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A Practical Approach to Moving the Needle on Racial Justice and Equity


In response to the Black Lives Matter movement last year, a number of corporations organized donations to racial-justice causes and put out statements supporting the ideals of equity and inclusion. A positive development, to be sure, and there’s no question that the short-term impact was significant: In June 2020, our internal research found that donations to causes supporting racial justice and equity totaled $166 million and made up 55% of the giving that was processed through our platform. That’s a 15-fold increase over the previous month. 

By December, however, we found that this number had dropped to just 5%. A disappointing trend.

Clearly, we have work to do. Saying you want to be a part of the solution, even making a donation, is a great first step, but it’s the easiest step. Creating lasting change around diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), both in the workplace and the world at large, requires more than a single statement or action. It requires a long-term, well-resourced strategy. 

Recently, I participated in a webinar discussion with Kristin Jarrett, lead associate of community impact and philanthropy at Booz Allen Hamilton, and Stephanie Ellis-Smith, co-founder of Give Blck, a database geared toward promoting racial equity in giving. Our discussion was about what companies can do to weave racial justice and equity into the fabric of their corporate purpose programs and the fabric of their workplaces. Not just when issues are in the news. Not just during annual awareness times like Black History Month. But every day. Here are some of the key takeaways:

Step 1: Be honest about your baseline.

When it comes to DEI, organizations really need to first understand where they are starting from. This is so important because it directly relates to which issues you’re best equipped to focus on — successfully.

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