Institutional racism and the FPR rating system
Those familiar with the Foundation Practice Rating (FPR) and the findings of the rating process last year will recall that the Wellcome Trust was amongst the 3 foundations receiving an overall A rating. Wellcome, one of Europe’s largest funders, scored highly in transparency (A) and accountability (A), with slightly lower rating on criteria related to diversity (B).
The results on diversity for all foundations showed that all trusts and foundations had work to do.
This graph illustrates a breakdown of how the assessed foundations faired on the diversity pillar.
0 foundations got an A, 3 foundations got a B, 52 foundations got a C and 45 foundations got a D.
Therefore, we were interested to read the assertion by the Director of Wellcome that it “remains institutionally racist” following an evaluation of the commitments it made in 2020 to address the issues. This is a grave admission: one not many of us would be prepared to make, we note the transparency which Wellcome has exhibited on this complex issue.
The FPR is not the last word on diversity in the foundation sector. The diversity “pillar” is largely an assessment of a foundation’s disclosure about its governance and management on diversity. It does not review what or whom a foundation funds, nor how it selects them. FPR also does not assess funding practices in terms of assessment structures or processes This would involve complex and in-depth evaluation, business process re-engineering and equity and diversity audits, which the FPR cannot do.
What the FPR does is create a consistent framework that can be applied across the huge variety of trusts and foundations in the UK undertaking work from the hyper-local to the global, applying a set of criteria consistent with public and social sector standards for organisations delivering public value.
Our intention in creating the FPR is to encourage funders to provide the information to enable prospective applicants to make informed decisions. Meaningful disclosure may include difficult truths about both successes and failures. Disclosure encourages people who share our missions to hold us to account.