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Michael Mapstone

Director of External Affairs and Global Engagement

Charities Aid Foundation

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Black Lives Matter – CAF statement

12 June 2020

At CAF, we have, like so many others, been struggling for the words to convey our support for the people who have taken to the streets in recent days to denounce racism and to demand better of us all. Before jumping head first we thought it best to meet, talk and consider how we can contribute in a meaningful way.

Our social media team worked with policy colleagues to pull together a series of interviews for CAF’s Giving Thought podcast which addressed issues of racism and inequality and moreover, the large swathes of Britain’s philanthropic history that were funded by the slave trade.

The aim was to not have CAF speak to these issues, but to amplify the voices of colleagues who bring their diverse communities’ lived experience to the fore of the discussion. They were generous with their time and their candour and we are grateful to them. This is, above all else, not about us.

It was a starting point. What more can we do?

At CAF, our own Diversity and Inclusion committee, first formed in 2018, met to consider a response.   Our Diversity and Inclusion statement very much reflects the work we do with the organisations in the UK and around the world which are the beneficiaries of the donations that flow through CAF. Moreover, it speaks to the almost 500 people in the UK going to work everyday who lie behind the CAF name. It reads:

  • We support a hugely diverse range of charitable organisations all over the world
    and we want to reflect this in who we are.
  • Diversity and inclusion are more than just words for us, they guide how we build
    our teams and create a charity that’s the right fit for every person inside of it, where everyone is welcome.
  • We want people to bring their authentic whole selves to work to fuel our innovation and connect us more closely to the customers and charities we serve.

The title of our statement sums up our view.  “Uniqueness is powerful. Be yourself, we like it that way.”

We then asked what else we were doing and, what else we can be doing?

Our CAF Venturesome team, which provide social investments to small businesses with a social purpose which are unlikely to find funding elsewhere, has actively engaged with the Equality Impact Investing Project and has committed to making intentional changes to increase and actively advance equality for BAME communities through our social investments.  The aim is to ensure that existing and future investees – and their beneficiaries – are able to address the structural causes of racism and inequality.

Last year, CAF granted £646million to charities around the world. Many of those have worked tirelessly for decades to battle racism and inequality in all its forms.

At CAF, we do not pick our ‘favourite’ charities, we help people to get funds to the charities and causes that they care most about, that they choose to support.

But we do bring expertise to the table. CAF spends considerable time and specialist effort in verifying charities around the world – ensuring that the charities that people send money to support are legitimate. It is an important part of what we do and it ensures that funds arrive safely in the hands of charities so that they can carry out their valuable work.

While Black Lives Matter is a movement, rather than a registered charity, there are nonetheless, many, many organisations working in both countries and around the world to battle racism and inequality. We have created a list of UK organisations that may be of use. It is by no means exhaustive as there are hundreds of organisations doing this work at a local and national level, but some of our many clients who are eager to assist may appreciate some suggestions.

The events of the last few weeks have brought these very important and challenging issues to the fore and, at CAF, we hope they result in positive and lasting change. We will continue to support organisations all over the world who are leading this change and work hard internally to ensure we uphold the commitments made in our Diversity and Inclusion statement.

Michael Mapstone is the executive sponsor for CAF’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee

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