Race Equity and Diversity

We believe that embedding racial diversity in every aspect of our work; recruitment, staff development, due diligence, funding decisions, our non-financial support, governance structures and more, will make us a better, smarter organisation, truly able to implement our mission.

In August 2020 we started a Race Equity Taskforce internally to look at every aspect of our organisation and our work from a race equity lens, and identify recommendations for improvement. Those recommendations were unanimously approved by our Board in March 2021.

We are now starting the challenging task of implementing the recommendations well; we're ready for an exciting but also challenging journey of learning, discovery, missteps and joy ahead.

We’ve committed to

We have begun work on embedding racial diversity into all aspects of our work. Though each change has a corresponding target, we are mindful that targets are not the priority. They are a guide to help us to be a better organisation.

1. Increase our racial diversity

At Impetus

  • Our governance: We believe that around 40% of our trustees and committee members should be from ethnic minority backgrounds by the end of 2024. We came to this target reflecting on the London population and taking into account that at least 40% of young people served by charities in our portfolio are from ethnic minority backgrounds.
  • Our staff: We believe that around 40% of our staff should be from ethnic minority backgrounds as a London based charity (working from a current baseline of 30%). We have work to do to attract more talent from all ethnic minorities.
  • We believe that young people must have a say in what we do: We are also focused on embedding youth accountability and representation in our governance structures and funding work.

In our partnerships

  • We have added racial diversity to our core criteria in selecting new organisations for our multi-year, unrestricted charity investments.
  • We are exploring how to effectively embed racial diversity in all aspects of our policy work.
  • We know that policy partnerships and coalitions will be more effective if they are more diverse in background and experience. We recognise we have an important role to play in advocating for this and ensuring that when we commission research we look for partners who can demonstrate that they celebrate and “get” diversity and truly represent young people and the barriers faced in our mission.
  • We recognise we need to grow, diversify and challenge existing and new networks across all areas of our work. This will make us a better, more informed organisation. We can’t fulfil our mission without this.

2. Embed diversity in our practice

At Impetus

  • We have made diversity a key organisational KPI – in terms of race/ethnicity, gender, disability, sexuality, socio-economic class, geography and lived experience. We are now reporting against this KPI at senior management and Board level to ensure we keep learning and hold ourselves to account.
  • Ensuring we embed and celebrate diversity in all our internal policies and procedures as a priority. This includes testing, learning and iterating what works in our recruitment processes, induction plans, training and development work, selection criteria for our charity investments and public affairs partnerships, and in our office culture, as well as communications content development and dissemination.
  • Setting up an internal working group on diversity that reports directly to senior management and our Board to ensure positive change continues.

In our partnerships

  • We are wholly committed to supporting our charity partners to diversify. We are discussing diversity in our Peer Learning Forums whilst pushing ourselves to better help our charities to build more diverse Boards, senior teams and proactively consider diversity in CEO succession. We are asking that race is added to their data collection and analysis for better impact management.
  • We are committed to testing new types of charity support funding streams and investing in a broader range of organisations. Our work to embed lived experience, gender, disability, sexuality and many other aspects of diversity in all aspects of our operations and programmes is just the beginning.

We are acutely conscious that as a youth charity focused on socio-economic disadvantage, social mobility must be a golden thread running through all our diversity work. We have lots to learn, test, fail and build better in this area.

Actions we’ve taken so far

August 2020

We set up a cross-organisation Race Equity Taskforce to critically assess our organisation and our work from a race equity lens and develop recommendations for improvement.

August 2020 - February 2021

While our Race Equity Taskforce researched and considered targets concerning our organisation, work and our mission, they also held conversations with our wider group of stakeholders (including charity partners, funders, and other partners), all staff and our Board of Trustees.

February 2021

The Race Equity Taskforce presented their findings and recommendations to staff and captured reflections and comments.

March 2021

Our Board of Trustees approved the targets recommended by the Race Equity Taskforce, agreeing that making racial diversity a part of how we work is fundamental to effectively delivering our mission.

July 2021

Launch of the Impetus Leadership Academy - in partnership with Bank of America we launched a 12 month programme offering professional and leadership opportunities to emerging leaders from ethnic minority backgrounds working in the UK youth sector.

Q3 & Q4 2021

Testing of new ways to increase the diversity of organisations we consider for investment; with particular attention paid to racial diversity. Our priority funding areas for 2021 were apprenticeships, social and emotional resilience and higher education.

Autumn 2021 onwards

We recognise that understanding and implementing race equity in our organisation is an ongoing journey. Staff and Board training, ongoing difficult conversations, learning from others and remaining open to challenge will continue to be part of this process.

February 2022 - March 2022

We launched our Connect Fund. Together with The Centerbridge Foundation, Allan & Gill Gray Philanthropy, The Towerbrook Foundation, Sainsbury's and Bain & Company, we’re working to close the employment gap faced by young people from ethnic minority backgrounds, particularly black, Bangladeshi and Pakistani young people, in the UK.

As part of this work, we launched an open grant round focused on youth employment and race equity, looking for organisations who help young people from ethnic minority backgrounds in the UK get into employment.

Q1 2022

We began our first charity partnerships through our Connect Fund, with Career Ready and MAMA Youth Project, two organisations working to address the employment gap faced by young people from ethnic minority backgrounds.

May 2022

As part of the inaugural Impetus Leadership Academy programme, we convened a panel discussion on how to embed race equity in grant making.

July 2022

We partnered with an executive search firm to make a more focussed attempt at attracting a diverse range of high-quality candidates. Through this organisation we made six appointments to key roles in our Investment and Philanthropy teams. We are continuing to work with them in 2023.

Throughout 2022 we also continued to improve our methods for collecting and analysing equal opportunities data so we ensure we are using it to develop appropriate equality, diversity and inclusion strategies.

September 2022

The inaugural cohort of the Impetus Leadership Academy graduated from the programme, with 10 out of 12 participants progressing into more senior roles, including trusteeships. One participant subsequently became an Impetus Trustee.

October 2022

We enrolled the second cohort of the Impetus Leadership Academy, widening the ILA community to 24 emerging leaders from ethnic minority backgrounds.

January 2023

Following an open grant round, we began partnerships with four more organisations through our Connect Fund: Babbasa, Generation UK, IMO Charity and Sister System. All four organisations are focused on achieving race equity in youth employment through a range of interventions, including: intensive skills bootcamps, local and community-centred holistic support and therapeutic mentoring.

We can’t do this work alone! We welcome your partnership, your advice, your challenge and your questions on our ambitions. Please email info@impetus.org.uk or reach out to us on Twitter @ImpetusUK.

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