Following the money for racial justice

Companies continue to pledge funding to fight racial injustice. But where is the money going? The answer is often unclear, find partner Duwain Pinder and colleagues. In a recent analysis of racial equity commitments from Fortune 1000 companies, more than $112 billion worth of commitments have been broader in scope, versus pledges dedicated to specific areas such as small and medium businesses and affordable housing. In some cases, companies donate to an initiative that pools funds, and the initiative leaders are then responsible for deploying the money.

Most commitments made since 2021 do not provide a breakdown of how funds would be deployed, making them difficult to track.

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A square area graph represents $140.6 billion, which is the totality of racial justice investment commitments by US companies from May 2021 and Oct 2022. The area graph is split into 5 segments, from smallest to largest: financial inclusion at less than $100 million, education at $200 million, affordable housing at $13.5 billion, small and medium-size enterprise development at $14.1 billion, and other and mixed investment at $112.7 billion. Other includes internal diversity and inclusion initiatives, investments that were not explicit about where funds would be allocated, and other areas of external investment, including healthcare, public infrastructure, civic/engagement, job/skill/training, and policy advocacy.

Footnote 1: Includes Fortune 1000 companies as of July 2022.

Footnote 2: Commitments dedicated to early childhood education, K–12, or higher education.

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To read the article, see “Corporate commitments to racial justice: An update,” February 21, 2023.