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Charities believe improving equity is central to their roles

The majority of Bermuda's charities believe that improving equity in the community is vital to their roles with the Covid-19 pandemic serving to increase this awareness, a new study says.

Stakeholders in the Third Sector also want to find ways to work better together and are concerned about funding, according to a research project called ’Reimagining the Bermuda Third Sector’ which was released recently.

Funded by the Centennial Bermuda Foundation and the Bermuda Foundation, 26 Third Sector-associated respondents were interviewed for the report. They were not named, but were described as Government officials, non-profit organisations, foundations, donors, quangos and private consultants.

According to Dr Leslie Steede, a partner with Bermuda-based market analysts Global Research and one of two project leaders, the research is being driven by two factors – the effect of Covid-19 on the charitable sector and heightened awareness over systemic racism.

“As communities have settled into a new normal, third sectors are also seizing this moment as an opportunity to reinvent themselves and shape an enhanced new new normal versus returning to the status quo,” said Dr Steede.

“The vast majority believed that an equity and social justice approach was very important for understanding the needs of the community,” he said, explaining they believe it is important to “level the playing field” when providing services and funding to ensure that resources will be allocated to the greatest needs.

Two reports have been generated so far and revealed that the primary concern is generating the funding to pay for work done by charities. Increasing collaboration, sharing resources and improving their efficiency was also highlighted.

Dr Steede described key findings, including that almost all respondents believed understanding the needs of Bermuda’s community was “very important” to the success of the third sector.

“They believed that it would be important to 'level the playing field' when providing services and funding to ensure that resources were being allocated to the greatest needs,” he said.

The respondents also said there was value in sharing resources such as data, infrastructure and services. Administrative services were cited as the most useful shared resource, followed by shared data platforms and then shared physical workspaces.

The reports also suggest options for a new framework for Bermuda’s charities, non-profits, philanthropy and government stakeholders, “if the third sector decides to develop in that direction”.

A choice that third sector stakeholders must make, according to the reports, is to decide between their leadership existing within a “central intermediary or backbone organisation”, or “building a collective infrastructure with decentralised, distributed leadership”.

A combination of the two is another option. Making this choice, said Anand Dholakia, also a project leader and a principal associate with the Washington-based research and analysis organisation Community Science, will be “a major strategic decision”.

The next phase of the project gets underway with a third sector survey, which will be released today.

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Published March 22, 2021 at 8:51 am (Updated March 22, 2021 at 8:51 am)

Charities believe improving equity is central to their roles

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