“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
These words by Nobel Peace Prize-winning human rights activist Desmond Tutu ring especially true in this moment. But of course, this isn’t just a moment. Today, we’re grappling with not only the recent killings of Black people in this country — George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Tony McDade. We’re also experiencing a deeper reckoning, one that’s vastly overdue, for the insidious racism and state-sanctioned violence that have terrorized BIPOC in the U.S. for centuries. And the solution, much like the problem itself, won’t be an immediate one.
To finally arrive at a fairer version of this country for BIPOC communities, it’ll require a lot of things, including a stepping-up from allies on both the individual and corporate level. And that goes beyond statements of solidarity. For companies, that means committing to allyship in sustained, transparent and ultimately action-centered ways. Below, here are 18 organizations that have already stepped up and made their actionable support of Black lives known.
In a statement posted to LinkedIn, PwC CEO Tim Ryan noted that although he’s not a member of the Black community himself, the ongoing prevalence of racism in this country “is still personal to me.” In 2018, two years after Ryan co-founded CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion in direct response to the killing of unarmed Black men, a member of PwC’s own community was lost. Botham Jean, a 26-year-old PwC accountant and Black man, was shot and killed in his own home by a Dallas police officer who had entered Jean’s apartment, claiming to have mistaken it for hers.
“I witnessed the pain his family had to — and still has to — endure over the loss of their son and brother,” Ryan wrote. “It is my responsibility as a leader to not only stand with them against racism to condemn these killings, but to use my privilege to be a part of the solution and take action — to help dismantle the racism and injustice that has become so pervasive in our society.”
To that end, six of the actions PwC is taking, which are explained further in Ryan’s post, include:
Creating a D&I Staff Advisory Council
Transparently sharing the firm’s diversity strategy and results
Donating to social justice organizations, including making donations of $250,000 apiece to The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., Dream Corps., The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation and The Center for Policing Equity and matching employee donations of up to $1,000 to those organizations
Giving employees one week of paid time off each year to volunteer with nonprofits
Empowering each of its 80 offices around the country to engage and partner with local, community-centered nonprofits
Creating a two-year fellowship program for PwC associates, with an anticipated starting class of 30 employees, to dedicate their skills to advancing public policy that combats racial injustice and discrimination
Hear more from Tim Ryan directly during a recent interview with CNN.
“People of color struggle disproportionately during this pandemic because many of our structures are under heavy pressure. In Wisconsin, where our company is based, the U.S. Census Bureau reports African Americans make up 6.7% of our population, but account for 21% of the COVID-19 cases and 29% of deaths statewide. That’s higher than the national number of 21.9%,” wrote CEO and Chair Jack Salzwedel.
At American Family Insurance, Salzwedel said he sees it as their “job to help fix the cracks in these structures that have been deepening — and are even more exposed because of this pandemic and ongoing racial injustices.” The company will build on its existing D&I efforts, he added, which include “creating the American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact, signing the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion Pledge, committing to inclusive excellence, hiring diverse talent and impacting our communities. We can and will do more.”
In a letter posted to LinkedIn, Accenture CEO Julie Sweet made clear that the firm remains committed to extending its allyship well beyond words of solidarity. To date, for instance, Accenture has carried the distinction of being the only U.S. professional services firm to transparently publish its racial demographics data each year. Some of the new actions Accenture has committed to taking include:
By September 1st, the firm will announce specific goals to increase its percentage of Black and Latinx employees overall and also its number of Black and Latinx managing directors in the U.S. by 2025, similar to its global goal to reach 50/50 gender parity by 2025 and have 25% female managing directors by the end of this year.
Also by September 1st, the firm is adding new training to help employees identify, speak up against and report racism, building upon its existing (and mandatory) unconscious bias training.
On the local and national level, Accenture is working to build a portfolio of specific opportunities to collaborate with its communities and partners in anti-racism work. As Sweet put it: “We want to be part of building a better future together with other companies, with our federal, state and local government leaders, not-for-profits and the people of our communities.”
“I am reminded that silence is our enemy in the journey to foster a culture where everybody can truly say ‘I’m Safe, I Belong and I Matter,” Charles Meyers, President & CEO of Equinix, wrote in a statement. “As part of my work with the CEO Action Initiative, I have volunteered to join a Task Force aimed at continuing to drive positive change in both our workplaces and our communities.”
In an op-ed co-written by Cummins CEO Tom Linebarger and Eli Lilly CEO Dave Ricks, the emphasis centers squarely on taking action in the following ways:
Engaging with BIPOC-led groups and civil liberties organizations to understand how best to support these groups financially, as well as with the resources and skills that Cummins can offer as a company.
