The FPR will assess foundations in three areas.
Accountability - How can anyone who wants to examine the work or decisions of a foundation after the event do so, and make their voice be heard?
Transparency - Does a potential grantee have access to the information that it needs to be able to contact the foundation, decide whether to apply for funding, or more generally in advance of any grant?
Diversity - The extent to which a foundation reports on diversity of staff and trustees, and how well it caters for people who prefer/need to communicate in a particular way.
Over 100 foundations, including all those in the working group, will be assessed against a standard list of criteria relating to these three areas. Each will be rated annually for several years, with the ratings published along with the underlying data.
FPR has used publicly available materials (foundations’ websites, annual reports, etc), reflecting the experience of prospective grantees searching for information. The starting criteria has been published here and we have also published a how to do well guide.
Additionally, the FPR will create consistent standards addressing power imbalances between funders and grantees. Independent funders tend to be relatively powerful in the relationships in which they operate: those requiring funds have rarely been in the position to question the source of funds or the legitimacy of the funder.
Many foundations increasingly acknowledge they have a long way to travel to improve on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). There are lots of sources of learning and networks available for foundations to access. These include DEI-focused funder collaborations such as the DEI Data Standard, DEI Coalition, Just Foundations Initiative and Funders for Race Equality Alliance. The Foundation Practice Rating adds to this support.
Some foundations have already received their scores. Jane Ray from the Albert Hunt Trust stated:
"The Foundation Practice Rating has provided an opportunity for a ‘conversation starter ’ for us to undertake a review of our website with a view to becoming more accessible to applicants. This will be looked at during 2022 and beyond."
The FPR is intended to support foundations in highlighting where they can improve on being more accountable, transparent and diverse. Best practice resources will be shared and links to training will be made available.
We are launching the report on 22nd March 2022 and hope that these principles will serve as an underpinning for what is an innovative approach to foster openness to new conversations in philanthropy in the UK – about who we are, our accountability for our actions and how transparent we are about our decision-making.
Feeling inspired to collaborate? Search the Hub for all collaboration opportunities relating to the issue: Grant-making practices