State of the sector: race to the top

13 February 2020 London

The third seminar in this series will focus on diversity

This event is now sold-out. The next State of the Sector event is being held on 13 May 2020 and will look at confronting the climate emergency. Find out more here. 

This event is for anyone who feels moved by the powerful testimonies from those who posted on #CharitySoWhite, and accepts that we will never be the sector we seek to be unless we dismantle the structural racism that pervades many charities. Join us at Race to the Top if you want to be at the vanguard of real change in the sector, and are prepared to take action, both individually and in your organisation, to work towards racial equity.

Download the full programme here

This event is subject to a bursary scheme to ensure that BAME colleagues can attend and our audience is reflective of society as a whole.

Download the application criteria and full details of the bursary scheme here




13 February 2020

  • 8.20AM - 8.50AM
    Registration, morning coffee & networking
  • 8.50AM - 9.00AM
    Chair's welcome

    Derek Bardowell, philanthropy consultant and author, No Win Race

  • 9.00AM - 9.40AM
    Coming unstuck - identifying barriers to progress

    We’ve been talking about the charity sector’s shameful lack of diversity for years. Why does nothing change? Let’s zero in on the barriers, so we can figure out how to break them. Is it the fear of a zero-sum game - do white people have to relinquish their power and status for their BAME counterparts to have any? Is it unconscious bias? Fear of saying the wrong thing and offending people, so safer not to engage at all? Is it history, the Empire, white saviour complex, the paternalistic charity model of doing things to people, rather than with people? Are we focusing on the wrong things, on equality rather than equity? If we are stuck, how do we get unstuck and begin to make progress?

    Dr Wanda Wyporska, executive director, the Equality Trust, Tom Lawson, chief executive, Turn2Us, Fatima Iftikhar, campaign leader, #charitysowhite, Fozia Irfan, chief executvie, Beds and Luton Community Foundation

  • 9.40AM - 10.20AM
    Better leadership recruitment and retention

    If we are serious about making our leadership teams and boards more diverse and inclusive, what can we do? What recruitment policies and practices can we deploy to achieve real change?  And once people are in post, what can we do to ensure they feel included and valued?

    Radojka Miljevic and Gera Patel, partners, Campbell Tickell

  • 10.20AM - 10.50AM
    Coffee and networking
  • 10.50AM - 11.45AM
    Action stations

    What can charity leaders do to ensure their organisations do not perpetuate institutional racism, and promote racial equity among their board and leadership team? What commitments should they make, what targets should they set? How can they instil a culture of genuine inclusiveness? What part should lived experience play? How can charities create a pipeline of BAME talent that doesn’t require waiting another generation for leaders to emerge? How can they genuinely shift power to their service users? How important is external expertise? How can their membership bodies help them?

    Yemi Gbajobi, chief executive, Arts' Student Union, Dr Sanjiv Lingayah, lead researcher, Making Diversity Count, Asif Afridi, deputy chief executive, brap, and member of Civil Society Futures panel, Anne Fox, chief executive, Clinks, Martha Awojobi, committee member, #charitysowhite

  • 11.45AM - 12.35PM
    External Pressure

    What external pressures can be brought to bear on charities by external forces, namely, regulators and funders? If charities are slow to rise to the challenge, or deliberately bury their heads in the sand, is there anything that can be done to force them to change? And - can these organisations realistically apply pressure if they haven’t got their own houses in order?

    Colin Douglas, interim director of communications and policy, Charity Commission, James Fitzpatrick, director, Joseph Levy Foundation (speaking in a personal capacity), Lily Lewis, Director of Social Cohesion, Bernard Family Charitable Trust, Fozia Irfan, chief executive, Beds and Luton Community Foundation

  • 12.35PM - 12.45PM
    Chair’s closing remarks


Great ways to save!

  1. Be an early bird!
    Book your place by 17 January to save up to £80 off the ticket price.
Ticket type Early bird (booking made by 17 January) Booking after 17 January
Charity rate £99 £179


QEII Conference Centre



For sponsorship and exhibition queries contact Yvette Micallef 

For speaker queries contact Tania Mason

For registration queries contact Carys Pugh

For media partnerships and marketing queries contact Kirsty Brown

Terms & Conditions

Please note that speakers and topics were confirmed at the time of publishing, however, circumstances beyond the control of the organisers may necessitate substitutions, alterations or cancellations of the speakers and/or topics. As such Civil Society Media Ltd reserves the right to alter or modify the advertised speakers and/or topics if necessary. Any substitutions or alterations will be updated on our web page as soon as possible. Substitution and cancellation policy: On receipt of your booking form, your place is confirmed. Delegate substitutions are allowed. Refunds on cancellations will only be issued (less a 15% administration charge) up to and including 14 days prior to the event. Refunds will not be issued after this date. Confirmation of cancellations MUST be in writing and sent or faxed to Civil Society Media at 15 Prescott Place, London, SW4 6BS 020 7819 1200 (fax: 020 7819 1210).