Supporting minority-owned businesses in the local communities that both companies operate within.
Supporting efforts locally in Indianapolis as well as across the country to improve engagement between law enforcement and members of the public.
“We all have a role to play in calling for greater accountability from our government, from law enforcement, our neighbors and ourselves. What we have today is simply not enough. We need to work together to root out hate and replace it with a deep and abiding appreciation for diversity, equality, and inclusion. It must start with each of us, and it must start now,” the op-ed reads.
“We will continue to invest in and support the communities we serve, and will continue to seek new opportunities to make a difference – especially for those communities that have been impacted the most,” the company said in a statement. “Here at DICK’S, we want to make sure all our teammates feel valued, heard and respected. Last year, we started more deliberate work on this front by creating an Inclusion & Diversity Council. We are committed to the work this group is doing, and they will play an active role in creating safe spaces for hard conversations, and appreciating and celebrating our differences.”
“We must acknowledge that for a portion of our employee population, everyday acts of living, like going for an evening run, mowing the lawn, or bird-watching at the local park, are fraught with danger,” Keisha Bell, Head of Diverse Talent Management & Advancement at DTCC, said in a statement posted to LinkedIn. “It’s more important than ever for us to commit to being a community of colleagues who can conduct honest conversations about race.”
To support and hold space for those honest conversations, Bell said the company’s Diverse Talent Management & Advancement (DTMA) group is planning a series of facilitated conversations on race and inclusion topics in the coming weeks.
“This initiative was already in the works prior to the turmoil of the past week, and it’s needed more now than ever,” she said. “Real change starts with honest intentional dialogue about everyday minority experiences.”
“It is not an option to remain silent or look away as our communities experience loss, injustice and systemic racism,” the company wrote in a statement posted to LinkedIn. “We know that our words of support are empty without action. Pariveda has contributed to George Floyd's Memorial Fund to support his family during this time, and we encourage those in a position to do so, to do the same. We will continue to stay true to our mission of growing all individuals towards their highest potential – and that means being inclusive of all people.”
For more than two years, The Hartford has held Courageous Conversations Circles throughout the company to further its inclusive culture. To date, thousands of employees have participated in topics related to race, diversity recruitment, career advancement for people of color, police and trust within the black community, and micro-aggressions.
“At The Hartford, we believe that hateful behaviors and racism have no place in our society. We have long-standing employee initiatives focused on unconscious bias and appreciating differences, and are committed to creating a courageous work environment where tough, critical conversations like this can take place,” the company wrote in a statement. “However, there’s still a significant amount of work to be done. That’s why it is vital we understand and support the views and voices of the Black community, and at the same time continue the dialogue with friends, colleagues, family members and communities across the country to move this important conversation forward.”
At the beginning of June, Goldman Sachs announced it had created a Goldman Sachs Fund for Racial Equality, and that the fund is being launched with $10 million from Goldman Sachs Gives.
“We must stand up and support organizations dedicated to the fight for a more just and equitable society,” said David M. Solomon, Chairman and CEO. “To honor the legacies of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, we must all commit to help address the damage of generations of racism.”
This fund comes in addition to the firm’s recent COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts, which include a $30 million COVID-19 Relief Fund and an additional $525 million dedicated to small businesses.
In addition to creating and participating in “open and honest forums to discuss and listen to one another,” Lorenzo Simonelli, CEO & Chair at Baker Hughes, said that the “first step starts within.”
“This week, we launched our previously planned Employee Resource Groups (ERG) membership drive,” he wrote on LinkedIn. “With thousands of employees already participating, our ERGs help create a sense of belonging and build a stronger, more diverse work environment. They also provide community and connection, even in times of uncertainty like today… It is important, now more than ever, we continue these forums to listen, discuss, and act together.”
In a public statement posted to Citigroup’s blog, CFO Mark Mason began with the words “I can’t breathe” in tribute to George Floyd.
“I have debated whether I should speak out. But after some emotional conversations with my family earlier this week, I realized I had to. In fact, we all need to,” Mason wrote. “In addition to speaking out and in an effort to aid in the fight to address these issues, my wife and I have decided to make donations to three organizations fighting injustice and inequality — NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Advancement Project, and Color of Change. I hope you will join us.”
A key part of better allyship lies in interrogating and owning up to moments of complacency — then, resolving through action to take a different approach today. In a statement released by The Coca-Cola Company CEO James Quincey, the company did both.
