Many people face barriers or constraints that prevent them from grasping the opportunities that others find easy to pursue. We know that some people experience discrimination or exclusion as a result of characteristics including gender, race and ethnicity, faith, sexual orientation, disability and class. We also know that poverty holds people back, limiting their options and constraining their ability to improve their lives – and that these experiences are often interconnected and overlap.

These barriers and constraints can persist because people who experience discrimination, exclusion and disadvantage are less able to influence decisions that affect their lives, including how resources are allocated and how services are designed and delivered.

The Foundation enjoys a privileged position as an independent funder. We are conscious of the power we hold as an organisation that distributes resources. If we fail to consider how exclusion, discrimination and disadvantage affect people differently in Scotland we risk – at best – not using our resources as effectively as possible in support of our vision, and – at worst – sustaining or contributing to inequity.

We are inspired by how William Grant & Sons has made Diversity, Equity & Inclusion one of its corporate priorities, and the powerful work of colleagues in the UK foundation and charity sectors to highlight the inequities of current systems and to take a lead on possible responses.

We have used the Association of Charitable Foundations’ report Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: The Pillars of Stronger Foundation Practice as an initial framework for reflection and action. Across the Foundation and within each of our thematic giving groups we are committed to continuing to learn about these topics, including by learning from the organisations we fund and the communities they serve.

In some cases, we are making grants to specialist charities in our fields of interest to support both their work and our own learning.

We have begun collecting data about each grant we make in relation to the extent that it benefits different groups within society or supports organisations led by people from minoritised communities, and we plan to report on this in 2025.


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