Meeting 14 – 1/10/21: with Grant Givers Movement

1. Introduction:

James mentioned the email exchanges after the last meeting – concerning what we note in these meetings.  The group agreed it was important that we continue to share as much as we feel able in these meetings and that we publish as much as possible on the website in the interest of transparency and accountability.  If there are issues which are particularly sensitive, we should feel able to say “not for minuting”, or “not for publication”.

2. Updates from members:

Mark, Celia & James met with ACF last week (Gemma Instrall – Director of Membership and Richard Hebditch – Director of External Affairs), and discussed what ACF might do to publicise JFI. Not necessarily about getting others to join but offering this as a model that others might want to adopt.

Next steps – ACF will come back with some proposals, might include Carol mentioning JFI in her conference speech, JFI on ACF list of resources, guest blogs for the website re why we participate etc, trusts & Foundations newsletter article December edition along similar lines, reflections from participants.

When we get the list from ACF will circulate to the whole group and agree who will take those things forward.

We agree this membership being a cell, not growing bigger due to reasons of confidentiality and trust etc, but there could be a process of cell replication. Members can talk about how it came about, how it runs etc, bringing in speakers, confidentiality, accountability etc. Some of us might be available to others in helping setting up other cells. We need to think about this at some point.

Mark, Celia & James raised with ACF the importance of protecting a space for foundations to be able to tackle these issues and do that in a way which where there is something supporting the space to do that, so that they are not having to defend themselves isolation. We discussed what might be ACF’s role in supporting that safe space?  ACF’s trustees are exploring this and will address with comms people in other sector bodies.

The response on govt commentary was a bit disappointing, compared to eg NCVO and ACEVO for the wider sector. We will think about how we can support the ACF team in this.

3. Guest speakers from Grant Givers Movement:

This section of the notes to be added once it has been approved by the members of GGM who attended the meeting.

Group discussion –

Not just having the faces in the room, not sufficient; diversity is about going to the disco and inclusion is about being invited to dance

Assumption that white people are clever – experience is its often the opposite.

Have to find appropriate ways to draw everyone into the conversation.  As leaders, we need to reach out to our colleagues – to better understand the complexity of people’s lives.

“Race” is only part of the issue we have to grapple with to be truly inclusive.

We have a role to support people to activate their voice. Our role is to support people to develop, speak etc – have to take each person and each opportunity as an individual, reach out to each person. We like to look for shortcuts but need to take the time and be very individual both internally and externally.  

Activation of voice – what can we do as individuals and as the initiative?  The people with the greatest legitimacy (eg in terms of lived experience and racial injustice) have the least power in our sector. We need to think about how we tackle that, allowing people to stand in their own skin, to create organisations where we can all do that.

Focusing on not doing enough can be disempowering and demotivational, actually that can also be empowering; orgs like JFI are an important potential focus for change;

How do I make the most of the privilege and power that I have been given where I sit in the system?

GGM  have a survey on their website on philanthropy and where money is coming from and the power dynamics (closes on 4/10/21):

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/ethicsofphilanthropy

Also GGM have a crowdfunding page so that they can continue with this work:

https://chuffed.org/project/ggm-crowdfunder

If any JFI member would like to reach out to GGM, the contact details are:

https://www.grantgiversmovement.org/contact or via James.

The group thanked Suela and Marcia who then left the meeting.

4. Next steps:

Reflecting on what we heard from Emeka Forbes of #CharitySoWhite at the last meeting, and from GGM at this meeting.  Points raised:

– We have to get over the sector inertia. At what point do we stick our head above the parapet and confront others? What are the forums to go out to; we as a group are hearing them and what do we do?

– At the last session we focused on leadership – being bold and brave; using the power and privilege we have; awareness and understanding, we see things though a particular lens.  We need to work with a range of other actors to close a range of blind spots.

– What do we do to increase our accountability (as Emeka said, we have to be vulnerable in order to be truly accountable).

– Is there something in particular to draw out at the next session?

– Do we need to formulate our call to action?

– Agreement to take up further with ACF & ACO, so we need to formulate an action plan.

– Need more processing time to review both conversations to try and work out an agenda that takes account of the richness of that – do we need time together to do that?

– We also need to follow up on using our power and influence – thinking about blind spots.

– Whatever we put out there, needs to be done with enough care as to who else’s voice we activate?

– Lots of webinar sessions on these issues; it is the same faces we see – not a wide range; need to do something about that too.

– Dealing with boards can be a challenge, in a different place from them, how do we manage that?

– Need a bit more thinking time, to come up with a set of specific audiences and asks and we’ll talk that through at the next meeting.

– Balancing being brave with self-care – can’t win everything, but not letting ourselves off the hook. It’s not straightforward.

– Come with a set of proposals for what we can realistically do as individuals and through JFI.

5. ACTIONS:

We agreed to have a paired conversation before the next meeting to help with this – with a view to coming up with a list of suggestions to turn into a sector development plan to bring to the next meeting

Celia to set up the pairs.

Next meeting will discuss this sector development plan – use that as a basis for some actions that we are going to move forward – cell replication; ACF/ ACO engagement; etc.

Clare to lead next session.

James to take notes.

Fri 5th November 2021.  1 – 2.30pm

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