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blog • Story


Mita Desai

01 November 2022

Summer now seems like a distant memory. So this autumn, we thought we would pause and reflect on summer successes, which were made possible by the actions of incredible movement champions.

Here are our 13 top moments, one for each week of Summer...

1. Board Boost Launch

10 young trustees, 8 organisations and 10 mentors came together to form our first trustee training cohort. Our governance sessions are facilitated by the brilliant Sara Fernandez, CEO of Oxford Hub and former young trustee herself.

In this 6-month programme,  participants have been collectively working together to create better, more innovative governance. The young people will also be leading on governance projects - so watch this space for more details!

2. Celebrating the success of the movement

It has been 3 years since the Young Trustees Movement officially launched, however this movement existed long before that. It is made up of incredible people who know the power of diversity of perspectives and have been advocating to create better, more innovative governance. This work is vital so that the sector can better navigate uncertainty, reflect the interests of the community and futureproof decision-making.

The hard work, passion and efforts of movement champions have made a difference and while we still have a long way to go - it’s important to celebrate how far we have come!

This is why we were beyond excited that we could finally come together to reflect on our successes and thank the people who made it happen. Shout out to Schroders who hosted this wonderful evening!

See highlights of the celebration here.

3. Highlighting the importance of Youth Voice in philanthropy

As part of the ‘NPC thinks’ essay series, Kate Roberts and Amelia Ireland wrote about the cost of when young people are missing from philanthropic decision-making. “It is important to think about philanthropy through a modern lens and consider what it could become. If philanthropy was more willing to truly shift power, then the resulting change could be significant. We need to go beyond the current ESG (economic, social, governance) model of charitable investment into something more radical, where philanthropy has truly shifted power to those with lived experience and who have traditionally been excluded”. Full article here. 

This was also unpacked in a panel discussion, as part of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation's new frontiers in funding and investment conference.  Roxanna Nazir, Alisha Pomells and Callum Pethick discussed power, equity, accountability and why young people are a foundational part of enabling transformational change. This was made possible thanks to champion Hannan Ali, who in his role as part of the Grant Givers Movement, put young trusteeship on the agenda of this panel discussion. You can review the full discussion here (from 42 minutes onwards).

4. Nurturing new talent for board roles

If you know Ambreen Shah, you will also know she has been instrumental in advocating for ways the sector can better nurture new talent for board roles. When serving as a trustee for Smallwood Trust, she set up a Board Shadowing Programme and shares her learnings of doing so. In the hope that others may offer such opportunities, we were keen to showcase what running and setting up such a scheme practically looks like. So we teamed up with Action for Trustee Racial Diversity and Getting On Board to create a webinar that answered exactly that! Speakers for this included Ambreen and brilliant fellow pioneers:

  • Naomi Da Silva, Central YMCA - Board Apprenticeship Scheme
  • Shana Begum, Smallwood Trust ex-shadowee
  • Patricia, Citizens Advice Eastbourne, Trainee Trustee
  • Mike Allen, Involve - Shadow Trustee Role

You can watch the webinar here.

When a charity board invests in developing the pipeline of future trusteeship, it is an investment in the future of the sector as a whole. That's why it is so exciting to see more charities doing their part to develop the pipeline - like this trustee training scheme from Spitalfields Music and this Boardroom Apprentice programme.

5. Charity Good Governance Awards

The Charity Governance Awards aim to celebrate outstanding governance and trusteeship in charities across the UK, allowing not-for-profit boards to be inspired and learn from one another.

This was certainly achieved as Sufina Ahmad MBE, Director of the John Ellerman Foundation, set the tone for how social justice is essential to unlocking the power of good governance. In her keynote speech she shared “as we strive to address both the symptoms and the root causes of these issues, we must ask ourselves whether we are delivering charitable work that is justice and equity-based, charitable work that empowers and enables and seeks to eradicate disinformation and stereotypes, and charitable work that centres diversity, equity and inclusion and seeks to be genuinely representative of the communities we are working with and for.” You can read a summary of Sufina’s speech online here.

Saeed Atcha MBE DL also led a brilliant panel discussion with past winners; including why youth voice is an essential part of good governance.

6. Charity Times Annual Conference

Kimberly Garande, a Trustee at The Sheila McKechnie Foundation, shared this powerful message at the Charity Times Annual Conference “In order for change to take place in the meaningful involvement of young people in governance, it is important that Trustee positions are fully accessible. Organisations need to think about who is accessing the role adverts and how are they presenting the roles - often the language used can be off-putting.”

