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The Oversight Group has proposed that this fund embark upon meaningful progress towards healing, repair and justice by addressing the barriers to economic and social equality most keenly felt by Black communities today. Read on for the specific recommendations they have made.



The Oversight Group has proposed that this fund embark upon meaningful progress towards healing, repair and justice by addressing the barriers to economic and social equality most keenly felt by Black communities today. Read on for the specific recommendations they have made.

In order that the vision, theory of change and model can be realised, the group submits the following recommendations to the Board of the Church Commissioners:

Key Overarching Principles

1. ‘The Fund for Healing, Repair and Justice’: We recommend this name, which specifies a cultural and spiritual process, Christian ethical precepts, pragmatic actions and a guiding principle that will also be an end result. The qualification ‘for’ undercuts any implication that success is assured. We prefer ‘repair’ to ‘reparations’ to distinguish the fund from initiatives for direct compensation for descendants of enslaved Africans.

2. Focus areas: We recommend that the fund’s impact investment and grant programme should address economic, educational and health-based inequalities that affect people of African descent, particularly focusing on disparities affecting those descended from enslaved Africans. In addition, the grant programme will cover research and advocacy initiatives that pertain to healing and repair more broadly.

3. Geographic reach: The impact investment allocation should apply a global lens, in line with the broader Church Commissioners’ investments, ensuring that impacts are generated across the African diaspora.

4. Centrality of Black representation: We recommend that the primary beneficiaries of grant funding are people of African descent and Black-led charities / collectives / movements / enterprises and individuals in the UK, Caribbean, Africa, Latin America and North America. There should be an emphasis on shifting funding to ensure more representative leadership that can bring lived experience of the challenges facing people of African descent globally. Racial equity mainstreaming should be considered in regard to Black representation within the fund’s leadership and staffing, portfolio of investees and supply chain. This corresponds to direct feedback from communities that funding should be channelled through Black leaders, Black communities and Black organisations. While the fund will always endeavour to find the best skills for a given role and not apply any exclusionary lens, there should be an annual analysis of racial representation within the fund’s management and leadership team, the portfolio companies or funds, as well as delivery partners (e.g. advisors, researchers, consultants and other service providers related to this work).

5. Integration of community voice: We recommend that the fund guarantees representation for the voice of Black communities. We request an approach to funding and partnerships that allows Black people to be protagonists, originators and leaders of their own solutions.

6. Fit-for-purpose funding: We recommend that the fund supports return-seeking commercially viable solutions and ‘ecosystem solutions’ which address information gaps, policy, advocacy and market building to address global challenges facing people of African descent. Commercially viable solutions will sit within impact investment whereas ecosystem solutions will sit within grant making and programme activities.

7. Monitoring and evaluation: An extraordinarily robust approach should be taken to monitoring and evaluation of outputs, outcomes and impact from its activities, all the more so given the paradigm-shifting ambitions of the project, and the example the fund can set for other organisations.

8. Broader aspirations – a pathway to £1bn-plus: Acknowledging the state of global racial inequity largely linked to African chattel enslavement, we recommend viewing this fund as part of a wider systems change. The aspiration should be for this initial commitment to form the nucleus of a larger investment initiative with target assets of over £1bn. This sum would come from: co investors brought in through the convening and influencing power of the Commissioners; a larger allocation from the Commissioners themselves; and a revision of the investment policies of the main endowment to incorporate principles embodied in the fund.

Commitment timeline

9. Initial funding plan: We recommend that the Church Commissioners deliver on their commitment of £100m as an initial allocation from the endowment that may be re-evaluated and expanded in the future. Within this remit, we recommend allocating £20m per year to the fund for the first five years to cover the total of £100m pledged. This will accelerate development of a track record and future capital raising. Longer-term, we recommend revisiting results achieved at Years Two, Four and Five to assess additional
and/or complementary funding pathways.

10. Timeline for return-seeking deployment: We recommend that the Church Commissioners allocate £70m of the £100m to return seeking investments within the first five years, recognising that the main impact and benefits to Black communities will come from private market investments. These are known for their limited liquidity and long-time horizons. Rapid deployment should reduce the waiting time for results and enhance the demonstrator effect of the fund. Likewise, track record and unrealised returns can be leveraged.

11. Initial grant-making allocation: We recommend that the Church Commissioners allocate £30m of the £100m over five years for the Grant Programme to distribute over ten years. The returns from investments will take a significant length of time to mature to a point where they can cover grant funding. Committing £30m for grants and programme activities will: provide transparency to communities; permit grant giving at a stable level globally with the potential for long-term funding; and establish base-level funding that will be sustainable once investments mature.

