22nd March 2022, words by Julian Corner
Lankelly Chase is one of the funders of a new assessment of foundation practices related to transparency, accountability, and diversity. Along with the ten funders, the five largest foundations in the UK (by grant budget) were assessed, as well as eighty five foundations drawn from Giving Trends (2019) largest three hundred trusts and foundations and a sample drawn from the UK community foundations.
We wanted to fund and participate in this assessment because of the urgent need to build trust between those of us who distribute funds and those of us who need them. We have seen repeatedly that many organisations think that foundations’ money isn’t for them, that they won’t be successful if they apply or that they won’t have a good relationship with foundations if they receive money. They often have good evidence for this belief. So if we are going to change this, we in the foundation world need to change our practices and we need to be open and transparent about those changes.
Like many foundations, Lankelly Chase has shifted our practices in relation to social and racial justice in the last two years, and as a result our funds are reaching a much more diverse range of people. However, we have not been sufficiently transparent about this, which means that others can’t hold us to account for the steps we have taken and or know whether they can trust us. While our overall rating is B, on diversity we were assessed as C. We can improve this in the short term with some basic changes to our website, but we also have to go deeper and formalise some of our policies and make our practices much clearer and more explicit. We intend to do this over the next 3 months.
We are grateful to Friends Provident Foundation, and Danielle Walker Palmour in particular, for the leadership they have shown in instigating this new practice rating system. We hope that others in the foundation world will take it as a further prompt not only to improve their practices but also view transparent communication of those practices as a core responsibility in delivering public benefit.