Cheshire Community Foundation’s Equality and Diversity Policy in the context of our operational activity i.e. grant making, donor and stakeholder engagement
Cheshire Community Foundation is a registered charity and limited company with broad charitable purposes to benefit of the community in particular, but not exclusively, in the area of Cheshire and Warrington.
The Foundation’s operational aims are enabling effective giving by people and business; supporting organisations and individuals with funding, time and expertise; and informing and influencing issues affecting our communities.
The Community Foundation recognises that everyone has a unique contribution to make to the life of our communities. We welcome the involvement of all people and aim to treat everyone with equal respect.
Among the principles underpinning our work are advocating for disadvantaged people and less well supported causes, and reflecting and involving our area’s diverse communities.
We aim to create a working environment in which all individuals can make best use of their skills, free from discrimination or harassment, and in which all decisions are based on merit.
The purpose of this policy is to show how the Foundation complies with relevant laws and guidance on discrimination and equality, and how we work towards best practice in celebrating diversity and promoting equal opportunities.
In adopting the policy, the Board has taken advice and account of the Charity Commission guidance on the Equality Act 2010.
The policy covers our three key operational aims and the overarching area of governance and operations. It applies to all employees and Board members of the Community Foundation and to volunteers.
Meaning of terms
- Protected characteristics: as defined in the Equality Act 2010 they are age, disability, gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, pregnancy or maternity, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.
- Positive Action: proportionate measures to help people who share a protected characteristic to have the same chances as everyone else. This may include providing additional or bespoke services or targeted support to help them address their specific needs, to overcome disadvantage linked to their protected characteristic or to increase their participation where there is disproportionate underrepresentation.
- Charitable instrument: a formal document setting out the purposes for which funds must be applied. For the Foundation, this is normally the fund/philanthropy services agreement, a will or a trust deed or other governing document.
- Legitimate aim: is one which can be objectively justified as effective on social policy grounds, or is consistent with the Foundation’s operational purpose for the public benefit.
Enabling effective giving by people and business
Donors may wish to establish funds at the Community Foundation with benefits restricted to people with a particular protected characteristic. Such restrictions may be accepted, where the donor’s intention is to tackle greater needs or disadvantages linked to that protected characteristic. In such cases, the donor’s wishes will be clearly set out in the relevant charitable instrument.
Donors may also seek restrictions on who may benefit from a fund that do not relate to a protected characteristic. For example, a fund may legitimately be restricted to a particular locality or type of activity without excluding people with any protected characteristics.
Foundation staff will advise potential donors on how this policy may apply to named funds they establish. However, the Board reserves the right not to accept a gift, if restrictions regarding any protected characteristic cannot be justified on the grounds of needs or disadvantages – or would otherwise be unlawful.
Participation in Foundation fundraising activities may, where appropriate, be restricted to one sex – for example attendance and support for The Cheshire Ladies Philanthropy annual lunch or the Inspiring Women event.
Supporting individuals and organisations with funding, time and expertise
In line with our Grant-Making policy, it is the Foundation’s wish to make grants to a wide range of organisations supporting diverse communities and, in certain circumstances, to individuals. We consider all requests for grants and other support fairly on their merits.
If a fund has been established with restricted purposes as described above, the Foundation may make grants or offer other forms of support restricted to people with the protected characteristic(s) in question, where doing so is a fair, balanced and reasonable way of meeting a legitimate aim.
Alternatively, the Foundation may make grants or offer other forms of support restricted to people with a particular protected characteristic(s) where doing so is an objectively justifiable means of achieving positive action.
We aim to do our best to take any particular needs into account when dealing with requests for grants or other support. In particular, the Foundation will take reasonable steps to make information available in accessible formats for disabled people, working with partner organisations for example Deafness Support Network (BSL interpreter provider).
The Foundation may also take positive action to encourage and enable applications from groups representing or helping people with other protected characteristics where they are disproportionately underrepresented across our grant-making and other support.
The Foundation welcomes applications from faith groups but, as stated in our Grant-Making policy, we will not normally support religious activity which is not for wider public benefit.
In line with its Grant-Making policies, the Board reserves the right not to approve any recommendation or nomination if the resulting grant would not be charitable, or would conflict with our stated policies or damage our reputation. Informing and influencing issues affecting our communities.
As well as providing funding, advice and support, where appropriate the Foundation also carries out advocacy, research and development. This can mean investing in policy work, initiatives and collaborations or making targeted grants to address gaps and lever in funding. It can also involve providing thinking, convening and brokerage around our areas of expertise. In carrying out such activities, we may take positive action where it is justified to address particular needs, disadvantages or lower levels of participation for groups sharing one or more protected characteristics.
Governance and operations
The Foundation welcomes the involvement of a wide range of people and organisations through its membership structure, and aims to treat all members with equal respect. Our Board is representative of the membership through nominations and elections made in advance of the Annual General Meeting.
We may also take positive action where justifiable to encourage and enable the participation of underrepresented groups in our governance.
The Community Foundation’s Staff Handbook includes our policy on equality and diversity in employment which applies to all aspects of our relationship with staff and to relations between staff members. The handbook also covers harassment and bullying.
The principles of non-discrimination and equality of opportunity apply to the way in which Foundation staff must treat visitors, Board members, grantees, donors, suppliers and former staff members. Responsibilities and review Ultimate responsibility for this policy rests with the Board of Trustees and its subcommittees.
The Board delegates responsibility for implementation to the Chief Executive. However, everyone who works for the organisation, whether paid or unpaid, has an individual responsibility to accept the policy and contribute to its application. Where it appears that there may be a breach of the policy, the Chief Executive will investigate and take appropriate action. Complaints may be made externally through the Foundation’s complaints procedure, or internally through the procedures set out in the Staff Handbook.