Impact Investment Approach

12. Return expectations: We envision that these should match the targets of the Church Commissioners more broadly, in order to fund the endowment which covers grant making and programmes.

13. Investment mechanisms: We suggest that the return-seeking allocation (indicatively £14m of the yearly amount) should be deployed through investments producing a financial as well as a social return, both direct and intermediated, including: funds (private equity, venture capital, infrastructure, funds of funds etc.), public market securities and real estate.

14. Thematic Areas: We suggest that the fund’s return-seeking impact investments should be deployed across the following themes, in line with feedback from communities and stakeholders across the African diaspora:

a. Healthy lives: Refers to commercially viable solutions that can improve physical and mental health of people of African descent globally (whether tech-based or bricks and mortar)

b. Thriving minds (Including education and culture): Refers to commercially viable solutions that improve educational, cognitive and learning outcomes

c. Abundant land and food: Refers to commercially viable solutions that address disparities and historical wounds. These include access to land, real estate, food and climate change.

15. Direct investment: We propose that the fund should invest in commercially viable businesses with demonstrable potential to reverse racial disparities and improve outcomes for Black communities across the thematic areas mentioned above. Direct investments should be to Black-led organisations (i.e. at least 50% Black-owned).

16. General Partners investment: We propose that the fund should invest in Black fund managers, including general partners. They will, in turn, create jobs among Black professionals and advance other target social impacts in Black communities. In this case, Black-led is defined as 50% or more Black-led or Black-owned. In exceptional cases, a lower threshold (at least 25%) may be considered for investment when there are outsized other impacts to Black communities, considering the low representation of Black investors more broadly.

17. Impact-linked incentives: It is important that the fund should aim to ensure congruence and commitment to the overarching aim of racial equality by building in appropriate incentives. These may include pricing or “carry” linked to specific impact targets.

Grant-making and Programme Delivery

18. Thematic areas: The grant programme should fund initiatives led by and for people of African descent and Black communities through a reparative and intersectional lens. We recommend funding community wealth building, economic models, research, innovation, academic institutions, movement building, litigation, healing, justice, reparations, and community-based repatriation and liberation efforts. In countries with insufficient infrastructure, we recommend seeding African descendant/ Black-led funds and participatory vehicles to influence pipeline development and resource mobilisation.

19. Long-term transition to community ownership: It is recommended that at the five and ten-year mark, additional reviews are conducted to evaluate impact, pathways and timeline to transition from participatory governance to being fully community-led and owned.

Impact Measurement

20. Assessment: An initial impact measurement framework should be established prior to deploying funds. A system for community feedback should also be integrated within the impact measurement framework. We recommend that impact should be delivered, experienced and reported on three levels:

a. Individual: unlocking access to capital for Black entrepreneurs, researchers, innovators, and scholars that will generate impact across communities and economies

b. Communities: catalysing and ensuring improved outcomes for health, education, land and food for entire communities, across millions of direct clients, recipients or other impact partners across Black communities

c. Systems: contributing to a more inclusive and just financial system by leveraging the demonstration effect of the impact investments; educating other asset owners and the broader investment industry to catalyse systems changes that still honour fiduciary duty.

Operations and Governance

21. Initial establishment within the Church Commissioners: We recognise the parent organisation’s strong brand, credibility and expertise. We therefore recommend that the fund is initially housed within the Church Commissioners. They should stay actively involved and engaged in the deployment of the fund and collaborate in demonstrating the fund’s effect with the aim of catalysing other stakeholders.

22. Overall governance: It is recommended that an investment committee oversees impact investments and a programme committee oversees grant-making and programme activities. Both the investment committee and the programme committee should report to an overarching, Black-led interdisciplinary participatory governance committee with lived experience, global linkages and broad professional expertise.

23. Programme Committee: We recommend that a Grant Programme Committee, reporting to the Board of the fund, is set up to make decisions on grants and support the new Grant Programme team. The Committee will also create the initial reparative framework, while ensuring that their frameworks are suitable for addressing the persistent legacies and traumas resulting from African chattel enslavement and colonialism. The Committee should comprise 10-12 members (2-3 board members, 2-3 external experts/specialists, 6 from impacted communities), of whom 80%, as a minimum, are people of African descent/Black. The Committee should eventually be fully community-led (people of African descent/ Black with lived and learnt expertise). The Programme team should also be at least 80% people of African descent/Black.

