New York, NY (Thursday, May 25, 2023) – In recognition of the multibillion-dollar pledges Corporate America made after the 2020 murder of George Floyd, a coalition of civil rights groups today announced a new initiative on the state of corporate investments in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). To accomplish this goal, the National Action Network (NAN), National Urban League (NUL), National Association of Investment Companies (NAIC), and National Association of Securities Professionals (NASP) will produce a report to track what companies have followed through on their promises and what specific actions they are taking.
A recent McKinsey Institute for Black Economic Stability found that just 40% of 1,369 Fortune 1000 companies (including new and recently removed ones) had made public statements about racial justice between May 2020 through October 2022. Companies have pledged a combined $340 billion toward racial equity over that same period, with many of those commitments coming from the financial sector. Yet it’s become harder to track what specific initiatives, such as housing or small businesses, these pledges are going toward since May 2021, as they have become vaguer.
In their letter to corporations today, this coalition requested information on what commitments they have made since 2020, how much money has been pledged, and the amount the plan to continue spending on racial equity. A full copy of the letter is below:
Dear [ ],
Three years ago, the world watched in horror as a Black man in Minneapolis, Minnesota was killed by paid public servants who were tasked to serve and protect. Many corporations were quick to respond to the nation’s reckoning with systematic racism and injustices by committing to make significant financial contributions to help support minority businesses and organizations in their efforts to build communities and generational wealth.
As we mark the third anniversary of the death of George Floyd today, it is only fitting we review the progress made to date as a result of commitments of corporations and organizations to further civil rights, equity, diversity, inclusion, and building generational wealth for Black and brown communities. At the time those commitments were initially made, there was a lack of clarity regarding where those financial contributions could best be spent to address the nation’s civil injustices. Today, there is even less information in the public domain regarding whether the corporate spending for greater diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has happened and where the funds were allocated.
The National Action Network (NAN) and National Urban League (NUL) have partnered with the National Association of Investment Companies (NAIC) and the National Association of Securities Professionals (NASP), to produce a report on the financial commitments corporations have made to support diversity, equity, and inclusion following the murder of George Floyd. The report will recognize those corporations that have made commitments and kept their promises, while highlighting progress that still has to be made on deploying those funds.
We are writing to ask you to share the progress your organization has made toward your DEI commitments. Whether you are just starting, in the middle, or have completed deploying the capital, please share the accomplishments and where your organization is along the journey. We would like to include your organization’s progress in a new annual report that will track the success of campaigns created as a result of the ‘Re-Awakening’ caused by George Floyd’s death.
Please provide the following data:
If you are earlier in the journey, there are numerous viable options for partnership with civil rights organizations and businesses doing impactful work to ensure diverse professionals, businesses, and organizations have a level playing field and the necessary support to thrive in this country. Especially for companies that have made multi-million- and billion-dollar commitments, we recommend you concentrate on opportunities to partner with organizations with a large community presence and diverse asset management firms with the ability to manage large financial commitments and are adept at deploying capital in communities of color.
The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis reported that for every $1 of wealth that the average white family has, a Black family has 12.5 cents. Our organizations are committed to closing that gap so that black entrepreneurs have more of their own money to invest in growing their businesses. One of the key areas that will help us to achieve this goal is to focus on financial services firms. In 2022, minority-owned firms managed a miniscule 1.7% of the $100 trillion of assets in the U.S., while representing 40% of the population. The underutilization of diverse asset management firms, at a time when these managers collectively represent some of the best performing segments of the asset management and investment industry, just does not make sense. Further, the civil rights organizations that help support minority business ownership and entrepreneurship are key partners in ensuring that these diverse actors receive the resources they need to succeed.
Expanded access to opportunities for organizations, high-performing diverse companies, and investment fund managers is required to close the wealth gap and spur U.S. economic growth. Please send a response regarding your commitments to date to firstname.lastname@example.org. We welcome the opportunity to work with you to identify firms and partners that will meet the promises made by your corporation and others.
National Action Network
National Urban league
National Association of Investment Companies
National Association of Securities Professionals
About National Action Network (NAN)
National Action Network is one of the leading civil rights organizations in the Nation with chapters throughout the entire United States. Founded in 1991 by Reverend Al Sharpton, NAN works within the spirit and tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to promote a modern civil rights agenda that includes the fight for one standard of justice, decency, and equal opportunities for all people regardless of race, religion, nationality, or gender.
For more information go to www.nationalactionnetwork.net.