Spotlight on Black Business Month

black business month dsw
Featured this week: Bank of America, the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation, Capital One Financial Corporation, Comerica Bank, Cox Enterprises, Inc., DPR Construction, DSW (of Designer Brands Inc.), Honda, Honeywell, Kiddie Academy, KPMG, Nestlé, New Relic, Rockland Trust, Royal Neighbors of America, Saudi Aramco, T. Rowe Price, Taco Bell (of Yum! Brands Inc.), TD Bank Group, UScellular, Walgreens

The member community convened by Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship is one of a kind. The 500+ companies we serve each year are leaders in environmental, social, and governance action, and the thousands of individuals who make up this network are some of the best in the field! Pictured right: DSW parent company, Designer Brands Inc., supporting the opening of the first Black-owned footwear factory in the United States.

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Kevin Watkins Comerica Bank

Spotlight on You

Comerica Bank recently appointed Kevin Watkins as its National African American Business Development Manager, supporting Comerica's commitment to develop and grow relationships with African American business leaders, entrepreneurs, and communities across all markets. These responsibilities are an extension of Watkins' current role as Vice President, Southeast Michigan External Affairs Market Manager.

As National African American Business Development Manager, Watkins will collaborate with Comerica's African American Business Resource Groups and Chief Diversity Officer Nate Bennett on building external partnerships with African American nonprofit organizations across the bank's national footprint.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, while there are fewer instances of skin cancer among Black people, the mortality rate is dangerously higher. Black Girl Sunscreen founder Shontay Lundy is aiming to change that, with the support of Walgreens. The drugstore brand is aiming to amplify supplier diversity by tapping 51 percent Black-owned brands to line their shelves. Black Girl Sunscreen is one of those companies. “We want to be more than ‘Buy! Buy! Buy!,’” Lundy shared. “Our brand is also about the ‘Why? Why? Why?.’ That happens through direct conversations with customers and potential customers, and now that we’ve grown and have a larger voice, we’re also able to have those conversations through our marketing and digital platforms, which allow us to reach more people with our message.”

“As a leading partner in reimagining local healthcare and wellbeing for all, ensuring that we create equitable opportunities for diverse suppliers to drive economic impact in the communities we serve is imperative,” said Carlos W. Cubia, senior vice president and global chief diversity officer at WBA.

Sean Tresvant has made history as the first-ever African American CEO of Taco Bell. He will oversee the popular Mexican fast-food chain's almost 8,000 restaurants worldwide and is taking on the role just two years after joining the company as its Global Chief Brand Officer. Tresvant worked at Nike for over 15 years, where he worked as the Vice President of Marketing and the Chief Marketing Officer for the Jordan brand. He also worked for Pepsico for five years, and his senior-level roles have expanded to include strategy, food innovation, architecture and design, global communications, and international business. He will officially begin his role as CEO in January 2024.

Celebrating and Supporting Black-Owned Businesses and Black Entrepreneurs

TD Bank Group, earlier this year, launched a lending program founded on providing more equitable access to credit for Black entrepreneurs, who disproportionally face hurdles securing funding for their businesses, helping to foster economic inclusion. Designed to help Black business owners drive their businesses forward, the Program also offers dedicated support and resources via specialized Account Managers and Black Customer Experience regional teams. This August, the bank is also shining the spotlight on a series of Black-owned businesses and clients. "TD is proud to recognize Black business owners serving their local communities while blazing a trail for the next generation," said Hugh Allen, MidSouth Regional President. "During National Black Business Month, we'll feature inspiring success stories while highlighting the many useful resources and information TD offers to empower all who dream of owning their own business."
Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) has reached its goal of spending $1 billion globally with diverse-owned businesses three years earlier than planned. The spending comes after BMS announced in 2020 it would pay out that amount with Black and other diverse businesses to create jobs and produce a positive economic impact in such communities by 2025. The company reported the goal was reached based on 2022 spending results. The company disclosed businesses that benefited from its diversity pledge, including Black-owned firms like food service supplier Sodexo Magic, business management consulting firm BCT Partners, and The ACT 1 Group. BMS called reaching its vow ahead of schedule a significant milestone for its ongoing global diversity program launched over 25 years ago.
diverse supplier mentoring program

As part of a $200 million, five-year commitment to support growth in underserved communities and advance socioeconomic mobility, Capital One created a supplier diversity mentoring program. The program aims to accelerate the success of small business owners to create more jobs, strengthen the local economy, and move our society toward a more equitable future. 

