Corporations hold very real power in American society, and the recent outcry against systemic racism and police brutality have created a new sense of urgency for them to lend their influence and resources to support the changes needed within their organizations and the communities they serve. When companies want to make a real commitment to addressing racial inequity, they have to address economic inequity that has resulted from racial oppression.
Earlier this month, we called on companies to turn statements of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement into real action. Today, RALIANCE is highlighting some of the organizations that have responded to recent events by making serious investments and plans to combat racism and build diverse, inclusive organizations.
It’s worth noting that many organizations have long been recognized for building diverse workplaces – and you can read about a number of them in Fortune’s annual Best Workplaces for Diversity ranking. While not intended to be exhaustive, the companies listed below are six among many that have committed themselves to taking action by providing detailed investment plans, setting targets for internal improvement, or reckoning with their own contributions to racism.
– Comcast committed its media clout to support Black communities. The company plans to invest $100 million across several years to support diversity and enhance programming within their organization. Of this contribution, $25 million will serve as media advertising dollars for organizations supporting underrepresented communities. The company is also devoting more of its media resources to highlighting Black stories and announced a renewed focus on mandatory anti-racism and anti-bias training for employees. (Comcast is also number 30 in Fortune’s diversity rankings!)
– SoftBank’s identity as a major investor put the company in a strong position to invest with purpose. The company launched a $100 million fund dedicated to exclusively investing in businesses led by people of color. The Opportunity Growth Fund will be the third of SoftBank’s investment vehicles and the first dedicated specifically to funding entrepreneurs of color. In addition to this fund, SoftBank is reassessing hiring processes within its walls and at portfolio companies, establishing a diversity program to improve hiring focused specifically on leadership and board roles.
– PepsiCo announced a commitment of over $400 million to its ‘Journey to Racial Equality’ strategy over the next five years, providing a clear breakdown of how those funds will be invested to elevate Black communities and increase Black representation at the company. The plans include adding 100 Black associates to executive positions and doubling spending with Black-owned suppliers. And one of PepsiCo’s brands, Aunt Jemima, has taken long-overdue action to reckon with its racist history, announcing that it will replace the logo and name on its products.
– Apple chose to focus its energy on what can change inside the company and announced a $100 million commitment to promoting racial justice within Apple, including expanding recruitment efforts from historically black colleges and universities, starting a coding camp for Black developers, and increasing its spending with Black-owned suppliers and contractors.
– PNC Financial Services Group devoted its expertise as a financial services institution to seed economic growth that supports the Black community, committing over $1 billion to low- and moderate-income Black communities. The commitment includes $50 million in charitable support for local and national efforts to eliminate racism, the expansion of financial education, and the enhancement of low-income neighborhood revitalization and affordable housing. PNC is also encouraging employees to volunteer for causes they support, dedicating 40 hours of paid time off annually for them to do so.
– PayPal, which has long placed itself at the forefront of a digital payment revolution, wants to direct money where it’s needed most. The company committed $530 million to Black and minority communities, including $500 million to create an economic opportunity fund to support Black- and minority-owned businesses and investment funds. PayPal is also directing $10 million in grants specifically for Black-owned businesses harmed by COVID-19 or civil unrest. In addition, the company will invest $5 million in program grants and to match employee donations, while spending $15 million on efforts to improve internal diversity and inclusion programs.
While these companies have made a strong start in bolstering their commitment to anti-racism, we urge them – and other organizations – to continue striving to improve. Eradicating racial inequality in our workplaces and broader economy is difficult work and takes real, sustained commitment.