The Smallwood Trust is committed to promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in all aspects of our work, as we believe that embracing EDI is essential for achieving our mission of enabling women to become financially resilient.
In our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Progress Update (June 2023) paper we have highlighted our progress and current plans, published EDI Audit recommendations and included our next steps.
The Smallwood Trust has focused our EDI strategy on four key areas:
1. Grant-making and external partnerships
The Smallwood Trust has developed a gender-lens grant-making framework that takes an intersectional approach to grant-making and includes outcome goals such as system transformation, supporting partners to take a gender-lens approach, flexible funding, and supporting networks and communities to be more resilient.
The Trust has invested £2.1 million in place-based initiatives in four cities and re-funded existing community grant partners (CGPs) to a value of £2.7 million over the next three years.
Through the TNLCF-funded Gendered Poverty Learning Programme (GPLP) there is huge potential to develop our approaches around what works in terms of shifting power and being more accountable to the communities we fund.
The Trust has also made changes to our grant-making processes to make them more inclusive and we are committed to closing the gap in funding for organisations led by Black, Asian, and minoritised women.
2. Board development, governance and accountability
The Smallwood Trust won the 'Managing Turnaround' category of the Charity Governance Awards in 2020 for our approach to governance, which gave substantive and consistent consideration to beneficiaries. The Trust adopted the Charity Governance Code in 2019 and created a Governance Action Plan to set clear milestones in relation to organisational purpose, EDI, openness, and accountability.
The Board approved the continuation of the successful Shadowing Programme for the next two years and established an EDI Sub-Committee to take this work forward. The Board also considered delivery vs strategic impact, taking a flexible approach vs risk management, and shifting power to the communities it serves. The EDI sub-group will consider each of the Charity Governance Code principles through an EDI lens.
3. Staffing and internal culture
The Smallwood Trust has appointed an external HR Adviser to help the CEO invest in the organisation's culture, knowledge, systems, and skills and build our own capability to deliver on our plans. The Trust has also reviewed and updated our recruitment process, job description and person specification for the new Programme Manager role through an EDI lens and engaged an inclusive recruitment agency.
Additionally, we have designed tailored workshops for staff that addressed the beginning of their EDI journey, offered 1 to 1 coaching to staff on matters related to EDI, and engaged staff in EDI conversations by providing safe spaces. The Trust is implementing a new People Strategy that was approved by the Board in April 2023 and developing a Code of Conduct/Anti Bullying policy using an EDI impact assessment framework.
4. Historical investments
At the time of writing, further research has been undertaken into our historical investments building on previous research in 2021/22. The Board will be considering next steps and will be agreeing a timetable to publish the research. The learning from this research will be harnessed as a further impetus to shift power across all of our work.
EDI Audit Recommendations
In 2023 we have focused on building an inclusive internal culture and taking forward the relevant EDI recommendations that can be viewed HERE.
The next phase for Smallwood is critical to enable us to move along the continuum to a fully transformative, anti-racist and anti-oppressive funder. A further update will be provided in October 2023.