amplifying the voice of others, or joining with similar organisations of influence to amplify and embed equitable practices in our sector.

Progress we’ve made on diversity, equity and inclusion

We have much to learn and more work to do. However, a review of our strategic approach has already led to positive, practical changes in the way we work.  For example, we have:

  • Embedded DEI as part of our induction programme for all new starters. As a result, this supports and empowers all staff to develop their knowledge on equity, inclusion and power.
  • Developed and implemented action plans for our programmatic funding, Trust engagement and recruitment processes. We have further plans to be formed for our board of Trustees, communications and for our emerging people strategy.
  • Crafted our own definitions of diversity, equity and inclusion. Consequently, this has embedded a shared understanding on how DEI relates to our values, and its importance in achieving our mission.
  • A workstream dedicated to ensuring the work we do now leaves behind a fair and equitable legacy. This therefore ensures we make a contribution to our place, now and in the future. For example, we’re improving the diversity of our talent pipeline by developing an associates programme – supporting apprenticeship, interns and work experience programmes focused on people in our place; supporting community leadership in our place. Also, we are undertaking further research to better understand our heritage and the impact this has on health inequalities.

In addition, we are committed to being a fair and inclusive employer and transparent in our reporting. For instance, we are a Living Wage employer and support flexible working, parental leave, part-time roles and job shares. We report annually on gender and ethnicity pay gaps of our staff and leadership.

Understanding our heritage and its impact today

Part of moving our DEI commitment forward is working to understand our organisation’s history, the health of the people who live in our communities, the history of our place and the legacy we want to leave behind.

Like many organisations in Britain, slavery is part of our history. We believe we have a duty to address its legacies. Therefore, as a health foundation and the owner of a large arts and heritage collection, we are committed to tackling the impact of racism on health inequalities, and to supporting greater diversity within our organisation and work.

We are working to build a better understanding of our heritage and the impact of that legacy on health and healthcare today. We are partnering with a broad range of organisations to help us explore and share what we learn with others. For example, we:

  • Commissioned independent research and consultation to guide action on statues we own of two of our benefactors who were connected with the trade of enslaved people.
  • Are exploring work including increasing the diversity of voices celebrated in the public realm through our arts collection and commissions within healthcare settings, and understanding further any historical links of our endowment with discriminatory practices.