SSE’s commitments to becoming anti-racist

From January 2021, we at the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) are publicly sharing our commitments to becoming an anti-racist organisation. We invite all who read this to hold us accountable to them over the coming years.

We will communicate our progress and any updates we make in line with our broader inclusion work, and we will share our learning as we go.

New: Read an update on our work in this area from October 2021.

A note on intersectionality

We recognise that racism and anti-Blackness intersect, but that anti-Blackness is its own particularly pernicious form of racism.

Race is, of course, only one aspect of a person’s identity. Race is intersectional with other identities, and we believe our approach must also be intersectional.

Our anti-racist work is part of our broader strategy to become a more inclusive and accessible organisation. Inclusion will also be key to the development of our new strategy.

Our commitments

1.  Keep learning and challenging ourselves to be anti-racist

We will analyse, reflect, learn and challenge ourselves, and our community, to be anti-racist – now and on an ongoing basis.

Why we make this commitment:

Tackling inequality is at the heart of SSE’s vision and mission. This means we must centre anti-racism in all our work. But systemic racism is a deeply entrenched injustice that will take time to resolve. We recognise that becoming an anti-racist organisation is a commitment we make for the long-term. We will need to deepen our individual and collective understanding of racism and racial injustice, on an ongoing basis, to play our part. Because of our standing in the social-enterprise sector, we also feel a responsibility to influence our community to fight racism, by sharing our learning as we go.

How we will measure progress:

  • Indicator 1: Action plan for 20/21 developed collaboratively, and implemented
  • Indicator 2: Actions and target outcomes published as part of new 3-year strategy, April 2021

2.  Diversify our staff team, senior leadership, and Board

We will increase the representation of people from Black and minoritised ethnic backgrounds in our staff team, particularly at senior level and among the trustee board. We will publicly set and report on diversity indicators.

Why we make this commitment:

We make this commitment so that SSE contributes directly, within our own organisation, to shifting power in society. We place our focus on leadership (senior-level staff and trustees) because we lack racial and ethnic diversity at this level. Based on the evidence, we believe a more diverse leadership team will enrich the quality of our work, better equip us to support the communities we serve, and help drive change in our sector. We believe transparency about this commitment will help hold us accountable for driving progress.

How we will measure progress:

  • Indicator 3: Diversity of staff team, including at senior level
  • Indicator 4: Diversity of trustee Board

3.  Diversify our programmes

We will increase the racial and ethnic diversity of participants on our programmes at all stages, from pre-start to scale, as well as provide targeted programmes of support for people from Black and minoritised ethnic backgrounds. We will make our programmes more inclusive to achieve this, in particular by improving our recruitment and selection processes and by diversifying our delivery team (e.g. assessors, speakers and facilitators).

Why we make this commitment:

Our mission is to mobilise people from all backgrounds to achieve social and environmental change. Under a quarter of the social leaders we support are people from Black and minoritised ethnic backgrounds. We can and must do better to tackle structural inequality, by supporting more leaders from under-represented backgrounds. Involving more contributors to our programmes from Black and minoritised ethnic backgrounds will build a more inclusive learning environment, help challenge stereotypes and prejudice about who leads social-sector organisations and who has expertise within our sector. To achieve racial equality in society over the longer-term, we need to promote racial equity in the short-term. Targeting support to people who experience less power and privilege in today’s society acknowledges that there is not currently a level playing field and commits us to take positive action towards addressing this.

How we will measure progress:

  • Indicator 5: Diversity of student population
  • Indicator 6: Diversity of programme delivery team (assessors, speakers, facilitators)
  • Indicator 7: At least 2 targeted programmes for people from Black or minoritised ethnic backgrounds established by end of the financial year
  • Indicator8: Multi-stakeholder learning captured, shared internally and externally, and used to inform future action

4.  Influence our supply chain and funders

We will increase diversity in our supply chain and promote and influence funder action on anti-racism, through who we work with and how we engage. This means working with funders and supporters who are willing to work alongside us to continue to learn and develop their practice to be anti-racist.

Why we make this commitment:
Tackling systemic racism means making intentional choices about who to support through our investments and purchasing. We can help to address the persistent imbalance of how money is distributed in society through our own spending power. We must also ensure the income and funds we accept into SSE are from people and organisations committed to addressing systemic racism because we recognise that funding equates to power and influence, which can perpetuate white privilege when not aligned with anti-racist goals. We recognise that many organisations, like SSE, are on a journey to becoming anti-racist. Our aim will be to work alongside those who show commitment and action.

How we will measure progress:

  • Indicator 9: Increase in the number and value of supplier contracts held by people from Black and minoritised ethnic backgrounds in our supply chain
  • Indicator 10: Existing funder / supporter commitment to anti-racism assessed and a framework agreed for facilitating meaningful and collaborative discussions to inform decision making regarding future opportunities

Read an update on our anti-racist commitments from October 2021.

Learn more about why diversity, inclusion and accessibility matter to us at SSE.