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Racial Justice Funding

The Trust audits its grants annually using the Funders for Racial Equality (FREA) Audit Tool. The audit helps us determine not only the proportion of our funding that goes towards racial justice issues, but the proportion of our grants that go to organisations run by and for people from racialised groups, and whether grants are intended to address the root causes or the consequences of structural racism.

We have run the audit three times, most recently for our 2022-23 portfolio.  We saw a big uptick in the number of grants going to organisations led by people from racialised groups (16% compared to 5% and 7% in the previous two audits).  This is the result of a few small changes across the portfolio including grants being made to organisations in this sector from the Connect Fund for the first time.  It is worth noting that the proportion of grant funding going to this group of organisations closely mirrors the proportion of grants made (18%).

Similarly, we have seen a big increase in the proportion of funding going to projects intended to improve racial equity, with the proportion rising to nearly half (47%), up from 38% and 39% in previous years.  This is driven by one of the Connect Fund priorities being consolidation of its diversity work, and some new partners in the Criminal Justice programme.

FREA publishes consolidated figures from all the foundations undertaking the audit: 15 in the 2022-23 cohort.  It found that the Trust’s pattern of funding is similar to that of the total cohort (46% of the cohort’s funding went to racial justice issues vs. 47% of Trust funding; 13% vs. 16% going to organisations led by and for people from racialised groups). It is worth noting that foundations undertaking the audit are a self-selected group with a stated commitment to racial justice so are not representative of the wider foundation sector.

Where the Trust differs very significantly from other funders is its focus on structural change to reduce inequality.  In the most recent year audited, 76% of the funding the Trust spent on racial justice issues went to projects aiming for structural change, the remainder were addressing the consequences of structural racism.  This is almost twice that of other funders in the cohort (42%).  2022-23 did, however see a reduction in the proportion of the Trust’s racial justice funding being spent at the structural level – the previous figure was 92%. The change is largely due to some of the Connect Fund work being assessed as addressing symptoms, and some new projects to the Criminal Justice portfolio doing the same thing.