A Save the Children staff member helps students school work in Mississippi.  on Wednesday, November 6, 2019 at their school in Mississippi

Our Commitment to Act on Racial Equity

"We are doing pioneer work, which is bringing us into conflict with some of the most deep-seated prejudices of the past few centuries. But, the future is ours!” – Eglantyne Jebb, Founder of Save the Children

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (July 13, 2020) – At Save the Children, we believe every child has equal rights. But from the moment they are born, millions of children of color are routinely denied the rights granted to their white peers – from education to health care to housing. We know racism, discrimination and inequity begin in childhood, and the failure to address systemic racism traps families – and generations – in a cycle of poverty and inequity.

As a senior leadership team, we cannot be effective and legitimately work with others on the issues of systemic inequality without also looking at ourselves. We are committed to living our values and we are proud of the progress we have made towards diversity, equity and inclusion. Nevertheless, we acknowledge there is much more work to do in order to accomplish greater impact for our employees, the broader Save the Children movement, the NGO sector and the children and families we serve.

Some of this work will be challenging and slow going, while some of these actions we can accomplish more quickly. Others are already in place or underway. We recognize our responsibility and affirm our commitment to use our power as leaders to tackle institutional racism within the NGO sector and our organization. So today, we are committing to take the following actions:

Listen and Learn

We commit to listen, deeply and consistently. We must practice being comfortable with uncomfortable conversations as we examine the white privilege most of us benefit from. We are committed to fostering a culture of advocacy and inclusion to help staff speak up, be heard and collectively effect change.

  • We are working closely with B.L.A.C.K. (Brave Leaders Advancing Culture & Knowledge), our Black Employee Affinity Group (EAG), to better support our Black employees.
  • Our B.L.A.C.K. EAG prepared an “Activism and Allyship Guide” for Save the Children staff.
  • We will create safe spaces for dialogue at all levels – within our organization and sector – through our “Courageous Conversation” series, town halls, one-on-one talks between leaders and employees to ensure all voices aren’t just listened to but heard, amplified and acted upon.
  • By October 1, we will announce a new anti-racism training for all staff. This builds on the mandatory unconscious bias training included in our annual “Living Our Values” curriculum.
  • We closed our offices in honor of Juneteenth, for staff to show their support, solidarity and recognition for the Black community. Our B.L.A.C.K. EAG hosted a peaceful rally to show support for the racial justice movement happening in the U.S. and around the world, and to highlight the need for social justice reform. We will continue showing support for our Black colleagues and colleagues of color in ways like this.  

Our Leadership

Of our senior leadership team:

  • 36 percent are people of color, 8 percent are Black
  • 45 percent identify as women and 55 percent as men

Of our Board:

  • 25 percent are people of color, 3 percent are Black
  • ·50 percent identify as women, 50 percent as men

We are proud of our gender balanced board and senior teams, and are committed to making further progress on other aspects of diversity, including but not limited to, people of color.

  • We will ensure our leadership team is more diverse and representative of the communities we serve, and affirm our accountability on delivering against a range of commitments related to recruitment and hiring, promoting from within, compensation, engaging partners, our communications and more.
  • We will transparently report against these commitments, solicit ongoing feedback from our staff, partners and the children and families we serve to be held accountable for progress.
  • We commit to do the work, both individually and collectively, to better understand our power, privilege, and the forces of institutional, systemic and structural racism; and how these manifest in our work and daily interactions.

Talent & Opportunity

Of our current staff:

  • 43 percent are people of color, 30 percent are Black
  • 80 percent identify as women, 20 percent as men (less than 1 percent publicly identify as non-binary) 

We are committed to providing more equitable access to professional development and advancement for our employees of color, and hold ourselves accountable for creating a workforce that is more reflective of the communities in which we work and the children we serve around the world.

  • We commit to implementing diverse candidate pools as well as diverse interview panels for all open positions. Our goal is to have 45-50 percent candidate diversity and diverse interview panels with particular focus on visible diversity that includes, but not limited, to ethnicity, gender and disability.
  • We will ensure applicants and candidates are fairly assessed by consistent use of a behavior-based interview guide.
  • We will implement targeted sourcing tactics to intentionally deepen the diversity of our talent pool.
  • As we have done with our gender pay gap, we will publish our racial pay gap by the end of 2020.

Our Work

Save the Children’s work has always been rooted in advocating for and reaching the most marginalized.

  • We recommit to identifying and overcoming all forms of exclusion – be it race, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability or other identities discriminated against. Our relationship with the communities and children we serve must be grounded in respect, engagement and shared participation in crafting sustainable solutions, interventions and development.
  • We will do our best to bring resources closer to the point of impact. We have an opportunity and have the unique privilege to learn from and leverage community partners, local leaders and activists, including youth.
  • In the U.S., we are increasing our investments in Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee to empower Black communities and address kindergarten readiness, third-grade proficiency, food insecurity and more. In the long term, we will diversify our network of communities and share our research with partners and other organizations who share our concerns.
  • In our advocacy, we will speak out forthrightly on this agenda, and support those who are excluded to use their own voices to drive progress.
  • We currently do not have direct visibility to how many of our partners are led by local leaders and how diverse their leadership is. We commit to finding out and once we know, we will assess whether, if and how we can shift the needle over the next 12-24 months.
  • We will review our global image guidelines with our Save the Children colleagues around the world and do everything possible to ensure the images we use and the stories we tell do not intentionally or unintentionally contribute to racism.
  • We will evaluate the vendors we work with and establish a substantial benchmark for supporting minority-owned and local businesses. 

We recognize we can and should build on the anti-racism work many other organizations have done before us. We aim to continue our education in this area, listening to our own colleagues across the world, as well as to our partners and the communities we serve. Where we lack specific expertise, we will partner with or amplify the work of other organizations.

We are making these commitments publicly in a spirit of accountability, and will maintain transparent communication on our progress. We will make more commitments as we learn more. We embrace the challenges ahead – knowing we will make mistakes and have to consistently recommit to the work of active anti-racism. We will embed these commitments in our own personal objectives and accountability to our Board of Trustees. This work is ongoing, and we look forward to learning, growing and making progress together.

Save the Children’s Senior Leadership Team

Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. Since our founding more than 100 years ago, we've been advocating for the rights of children worldwide. In the United States and around the world, we give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming the future we share. Our results, financial statements and charity ratings reaffirm that Save the Children is a charity you can trust. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.


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