Feb 18, 2020
In episode 66, we talk to Fozia Irfan- CEO of the Bedfordshire
& Luton Community Foundation (and trustee of the Association of
Charitable Foundations). We discuss diversity, equity and inclusion
in the foundation and charity world; the challenges of power
dynamics in philanthropy and the role of place. Including:
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
- What is the DEI Coalition?
- What is the difference between equality and equity, and what
does this mean for funders and charities?
- Does the philanthropy/charity world in the UK have a diversity
problem? What are the main existing barriers to greater diversity
within the sector workforce, and how can we overcome them?
- Are funders more effective when they reflect more closely the
people and communities they serve? In what ways can they achieve
Power & Participation
- What are we to make of criticisms that since philanthropy is to
some extent a product of structural inequality, it can never truly
be part of the solution?
- Is philanthropy paternalistic, and too often about decisions
being made about communities rather than by them?
- What about approaches such as participatory grantmaking, which
seek to shift power as well as money towards recipients? Will we
see more of this in coming years?
- Are there practical challenges when it comes to shifting
- Should more funders support grassroots organisations and
- Some argue that a key part of the role of philanthropy is to
drive society forward by taking risks and funding things that the
state and market cannot - how much current philanthropy meets this
Place & Community
- What role can philanthropy and voluntary action play in
building bridging social capital, bringing diverse communities
together or fostering wider civic engagement? Does this value of
charitable giving and volunteering as an activity rather than
simply the outcomes it produces need to be a more prominent part of
the narrative about its importance to society?
- Does taking a place-based, rather than cause-based approach
make it easier to address the multiple, cross-cutting needs of
people and communities?
- Is “place” more complex than it is sometimes presented? I.e. at
what geographic level do we feel a sense of belonging or
Philanthropy- the big picture
- What is the core role of philanthropy within society which
differentiates it from either state or market provision?
- What should we make of the current wave of criticisms of
philanthropy coming from the US? Do these resonate in the UK
context? Which are most acute or difficult to answer?
- Does philanthropy (and the foundation sector in particular)
need to be more transparent? If so, why and about what? Who does it
benefit (the foundations themselves, their donors, grantees,