The Diversity Forum is born out of The Gathering in 2017.

Growing research findings in both mainstream and social finance led to an important discussion at The Gathering in February 2017 about the need to improve diversity among social investors in the UK.

As the social investment sector, our ambition is to address inequalities and disadvantage in the UK, and promoting diversity and inclusion in its broadest sense should be an important part of this. After a session co-facilitated by Gemma Rocyn Jones and Bonnie Chiu on diversity, a working group was established convened by Danyal Sattar, Head of Social Investment at Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

There is collective goodwill in the sector to make concrete changes to improve diversity, and this fund is an excellent opportunity to channel much-needed resources into this working group.

The interest from the sector in participating in the working group, and supporting its work, has indicated that there is a need to champion this agenda in the sector. The working group is now co-chaired by Gemma Rocyn Jones and Danyal Sattar.

 Thanks to the Connect Fund, a £3 million fund managed by the Barrow Cadbury Trust  in partnership with Access – the Foundation for Social Investment, the Diversity Forum has funding in 2018 to embark on a year-long project with five strands: 

• Leadership and convening;

• Research: commissioning research;

• Skills development and resources sharing;

• Data sharing and networks mapping;

• Communications.