The Diversity Forum
The Diversity Forum was founded to address these structural inequalities around diversity and representation at decision making levels in fund managers and VCSEs.
Big Society Capital and the Social Impact Investors Group commissioned a survey in 2017 to better understand diversity and inclusion in the social impact investment sector. The results showed a lack of diversity, particularly at decision-making levels, demonstrating that as a sector we are not representative of the communities we aim to serve. As a result, The Diversity Forum was founded to try to address these structural inequalities around diversity and representation at decision making levels in fund managers and VCSEs, including increasing the number of women (particularly women from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic - BAME - background), people from diverse socio-economic backgrounds, those with lived experience and people with disabilities at decision-making levels.
As the social impact investment sector is relatively young there is an opportunity to shape best practice around diversity and inclusion. The Diversity Forum is leading four pillars of work to achieve the change it seeks: first, through leadership and governance by encouraging other organisations to publicly commit to making changes in their organisations to improve diversity and inclusion. Second, by building a peer-led network of diversity champions in social impact investment organisations to share learnings and benefit from shared resources like training. Third, by commissioning and sharing research to improve the data available to the wider sector and develop insights into specific areas such as racial justice. Fourth, sharing learnings and best practice across all pillars of its activity through a series of cross-sector communications and events.
To date, the forum has many active members from across the sector. The group has created a network of diversity champions who receive training, attend events and have the opportunity to share and learn from peers regularly.
Big Society Capital is one of a number of organisations that have signed up to the Diversity Forum Manifesto – making a public commitment to commit to improve diversity and inclusion, including at staff and governance level, and into how investment decisions are made. The Forum’s long-term ambition is to deliver a set of target outcomes that would represent a shift in the diversity of the social impact investment market (for example, targeting 50% female and 7% BAME representation at director level and on investment committees).