The Equality Trust was launched in 2009 by Bill Kerry, Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett.
The idea for the Trust was developed in 2007, after Richard and Kate secured a publishing deal for The Spirit Level: Why more equal societies almost always do better and Bill recognised the potential for a campaign based on their evidence. They established an Advisory Group to help them shape the organisation and worked with the Sheila McKechnie Foundation to develop their vision and strategy.
In 2008 the Trust was awarded funding by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (JRCT) which enabled the founders to commission a new website from e-campaigning experts Engaging Networks and employ their first member of staff. The Equality Trust's launch coincided with publication of The Spirit Level on 5th March 2009.
The Trust is primarily funded by the Network for Social Change and the JRCT, with additional support from many generous individuals.
In November 2009, a new campaign called One Society was set up in association with The Equality Trust. Developed, driven and funded by the Network for Social Change, One Society's main focus has been promoting policies to take us towards a more equal society; and responding to political developments relating to top pay and income inequality. One Society has now been fully integrated with The Equality Trust, with its aim of developing and promoting policies to reduce inequality now a key area of The Equality Trust's work.
In May 2015, The Equality Trust was granted charitable status by the Charity Commission for England & Wales.