The diverse supplier mentoring program began in Richmond, Virginia with 10 businesses – chosen by the City of Richmond and BLK RVA – ranging from expertise in event production to pharmaceuticals to food and beverage and interior design. At the onset of the program, Capital One instructors teach courses on marketing and social media, design-thinking, cybersecurity, legal and finance, and change management. Then, businesses are matched with mentors from across Capital One. 

Through the program, mentors and mentees work together to focus on a clear vision and specific goals. Those goals help to guide mentorship discussions as the teams determine how to achieve those goals and overcome potential obstacles. "Last Thursday, I graduated from Capital One's Diverse Supplier Mentoring Program," participant Monica Barnett recently shared on LinkedIn. "I walked away with a new network of minority-owned business connections, a wealth of knowledge across key aspects of business like negotiations, contracts, and more, and access to a company that believes in championing diversity."

DSW (of Designer Brands Inc.) and Pensole Lewis College of Business & Design (PLC) cut the ribbon to their brand new JEMS by Pensole factory in in Somersworth, New Hampshire. The event marked the opening of the first Black-owned footwear factory in the United States. According to Designer Brands, the development and opening of the factory represent the culmination of its $2 million investment into advancing action-oriented Diversity, Equity & Inclusion through its partnership with Detroit-based PLC, the first and only Historically Black College & University (HBCU) in Michigan and the first HBCU with a focus on design.

Bank of America has committed to giving more than $500 million in equity investments to minority- and women-led fund managers to support diverse entrepreneurs. More than 65% who can pull from the equity pool are led by Black individuals. So far, more than 150 funds have used the equity to invest in upward of 1,000 companies.

"As a company, we looked at how to support women and diverse entrepreneurs," said Tram Nguyen, global head of Strategic and Sustainable Investments at Bank of America. "Capital to under-resourced entrepreneurs has the effect of unlocking their potential to grow their businesses locally and to create economic opportunity,"

T. Rowe Price announced it is on track to deploy $50 million in deposits to under-resourced deposit institutions through a partnership with CNote, an impact investment fintech that provides capital to lenders that empower small and diverse business owners and support under-resourced communities. Beginning last year, funds have been directed to community banks and credit unions across the country to distribute the capital to small businesses.

"We are committed to ensuring underrepresented and under-resourced communities have access to capital," said Raymone Jackson, head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Corporate Responsibility for T. Rowe Price. "We believe this investment will go a long way in providing capital and coaching to small and emerging businesses; expanding access to healthcare, education, and other community-centric facilities; financing affordable housing development; and generally making communities more economically resilient."

The $50 million investment, which is the first of its kind in the investment management industry, is the result of a social impact investing initiative spearheaded by T. Rowe Price's Black Leadership Council, a group of senior African American associates who advise the Management Committee and support engagement with Black/African American associates.

DPR Construction recently presented at the Virginia Department of Small Business Supplier Diversity (SBSD) and the City of Richmond Office of Minority Business Development (OMBD) “Construction & Contracting 101” 2023 event. Team members educated attendees on bid preparation and spent time in open discussion, Q&A, and tips.  

kpmg internship program

More News in Corporate Citizenship

This summer, KPMG launched its inaugural Empower High School Experience, a three-week paid internship focused on introducing high school students to accounting careers. The initiative is designed to give interns access to a curriculum based on personal development, relationship management, college and career readiness, as well as industry knowledge. Nearly 200 high school juniors and seniors will participate across 11 cities throughout the country, from Los Angeles to New York, with the support of 500 firm professionals who will serve as mentors, content developers, facilitators, and volunteers.