24. Operating expenses for the grant-making arm: It is recommended that the Church Commissioners cover operating expenses for the grant-making function for the first ten years of operation. This would recognise the fund’s initially small scale. The Church Commissioners should also provide operational support to the grant-making arm. This will need to hire the right people, engage in outreach and respond to external scrutiny. The Church Commissioners are well-placed to support these activities, harness relationships with the programme team and provide assurance to the public that all grant funds are going to communities. Care, repair, and healing must be central to this work, along with careful stewardship of fund assets.

25. Investment committee: It is recommended that the investment committee include 2-3 members of the Oversight Group, at least one representative from the Church Commissioners and at least 1-2 external experts with sector and/or geographic expertise.

26. Operating expenses for the impact fund: In light of community feedback regarding the £100m allocation, it is recommended that 100% of this amount be deployed towards impact and that the Church Commissioners separately cover the operating expense of the fund, including the impact investment team, at cost without deductions from the £100m in starting assets or the imposition of a management fee. This arrangement would be subject to revision if the fund becomes an entity separate from the Commissioners.

27. Staffing the investment arm: It is recommended that the Church Commissioners establish a small team to run the fund whose representative leadership would be co-selected with the Oversight Group. This team would be compensated in line with the wider structure of the Commissioners. The unit would benefit from the credibility, expertise and brand strength of the Commissioners.


28. Priorities: It is suggested that the Commissioners should commission and separately fund research in these specific areas:

a. The full involvement of the Church Commissioners and their donors in African chattel enslavement, including in the US (to 1865), and Cuba and Brazil (to the 1880s) where British capital was central to economies based on African chattel enslavement long after the abolition of enslavement in the British Empire.

b. Philanthropic impact and better models of community accountability to inform the accountability mechanisms and co-design elements of the grant programme.

c. Supporting production of historical narratives for the fund’s website, explainers, and public reports.

d. Enabling a broader educational programme of accessible histories about enslavement and emancipation globally.

29. Methodologies: The methods for commissioning and conducting these research projects will vary. But wherever possible, it should primarily be conducted by community practitioners already engaged in research in these areas. Projects should also provide opportunities for young people to get involved in historical research.

30. The Church of England: We recommend that the Commissioners separately fund research to uncover the full picture of the Church’s involvement in African chattel enslavement and use of the wealth derived from it. The terms of reference for the Oversight Group express the Church Commissioners’ wish to enable dioceses, cathedrals and parishes to examine their links to enslavement further. This is too narrow. There is a duty to explain all aspects of the Church of England’s complicity (and that of its clergy and associated mission organisations). The scope of this research should be financial, spiritual, theological, political. It should cover the enslavement and emancipation and postemancipation period, from West Africa to the Americas.

31. Research funding for the grant programme: This should support research that is innovative and reparatory. Innovative research means research designed and proposed by applicants, separate from research commissioned into the full extent of the Church Commissioners’ and Church of England’s involvement in African chattel enslavement. This research should be, where possible, led by communities that will benefit from it, particularly via young people. Its reach should extend beyond Britain.

Theology and ethics

32. Penitence: We call for the Church of England to apologise publicly for denying that Black Africans are made in the image of God and for seeking to destroy diverse African traditional religious belief systems. This act of repair should intentionally facilitate ongoing and new sociological, historical and theological research into spiritual traditions in Africa and the diaspora, thereby enabling a fresh dialogue between African traditional belief systems and the Gospel. This work should reach beyond theological institutions and be presented in ways that will enable all Africans, especially descendants of the enslaved to discover the varied belief systems and spiritual practices of their forebears and their efficacy. We recommend the Commissioners work with all faith-based communities to which descendants of African chattel enslavement belong.

33. Governance structures: We recommend that theology is embedded within the governance structures of the fund and the grant programme, emphasising the importance of social and spiritual repair alongside financial returns. Human flourishing should be framed within the biblical notion of Shalom and African-centred philosophical ethical values such as Ubuntu. Investment strategies should be aligned with this.

34. Collaboration: We recommend that the fund work with descendant clergy in the UK and broader Anglican Communion to engage with the future theological dimensions of reparative justice for crimes and sins committed against people of African descent as a result of chattel enslavement. A permanent workstream should be created to explore this. This would unpack the theological and spiritual violence caused by African chattel enslavement and the role of the Church in this process and envisage what healing, repair and justice would look like for affected communities.

Stakeholder engagement and communications

35. Management of initial public communications*: Before launch of the final report the Commissioners should:

a. Engage a Black-led PR agency to assist in communications.

b. Enable and fund work necessary for a successful roll-out of the Oversight Group’s final report. This includes: setting up a website to promote and explain the fund; registering domains and social media handles to prevent cybersquatting; designing a media strategy and providing appropriate media training for a subset. of Oversight Group members acting as public spokespersons; and producing messaging and website material (see research recommendations).