7. Reasons to be Cheerful with Ed Miliband and Geoff Lloyd podcast.

We covered the importance of intergenerational governance, and why reform is needed in the public appointment’s due diligence processes. It also featured former young trustee Sarah Woodcock, CEO of Kids Network (who was also the person who recommended us to the podcast - thank you Sarah!).

Since the podcast, we’ve had many more people join the movement and even been appointed to the board. As Helen Sipthorp shared “Thrilled to have just interviewed an amazing candidate to join our board at @stpaulsadvice in #Bristol. She heard your podcast and visited your website to find the right role for her! Thank you”. You can listen to the podcast here.

8. The Charity CEO Podcast

In another podcast, we spoke to fellow governance geek Dhivya O’Connor about the movement’s disruptive campaign to change perspectives of who a Trustee can be. We covered the dangers of groupthink in charity governance, the power of asking great questions and how organisations can create a culture for diverse perspectives to thrive, not just on their Boards but across their workforces. We also shared practical advice on what Boards can do to ensure that representation is not tokenistic and that different voices are genuinely welcomed and valued. Have a listen here.

9. In-person Workshops!

This summer saw the return of our in-person workshops.  Some of our highlights include our workshops with:

10. Launch of The Wildlife Trust's 'Our Bright Future' guide

This is a practical guide to embedding young trustees in governance. It focuses on identifying skills and experience gaps, creating inclusion, the recruitment process and welcoming, rewarding and supporting young trustees. Training Manager (and young trustee!) Grace spoke at their launch webinar alongside other amazing young trustees.

The full guide can be read here.

11. Peer Action Deep Dive

We welcomed 50 amazing Movement Champions to our Peer Action Series- a set of 3 sessions aimed at people who were ready to move beyond the theory of why it is so important to have young and diverse trustees, and begin taking meaningful action. The 3 sessions functioned as a judgement-free space where organisations at any stage of their journey could come together, share challenges, celebrate successes, and offer support.

Each session also included a talk from one of our brilliant Young Ambassadors

  • Session 1 - Kate Roberts ‘Onboarding and Retaining Young Trustees’
  • Session 2 - Abiodun Michael Olatokun ‘Diverse Recruitment’
  • Session 3 - Rodolfo Barradas - 'Beyond Board Meetings: participation outside of the quarterly meetings’

You can watch their talks here.

12. Celebrating the leadership of Jo Wells and Eli Manderson Evans

Blagrave is our founding funder and an expeller case study of an organisation that has been transformed by youth voice in its boardroom. This was not an accident but a result of the visionary leadership of Jo Wells. After 10 years of being the CEO of Blagrave, she stepped down this summer and shared her learnings and wisdom in this inspirational blog. Her decade of hard work and passion she has put into this role has left a legacy we are most grateful for!

At the same time were excited by the appointment of the new CEO and leading governance innovator, Eli Manderson Evans. Eli joined Blagrave from the philanthropy advisory and social change organisation Ten Years’ Time where he served as the Head of Social Justice and led on several powerful research reports focused on the need for the British funding landscape to be honest, ambitious, and authentic in their commitments to address racial injustice and the climate crisis among many other publications. He also worked to connect a new generation of philanthropists to ambitious changemakers transforming the world.

In his work at Ten Years’ Time Eli led in the creation of a Trustee Coaching Programme as part of the 2027 coalition. The programme and research paper which informed much of its development, understood that the funding sector was failing to shift power at governance level to the communities who were the closest to the issues. As such, the Trustee Coaching Programme provided support for first-time trustees which was person-centred and equipped new trustees with the tools to navigate an environment which is often not inclusive. You can read Eli’s report titled ‘Missed expertise: Mapping experiences of first-time foundation trustees” here.

13. Model Boardroom Series

1 year ago, Ambassador Amelia Ireland and Champion Ben Attle came up with a proposal to create a gamified approach for young people to learn about trusteeship. Inspired by the Model UN approach, the idea is to create an interactive and immersive experience that applies governance to real-life scenarios. In doing so it enables young people to learn about trusteeship, develop leadership skills and get the feel for being a trustee.

So this summer our interns -Asma Abdullahi, Sumaya Choudhury and Clara Luz (who were paid as part of a programme funded by Kings) further unpacked what this could look like in practice. All of this work has led us to win the Movements For Good Award, which also comes with a grant to support this work.

Everything we do is created by and for movement members, so if you would like to be part of designing this - come to our session here!

There was so much that happened this summer and this was only a glimpse of what those in the movement have collectively achieved.

So thank you to all of the Movement Champions - It is because of your collective action, change is happening.

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