This week Voice4Change England and ACEVO published a new report focusing on the charity sector: Home Truths- undoing racism and delivering real diversity in the charity sector. It’s part of a wider body of work the two organisations have been developing with National Lottery community funding. It makes the case that ‘the problem in the charity sector is not simply an absence of BAME people. Once inside the sector, significant numbers of BAME people experience discrimination and harm’.

The report found that:
• 68% of respondents had experienced, witnessed or heard stories of racism in the charity sector
• 50% of respondents felt they had needed to ‘tone down’ their behaviour or be on their ‘best behaviour’ in order to fit in
• 45% had been subject to ignorant or insensitive questioning about their culture or religion
• 30% had been treated as an intellectual inferior*.

Association of Chairs welcomes the Home Truths report and encourages Chairs and boards to read it, discuss it and take action. We agree it is important to recognise the pervasive effects of racism identified in the charity sector. We acknowledge the need for concerted and sustained action to tackle these issues. We believe boards and Chairs have a more important role to play than is reflected in the report particularly in ensuring an inclusive culture and in addressing some of the specific recommendations in the report including for example diversity, equity and inclusion targets and being accountable for their monitoring and oversight. We commit to playing our part and helping Chairs to do the same. We will discuss with Chairs and Association of Chairs members how we can make progress together. We also look forward to working with other partners in the charity sector.

If you want to be part of the conversation on the role of Chairs on this issue, please get in touch.

*Data from the Home Truths report. There were 493 total respondents to the online survey on which the report is based.