Church Commissioners announce members of Oversight Group to advise on response to historic links to transatlantic slavery


The Church Commissioners for England has today announced the members of the Oversight Group that will advise the Board on how it establishes the new impact investment fund and grant funding programme that is being set up in response to its research findings of historic links to transatlantic chattel slavery. Members were recruited through an open and transparent process, and they include impact investment specialists, academics, and activists. 

“The Church Commissioners published its research findings in January 2023 and expressed deep sorrow and shame over its predecessor fund’s links with transatlantic chattel slavery.  In response, it has committed £100 million to a programme of impact investment, grants and further research, and I am pleased to welcome the wealth of expertise in this new Oversight group which will give advice to the Board as we work together to create a better future for all,” said the Right Reverend David Urquhart, the Chair the sub-group of the Church Commissioners’ Board that is focussed on this work.  “Transatlantic chattel slavery is an appalling evil, whose consequences still affect society today, and we have a responsibility to respond to our historic links.  We take seriously our commitment to do that collaboratively, listening widely, with sensitivity and accountability.”

The Right Reverend Dr Rosemarie Mallett, Bishop of Croydon, will chair the oversight group, and Geetha Tharmaratnam, Chief Impact Investment Officer of the WHO Foundation, will be Vice-Chair. Bishop Rosemarie has a professional background as a research sociologist and academic, specialising in international development and ethno-cultural mental health. 

Roy Swan, Director of Mission Investments at The Ford Foundation, along with Tara Sabre Collier, Director of Impacting Investing and Sustainable Finance at Chemonics UK, bring further investment experience to the group.  Derek Bardowell, author and CEO of Ten Years’ Time, brings many years of experience in supporting community wealth creation.

Other members include legal specialists and activists Esther Stanford-Xosei and Priscellia Robinson, alongside social commentator and activist Patrick Vernon.  The group features two journalists – Alex Renton, author of Blood Legacy, and co-founder of the Heirs of Slavery Group, and Jonathan Guthrie, head of Lex, the Financial Times' daily column on global capital."

Dr Christienna Fryar and Professor Richard Drayton, leading academics, will contribute their knowledge and insight, as will theologians The Reverend Canon Dr. Anderson Jeremiah of Lancaster University and The Reverend Canon Dr. Michael Clarke, Principal of Codrington College, Barbados.  
The group has a wealth of experience and brings with it a great diversity of skills and backgrounds. The Church Commissioners looks forward to the challenge and insight of the group members supporting the creation of a truly innovative fund that will leave a lasting legacy.