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New programme will bring frontline expertise into trusts & foundations

New programme will bring frontline expertise into trusts & foundations

A programme is to launch this autumn aimed at bringing more frontline expertise into the trusts and foundation sector.

Charityworks, Koreo, Ten Years’ Time, Ruth Ibegbuna of RECLAIM and Baljeet Sandhu, 2014 Clore Social Fellow and Fellow of the Tsai Centre for Innovative Thinking at Yale, have come together to form a coalition, called 2027, to support frontline workers from working class communities into decision-making roles in .

The coalition has been awarded a £500k National Lottery grant, which will help finance a 12-month placement programme designed to help grant funders access deep community expertise in their teams. It will run for each of the next ten years, recruiting and training 150 individuals from working class backgrounds with professional experience that has ingrained them in communities.  The remaining income will be made up from contributions from participating foundations as well as a £150k donation from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

The programme launches in October 2018. Trusts and foundations are currently signing up to take part with most places already allocated. To meet interest from trusts and foundations for the initiative, the 2027 coalition have also developed additional elements to the programme including supporting boards looking to examine their own approach to expertise, diversity and inclusion, and a campaign where foundations commit to ensuring that a minimum of 40% of their trustees identify as from the communities they most exist to serve by 2027.

2027 Partner, Baljeet Sandhu, said:

“Despite there being many lived-experience leaders working across our communities, as a whole our social sector fails to equitably and meaningfully value lived expertise in our work ­– expertise earned from first-hand experience of social issues or injustices and activated through work embedded in communities. Instead, people are too often hired through well-established networks far removed from the communities they serve.

“2027 isn’t about helping people from working class communities take part in the programme or improve their CVs, it’s about helping trusts and foundations improve their decision-making through the inclusion of diverse perspectives gained from lived, as well as learnt, experience – so that together, we can all inform efforts to support communities we are committed to serve and help thrive.”



Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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