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Statement: An update on our work on being actively anti-racist

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As part of our continued work and commitment to embed diversity, equity and inclusion in everything we do, the Foundation is progressing a series of actions to strengthen our position as an actively anti-racist organisation.

A statement from the Executive Team 29/09/2022

We want to make very clear that racism and discrimination has no place in the Foundation or in society. We also know it’s not enough just to be not racist. We need be actively, visibly and explicitly anti-racist.

Our mission is to build the foundations of a healthier society. It’s critical we acknowledge that our endowment was born out of profits from the trade of enslaved people. And far from being an issue of the past, enslavement and the trade of enslaved people continues to have a deep and lasting impact, including on the health inequalities we focus on today. This is because they are rooted in racism, racist structures and systems of oppression.

We recognise that just as these oppressive systems exist in society they will exist within our organisation and we need to address how we dismantle these in pursuit of greater health equity and inclusion.

We believe that understanding the impact of racism, our heritage and its impact on health today is critical to our mission. We are committed to using lessons from the past to help build a more equitable future.

We also know that racism exists in society, and the Foundation is not immune to it. But we are prepared to take the strongest possible stance and challenge racism wherever we find it. This includes recognising and challenging structures and systems that uphold and perpetuate it. It also means taking swift and tangible action when we encounter it within our Foundation.

Our goal is to build a culture at the Foundation where everyone can thrive. We recognise this won’t happen on its own. We need to actively foster a culture where people feel comfortable raising their concerns, have trusted conversations and are confident that appropriate action will be taken.

In the coming months we will be progressing and prioritising the following as part of our next phase of work in support of our DEI strategy, which we know will support all the work we do as a Foundation:

  • Strengthening our internal policies: We are working with external experts to develop an anti-racism policy to make explicitly clear what behaviours we expect as an employer and how this aligns with our organisational values. This will include how an anti-racism policy will sit within or alongside an updated overarching Equality, Diversity and Respect Policy and be enforced through performance and disciplinary processes.
  • Developing and co-producing inclusion as an additional organisational value: Adding Inclusion as a value alongside our existing values of Enterprising, Collaborative and Delivery Minded supported by a clear set of behaviours so everybody within the Foundation knows what is expected of them and from each other.
  • Improving information and support: around how to flag a concern internally, how any concerns would be handled and potential repercussions in line with our disciplinary policy.
  • Developing our DEI learning & development programme: This work will include a full package of training and support for staff to understand what being an actively anti racist organisation means in practice, including for individuals, how it aligns with our mission and values and how we implement it in our work as a funder.
  • Ensuring accountability: To embed our anti-racist position within the Foundation ensuring clear accountability for our progress and what this means in practice. From individual objectives and development plans around diversity, equity and inclusion to clear accountability at all levels across the Foundation. This will be supported by regular tracking and reporting against our commitments.

We are committed to the continued development of our DEI strategy to support our mission of health equity for all.