"We are very excited about the program and are really confident that our students are going to leave with an understanding of what a career in our industry could be like," said Jennifer Flynn Dear, KPMG managing director of community impact and alumni strategies,. "They will understand what steps they need to take to achieve this career and they'll come out of it with strong relationships with KPMG people, who can remain their mentors and coach them throughout the coming years."
nestle sustainable agriculture

Nestlé is working to bring regenerative agriculture practices to wheat farms within its supply chain, with the goal of improving soil; using less water, energy, and fertilizer; and helping reduce the impacts of climate change. The initiative will bring regenerative agriculture practices to over 100,000 acres of farmland—nearly double the amount of acres needed to grow the amount of wheat used in its pizza. The work will help the company accelerate the transition to regenerative agriculture in its supply chain.

Today, nearly two-thirds of Nestlé’s global greenhouse gas emissions come from sourcing ingredients, which is rooted in agriculture. As part of its detailed roadmap to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, the company aims to source 20% of its key ingredients through regenerative agricultural methods by 2025, and 50% of its key ingredients by 2030.

Nestlé is also working across its tomato supply chain in the U.S. to support the verification of regenerative agriculture practices, with the aim of sourcing tomatoes grown for its ingredients through these methods in the coming years.

“Many tomato farmers in our supply chain have already been doing the work to implement regenerative farming practices in their fields and they’ve made great progress so far,” said Emily Johannes, Head of Diverse and Sustainable Sourcing, Nestlé USA. “We are now working to verify these efforts throughout the supply chain in a way that is effective and efficient for our brands and the farmers. Third-party verification is a critical component of this work because it helps us, and others, remain accountable.”
rockland trust community giving

Rockland Trust Charitable Foundation recently announced a $30,000 grant to Cardinal Cushing Centers, Inc. of Hanover. This grant will assist Cardinal Cushing in the transition of the MarketPlace into a self-sustaining business and training site for individuals with intellectual disabilities. The MarketPlace is home to Cardinal Cushing's community-facing businesses where 300 student and adult participants engage in vocational training as well as paid employment opportunities. 

"The Foundation is honored to support the Cardinal Cushing Center's mission in creating meaningful employment opportunities at their MarketPlace," said Andrea Bevvino Borowiecki, Vice President of Charitable Giving & Community Engagement. "The organization is doing incredible work to help us build a more inclusive community which in tandem is improving the quality of life of the individuals and families they serve."
sustainability reporting

Sustainability & ESG Reports Released

New Relic recently released its FY23 sustainability report. CEO, Bill Staples, shared, “this year, New Relic turns 15 years old. We’re proud to be an early pioneer in application performance monitoring, and we now have more engaged customers on our platform than any other. In many ways, however, we feel that we're just getting started on our mission to help the tens of millions of engineers around the world make decisions every day using telemetry data. We're renewing our commitment to building a more equitable and sustainable future for all, mobilizing our business, people, and resources as leaders in observability to effect positive change while meeting the demands of our customers, investors, employees, and communities.”

Report highlights include:

  • Built and launched strategy to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
  • Expanded free access to New Relic’s platform by donating $8.5 million in product and discounts to nonprofits.
  • Reduced employee turnover by 15-20 percentage points and doubled Black representation among leaders.
  • Centralized management of data security and trust issues into one team.
csr  certificate program - 1

Members on the Move

More Corporate Citizens Enrolling in BCCCC Certificate Programs

Many CSR/ESG professionals have recently enrolled in our upcoming certificate programs, The Fall Summit and Leadership Academy. Congratulations to these executives from Honda, Honeywell, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Royal Neighbors of America, Scholastic Corporation, Cox Enterprises, Inc., Saudi Aramco, Kiddie Academy, and more...

A warm welcome to BCCCC's newest members, UScellular and the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation!

We look forward to having these teams join our corporate citizenship community.