Sep 28, 2020 - Economy & Business

Fortune 100 companies commit $3.3 billion to fight racism and inequality

Data: Fortune 500, Axios analysis of company statements, get the data; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon, Naema Ahmed/Axios
Data: Fortune 500, Axios analysis of company statements, get the data; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon, Naema Ahmed/Axios

Big businesses continue to push funding toward fighting inequality and racism, with the 100 largest U.S. companies' monetary commitments rising to $3.33 billion since the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police earlier this year, according to an Axios analysis.

Why it matters: The continued pace of funding commitments shows that months after Floyd's death there remains pressure for the wealthiest corporations to put their money behind social issues and efforts.

  • Even without including donations made by firms outside the Fortune 100, the total through Sunday was the largest outpouring of investment of its kind, though it accounts for just 0.6% of the 100 companies' collective 2019 profits.

Driving the news: The jump from $2.05 billion in mid-June to $3.3 billion is thanks largely to a new commitment of $1.15 billion from Citigroup that will span multiple years.

  • It includes $550 million to support homeownership and affordable housing and $100 million in grants to "support community change agents addressing racial equity."
  • “Addressing racism and closing the racial wealth gap is the most critical challenge we face in creating a fair and inclusive society and we know that more of the same won’t do,” Citi CEO Michael Corbat said in a statement announcing the funding.

IBM announced it was donating $100 million in assets, including "university guests lectures, curriculum content, digital badges, software and faculty training" to select Black colleges by the end of 2020.

  • Since June, companies ranging from Costco ($25 million) to Phillips66 ($55,000) have announced new pledges or partnership with groups like the National Society of Black Engineers, the NAACP, the National Urban League and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.

Yes, but: The commitments are pennies on the dollar of the collective $569 billion in profits the 100 companies made last year, and many lack details about how the money will be used to make a difference.

By the numbers: The lion's share of money pledged comes from a few companies, with $2.55 billion of the $3.33 billion total coming from three companies, and the top 10 companies pledging $3.08 billion.

  • Two companies — both banks — have pledged more than $1 billion each to help close the racial wealth gap and provide support to Black and other minority communities.
  • The top 10 companies committed to an average of 1.62% of their 2019 profits.
  • The other 48 companies have committed 0.07% of their 2019 profits.

Editor’s note: The chart and story were corrected to include Prudential Financial’s $1.25m pledge from June 19, 2020.

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