I’m Gary Buckley, CEO of Action West London. Today, I’d like to discuss a policy that has been generating substantial debate: the decision to only fund organisations if they are equity-led.
Firstly, it’s essential to recognise the importance of equity in our society. Our work at Action West London is deeply rooted in promoting fairness and equality, and we support initiatives that elevate these principles.
However, the decision to exclusively fund equity-led organisations raises a few critical concerns that merit discussion.
- Definition and Measurement of Equity-Led: The definition of what constitutes an “equity-led” organisation can be subjective and difficult to standardise. This ambiguity could lead to confusion and inconsistencies in how funding is allocated. Moreover, it’s challenging to quantify and measure equity to a degree that satisfies all parties involved.
- Oversimplification of Social Issues: This approach can oversimplify the vast array of social issues that organisations are trying to address. Some organisations might not primarily focus on equity but are still doing vital work in areas such as environmental conservation, arts and culture, mental health support, and more. Their work indirectly contributes to social equity by creating a healthier, more vibrant society, but under the new policy, they could be overlooked.
- Potential Exclusion of Small and Emerging Organisations: Smaller or newer organisations might not have the resources or experience to demonstrate their equity focus effectively, despite their genuine commitment. This funding policy could unintentionally exclude these organisations, stifling innovation and variety in the charity sector.
- Risk of Tokenism: The policy might unintentionally encourage superficial compliance, where organisations prioritise appearing equity-led over truly embedding equity in their operations. This could result in tokenism, which does little to advance the cause of social justice.
Rather than exclusively funding equity-led organisations, a more holistic approach could be beneficial. This could involve considering an organisation’s equity focus as a significant factor in funding decisions but also taking into account other factors such as the organisation’s mission, impact, and community needs.
Furthermore, capacity-building initiatives could help all organisations, regardless of their current focus, to embed equity more deeply in their work. This could involve training, resources, and support to understand and apply equity principles effectively.
It’s crucial to foster and finance equity-focused work, but we must also recognise and value the diverse contributions of different organisations. With a nuanced, holistic approach, we can work towards a just and equitable society without undermining the rich tapestry of efforts that contribute to it.
Thank you for joining this crucial conversation.
Gary Buckley CEO, Action West London
If you want to get in touch email at firstname.lastname@example.org