In the past year, American corporations have earmarked over $37 billion toward social justice initiatives.
The death of George Floyd led to a widespread embrace of social justice ideology within America’s institutions. Beyond governments, universities, and media outlets, American corporations nodded to racial activists with large financial commitments.
According to an analysis by The Daily Wire, Fortune 100 companies — the largest firms in the United States by revenue — allocated over $37 billion toward racial equity initiatives. The allocations represent less than 0.5% of the companies’ collective $9 trillion of earnings from fiscal year 2020.
The vast majority of these contributions arise from banks designating investment funds toward minority-led projects. JPMorgan Chase alone will commit $30 billion over the next five years “to provide economic opportunity to underserved communities, especially the Black and Latinx communities.” Bank of America, Citi, and Wells Fargo will follow suit with $1.25 billion, $1 billion, and $50 million, respectively.
Likewise, the largest corporations in the United States allocated hundreds of millions of dollars toward their social equity programs.
Alphabet — the parent company of Google — added to subsidiary YouTube’s $100 million equity fund with $175 million in new grants. Beyond funding African-American educational opportunities, the company is attempting to improve “Black+” representation at senior levels by 30% over the next four years.
CVS Health will spend $600 million “to advance employee, community and public policy initiatives that address inequality faced by Black people and other disenfranchised communities.” The healthcare conglomerate will use the funds for “company-wide training and corporate culture programs, with a focus on promoting inclusion,” “increasing access to affordable housing, which is inextricably linked to health,” and “partnerships with civil rights and social justice organizations to support shared goals.”
In the first disbursement of its $100 million pledge toward social justice, retail giant Walmart donated $14.3 million to organizations such as the Association of Black Foundation Executives, Harlem Children’s Zone, and the American Heart Association’s Bernard J. Tyson Impact Fund. E-commerce tycoon Amazon gave a total of $10 million to Black Lives Matter, the ACLU Foundation, the Equal Justice Initiative, and the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
Indeed, many firms’ contributions centered upon donations to activism networks. For example, New York Life Insurance, Albertsons, Caterpillar, and AIG respectively gave $2.5 million, $2 million, $500,000, and $250,000 to the NAACP.
A handful of large companies — such as Berkshire Hathaway and ExxonMobil — differed from their peers by not publicly announcing any social justice commitments. Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett, for instance, has openly expressed his distaste for corporate wokeness.
The longtime investor once contradicted Wall Street orthodoxy by telling Financial Times that large corporations do not properly represent investors’ interests when they bankroll social impact programs.
“This is the shareholders’ money,” explained Buffett. “Many corporate managers deplore governmental allocation of the taxpayer’s dollar, but embrace enthusiastically their own allocation of the shareholder’s dollar.”