From Colour Blind to Race Conscious: Actions and Priorities to Increase Cultural Diversity in Australian Philanthropy

Globally, there is an increasing trend among organisations to incorporate equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives, both in terms of their employee base and in their strategic visions for the future.

The Macquarie Group Foundation , Perpetual and Philanthropy Australia are partnering with the Jumbunna Institute and Centre for Social Impact UNSW , to explore how cultural diversity is reflected on philanthropic boards and to also understand how culturally diverse beneficiaries are being supported or left behind in how funding decisions are made.

To date, most work that demonstrates the benefits and challenges of increasing cultural diversity in organisations has been discussed with reference to the North American context. A similar transformation is needed in Australia whereby boards and executive teams expand power and resourcing through diversified cultural representation and engagement.

This report highlights the relative lack of attention cultural diversity has received within philanthropy and funding decisions, particularly in the Australian context. Learning from observations internationally, it identifies how increasing the breadth of cultural identity can benefit both funders and the broader sector. While in its early stages, there are some steps that funders can be taking now to increase the representation and appropriateness of decisions regarding funding decisions and priorities.

The strategies and mechanisms outlined in this report provides a useful starting point to examine how we can shift our gaze form being 'colour blind' to being 'race conscious'.