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Diversity - Diversity
Last updated March 2021

Increasing Diversity & Inclusion in the Benevolent/Grant-Making Sector

An online event looking at diversity and inclusion in the charity sector for benevolent / grant-giving charities. Recordings and presentations from this event can be accessed below.

This event explored how charities can look to build their commitment to diversity & inclusion within their organisations, looking at some of the issues charities face in making their organisations more inclusive, and some of the practical solutions they can put in place to meet these challenges. 

Our speakers for this event included:

Sufina Ahmad MBE - Director at the John Ellerman Foundation (@SufinaAhmad on Twitter)

Sufina's presentation will be an opportunity to reflect on how to build interest in and support for embedding diversity, equity and principles across all levels of your organisation.

Sufina will offer a short summary of her own reflections on the key diversity, equity and inclusion challenges and opportunities faced by grantmakers and wider civil society – using her own experience of leading the Chartered Institute of Fundraising’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion expert panel, which eventually became its #ChangeCollective movement, and the work that she has done within the organisations that she has worked in, as the basis for these reflections. This will be followed by a 20 minute question and answer session with attendees.

Sufina is Director of the John Ellerman Foundation, a grantmaker in the arts, environment and social action. She is currently completing an Executive MBA course at Warwick Business School. Before joining the Foundation, Sufina worked in corporate strategy and performance at the City of London Corporation. She has previously worked for the National Lottery Community Fund and City Bridge Trust, in strategy, policy and stakeholder relations roles. Sufina has also held service delivery and development roles working in charities supporting adults with learning disabilities and older people mainly.

Sufina holds trusteeships with Just for Kids Law, We Belong, The Charterhouse and the Association of Charitable Foundations. She previously volunteered with the Chartered Institute of Fundraising, as Chair of their Expert Panel on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, and is now an honorary Fellow of the Institute. She was awarded an MBE for charitable services in 2020.

Russell J Thomas - Director, Senior Consultant and Strategic Development Lead for the Diversity Trust

Recently, appointed to the role of External Trustee for Bath Spa University Students’ Union. Russell J Thomas is a public speaker, policymaker and Equality Diversity and Inclusion trainer and consultant. Russell is the Director, Senior Consultant and Strategic Development Lead for the Diversity Trust an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion consultancy CIC.

He was until Jan 2021, the Head of Equality, Diversity, Inclusivity and Wellbeing at the University of Exeter where among other notable successes he developed the Equality and Diversity framework, strategy and vision. Previous to this he was in a similar EDI Strategic leadership role at UWE Bristol. Russell is an inclusivity, wellbeing and safeguarding expert, leading on equality, diversity and inclusion for over 23 years. He is a socio and cultural linguist as well as receiving diplomas and awards relating to community engagement.  

Russell has extensive knowledge and experience as a result of working within a variety of sectors including Local Authorities, Higher and Further Education, Sports and Recreation industry, Public Health and the NHS as well as Private, Social Enterprise and Voluntary Sectors.

The Diversity Trust will cover in their workshop the importance of diversity and inclusion in the charity and grant-making sector, and what charities can do to make their organisations more inclusive.

They will be exploring topics including:

  • The importance and benefits of Diversity and Inclusion
  • Brief reference to the effects of the pandemic
  • Possible solutions


Icon ACO Increasing Diversity & Inclusion Presentation - The Diversity Trust


Presentation delivered by The Diversity Trust at ACO's event.

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