“The company is not perfect,” Quincey wrote, adding that it’s done both great things, including supporting civil rights and desegregation work in the past, as well as made mistakes. In 2000, Coca-Cola paid the largest settlement ever in a corporate racial discrimination case.
“We don’t have all the answers,” he said. “But I believe that we, together with civic and community advocates, government officials, fellow business leaders, our partners – and with the views and voices of those who challenge injustice – we can find solutions.”
Some of the ways The Coca-Cola Company is currently working toward solutions include:
Renewing mandatory D&I training
Providing $2.5 million in grants to the Equal Justice Initiative, an organization dedicated to criminal justice reform; the NAACP Legal Defense Fund; and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.
Matching employee donations to the above orgs, as well as contributions made to the 100 Black Men of America and the National CARES Mentoring Movement
Publicly supporting legislation to advance a hate-crimes law in Georgia
“The Black community is hurting. Our Black Members, instructors, music partners and employees are hurting,” the company said in a statement posted to Instagram.
In addition to committing $500,000 to the NAACP, the company has also made efforts to diversify its programming and amplify its WoC instructors. At the beginning of June, Peloton hosted a Black Lives Matter “speak up” ride and meditation event led by two of its female instructors of color, Tunde Oyeneyin and Chelsea Jackson Roberts.
The Apple Racial Equity and Justice initiative will focus on issues surrounding education, economic equality, and criminal justice reform, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced. Some of the work the initiative will do includes partnering with historically Black universities and community colleges, as well as funding science & technology programs for underserved students. Apple will also partner with groups like the Equal Justice Initiative, an organization centered on ending mass incarceration, and increase its spending with Black-owned suppliers. In addition, the company has committed to hiring more Black and underrepresented employees.
“We’re taking significant new steps on diversity and inclusion within Apple, because there is more we can and must do to hire, develop, and support those from underrepresented groups, especially our Black and brown colleagues,” Cook said.
This support of the NAACP comes after a $500,000 donation made last month to BET and United Way’s relief fund, which was set up to address the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on Black families. In its ongoing commitment to fighting racial injustice, Salesforce has also assembled a new Racial Equality and Justice task force, comprised of an advisory panel of internal and external leaders to inform the company’s efforts on driving racial equality in its workplace and in its communities. To support its Black community and allies, Salesforce also created Equality Circles with the help of BOLDforce, its employee resource group for Black employees and allies, and its Office of Equality. These circles, which will serve as spaces where leaders and employees alike can have candid and safe conversations around race, come in addition to existing D&I initiatives, like Salesforce's Equality Mentorship program and its in-house development program focused on underrepresented minorities. The task force has also made public policy advocacy — around topics like policing, hate crimes and criminal justice — one of its key pillars.
“As we take actions to address racism and systemic inequalities within the walls of Salesforce, we also need to be part of broader solutions across our society… We know this is part of a much larger conversation but we want to do our part to change this moment into a movement,” the company wrote in a statement.
Ultimate Software and Kronos have made a commitment to match their employees’ personal donations dollar-for-dollar with no cap through the end of June, to any 501c3 non-profit that is addressing racial injustice. They are also making significant contributions in support of the Equal Justice Initiative and NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund (LDF) and are accelerating both new and existing racial justice initiatives within the companies, including:
"Doing the right thing has always been the foundation of our business, and how we strive to treat one another inside and outside of work. Over the past few years, Ultimate and Kronos have actively engaged in the conversations around equity, inclusion, and unconscious bias at work as part of our belief that as an HCM provider, it’s our responsibility to help the HR industry evolve and improve the experience of employees at work. But we recognize that there is more we can do. Increasing the pace of positive change requires both making a verbal commitment and taking bold action," the company wrote in a statement.
The software company SAP has long been recognized for its commitment to D&I, earning accolades as one of America’s Best Employers For Women in 2020 by Forbes, Best Technology Company for Women on FGB and being named a Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion by the American Association of People with Disabilities. Now, the software company has amped up its efforts to better support the fight for racial justice, too.
Since the start of June, SAP has: internally announced a $2 million commitment to supporting organizations dedicated to justice and equality; established a new goal of doubling its representation of Black employees in the U.S. within the next three years; joined the #StopHateForProfit campaign; doubled its number of Black Employee Network (BEN) members; launched a Spotlight on Black Businesses to support the economy, and organized multiple employee town halls and speaker series that address racism. In addition, the company has launched a $300,000 employee match campaign for workers who wish to donate to organizations that make positive impacts in Black communities.
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