* These recommendations were carried out prior to the publication of this final report and are included in it for the purposes of transparency.

36. Overall and ongoing public communications: At and after the publication of the report, the fund should:

a. Organise selected Oversight Group members and Church Commissioners staff to publicise the fund and its aims via the media, and to explain and promote the
report proactively.

b. Organise a programme of public speaking to publicise the fund to community groups, the Church, business, finance, politicians etc., in UK, Caribbean and West Africa.

c. Organise visits to organisations historically involved in African chattel enslavement to publicise the fund. Seek regular community engagement via public meetings and online surveys.

d. Publish a summary annual report on the activities of the fund and maintain outreach communications in perpetuity

37. Stakeholder engagement: Given that the first rounds of stakeholder engagement were highly concentrated in the UK, further stakeholder engagement should be conducted with a deeper emphasis on validation, feedback and linkages with African Diaspora communities elsewhere, particularly those that have been directly affected. This engagement phase should be a series of community dialogues, one-to-ones with experts, and roundtables with movements, community organisations and collectives from impacted communities.

38. Investor engagement: Acknowledging that significant capital will be necessary to overturn cited disparities, we urge the Church Commissioners to embed investor engagement within the strategy, both for the impact investment and grant making/programme activity. While the fund’s internal staff should lead these initiatives, collaboration with the Church Commissioners, particularly in showcasing ways asset owners can uphold fiduciary duty while deploying capital with a racial equity lens, will be instrumental. The development of materials to support impact investment education should be budgeted for.

Immediate Next Steps and Way Forward

39. Ongoing and multi-round community engagement data collection: The most impacted communities must drive change and design the Grants Programme. We therefore recommend a second phase of face-to-face engagements in 2024. This second phase would include design of country selection criteria. Based on the results of the first engagement, key countries may include England, Jamaica, Barbados, Ghana and one Latin American country, as direct linkages to Queen Anne’s Bounty have been flagged as particularly relevant to these geographies.

40. Black-led venture partner and co-funder networks: Leveraging networks will be key to capturing better investment opportunities and efficiencies in evaluation and due diligence. At the same time, these networks can ensure more community-vetted deals with robust, verified impact on the ground. We thus propose the fund build Black-led venture partner networks, of 10-20 initial social impact leaders in key markets. In addition to improving representation of Black people in impact investing, we hope to share equity or ‘carry’ with these leaders, in line with the fund’s broader ethos of stakeholder capitalism and shared value creation. Such networks will build bridges with growing networks of Black impact investors and venture philanthropists globally. We believe they can bring pipeline and ensure co-investment and follow-on funding for investments.

41. Pathway to £1bn: African chattel enslavement involved vast devastation and extraction of value. Our stakeholders and communities across the African Diaspora, have noted that £100m is an inadequate financial contribution towards real healing, repair and justice. It is recommended that the Church Commissioners adopt a ‘more than money’ approach to leverage other capabilities and funding pools, influencing and convening power to chart a course towards shifting £1bn in capital towards racial equity. We recommend further exploration to test and delineate a broader £1bn programme of symbiotic investments, activities and initiatives that enable system change needed for racial equality. We propose that the following routes are explored as part of this pathway to £1bn. These involve no diversion from fiduciary duty and in some cases, may even improve returns:

a. Increasing allocations to Black-led fund managers or general partners (i.e. at least 25% Black-led or owned) to a defined target percentage within the alternative asset portfolio. Given the statistical linkage between racially-diverse funds and investment returns, this will unlock more funding for Black-led businesses globally.

b. Ensuring that a significant share of the Commissioners’ UK social impact portfolio is allocated to Black-led organisations and/or Black-majority communities, given that Black and mixed-race people comprise a disproportionate share of the economically vulnerable in the country.

c. Ensuring that a significant share of the Commissioners’ UK real estate portfolio increases socio-economic mobility across racial lines by launching and expanding initiatives to provide competitive and/or below-market leases to Black businesses, an offering which we believe has already helped Black businesses in London.

d. Improving the diversity of the Church Commissioners’ supplier base, including researchers and advisors.

e. Deepening shareholder engagement to push blue chip and other listed companies to increase diversity, equality and inclusion efforts and to improve working conditions, mobility and representation of Black professionals.

The Full Report

The Oversight Group made 41 recommendations on the Church Commissioners’ steps to righting past wrongs. For a transparent account of the project, read their full report.



The fund’s recommendations were informed by a questionnaire that gathered global perspectives on potential areas of investment.