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Hello there, and cheers to those setting an OOO message for Monday’s US federal holiday — Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. We hope everyone can find a way to celebrate the national day of service in honor of the African American civil rights leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner.
More than half a century since his untimely death, corporate America still has a long way to go towards improving the Black experience in the workplace. This is despite promises to the public to do better and study after study showing that companies that lead on diversity and inclusion outperform on everything from innovation to quarterly earnings.
At the present time, there are only four Black CEOs on the Fortune 500 list. A Washington Post analysis found just 8% of the senior leaders in the 50 biggest public companies are Black, and less than 1% of all VC funding — the jet fuel that helps innovators scale and can be the breeding ground for the next generation of Fortune 500 companies — went to companies with Black founders. And the pipeline of future leadership opportunities can look bleak when reading research that shows Black workers aren’t promoted from entry-level positions at the same rate as others, opening leadership opportunities to others and expanding the wealth and opportunity gaps across society.
If you’re an investor who prioritizes diversity, equity, and inclusion, targeting corporations that demonstrate a real commitment to improving working conditions, creating equal opportunities, and sharing workforce data may be a winning formula.
Our friends at JUST Capital have a resource that helps you track corporate initiatives. You can look for workplaces that get the best reviews from employees and have diverse leadership and boards. Explore funds focused on racial diversity policies, like the NAACP Minority Empowerment ETF, or those that exclude industries like private prisons. As an investor, remember that you can be an engaged shareholder by voting on proposals demanding action or disclosures on issues you hold dear. A bit closer to home, you can also have an impact by supporting and promoting local businesses run by Black entrepreneurs.
We’ll leave you with this from Dr. King himself: "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
What we’ve been thinking of
- Turo, aka the Airbnb for cars, has filed to go public. The company, which has seen its revenue break some speed limits, claims it’s carbon neutral, offsetting 100% of the emissions from trips by investing in greenhouse gas-reducing projects.
- A genetically-modified pig heart was transplanted into a human for the first time this week, a medical breakthrough if all goes well. Shares in the firms that developed the organ and a new drug used (United Therapeutics and Kiniksa Pharmaceuticals) jumped.
- JUST Capital and CNBC have released a new ranking of public companies displaying the best business behavior towards all stakeholders – workers, communities, the environment, customers, and shareholders.