Black-led charities ‘made to feel they are underserving of funding’, says report

Black and minority led charities are being made to feel “as though they aren’t deserving of funding” due to structural racism in the third sector, according to a report.

The Ubele Initiative report says the charity sector is blighted by systemic racism, which is leading to a feeling among charities supporting black and minoritised communities that they are not deserving of funding.

Other issues highlighted include diversity and inclusion efforts being confused with demonstrating anti-racism by funders.

There is also a lack of transparency about why funding applications are being turned down, says the report.

The report adds there is an “unequal power dynamic” in the relationship between funders and black and minority led charities.

“This dynamic playing out has fuelled mistrust towards funders and added to a crisis of confidence in the sector, says the report called the Booksa Paper 2021, which is named after the Somali word for position.

It adds: “The impact of repeated discrimination in this dynamic, is that groups can even feel as though they aren’t deserving of funding.

“Given the trauma of systemic racism, it’s not hard to imagine that rejection from funding can make both individuals and groups exhausted by the process, which will impact their confidence, will and capacity to apply for funds in the future.”

The report includes the views of funders and black and minoritized community organisations, who were interviewed earlier this year.

Among those surveyed for the report, one said “funders have conditioned us to convince us that we are not good enough”.

The respondent added: “I am talking to CEOs who have been running organisations that have existed for decades.

“Suddenly, they are feeling like they don’t have the confidence to submit a funding application. That is not right. That has been conditioned by the funder. We need to bust this myth that it's because we aren’t good enough, because it's ridiculous.”

Lack of transparency

The report raises concerns about transparency in funding decisions saying this is needed “not only about what is being funded but also which applications are being turned down and for what reasons”.

Data around funding outcomes is “crucial to detecting additional barriers”, says the report.

Ubele Initiative chief executive Yvonne Field said: “This position paper will not be an easy read for some, but we know facilitating transformational change is not really for the fainthearted!

"We hope that funders will dig deep, commit to the Calls to Action and collaborate with our sector to ensure that more racially just funding practices including designs and decision-making become mainstream practice over the next few years.”

This is the latest report to raise concerns about the funding challenges facing black and ethnic minority led charities over the last month.

This includes a report commissioned by the Funders for Race Equality Alliance that found that grants were too short term and focused on London.

In addition, a report by the Boabab Foundation
found that funding is failing to tackle inequality and called for funders to build partnerships with black-led organisations.

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