Black and Brown corporate executives in Massachusetts launch Racial Equity and Social Justice Fund to support Black and Brown communities

Jun 29, 2020 - A coalition of Black and Brown executives from Massachusetts’ leading corporations have united to form the New Commonwealth Racial Equity and Social Justice Fund to support Black and Brown communities in Boston and across the Commonwealth.

The mission of the Fund is to provide essential support, resources and thought leadership for uncovering and dismantling systemic racism and all of its various and insidious forms, within institutions in Boston and across the other 350 cities and towns in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

“It’s time to change the narrative on race in Boston,” said Paul Francisco, SVP, Chief Diversity Officer, State Street. “A fund of this nature—for Black and Brown communities and led by Black and Brown corporate executives—has never been attempted in Massachusetts before. We firmly believe we can make the lasting and meaningful changes our communities of color so desperately need. We are committed to immediate change and recognize that we all must be committed to long-term, sustainable effort to eliminate systemic racism.”

“The fund will seek to make a difference in a city marred by racial inequities. We’re hoping that the creation of the New Commonwealth Racial Equity and Social Justice Fund not only helps level the playing field for Black and Brown communities, but also serves as a catalyst for donations from corporate and philanthropic communities,“ said Dr. Myechia Minter-Jordan, President & CEO, DentaQuest Partnership for Oral Health Advancement and Catalyst Institute. “We believe it's critically important for people to see Black and Brown leaders from prominent Massachusetts companies at the helm of this initiative.”

“Boston’s corporations have an obligation to provide substantial financial support to our executive leaders managing this fund,” said Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, who has committed to serving as a strong advocate and ally of the Fund. “Given the 400 years of structural and systemic racism in Boston, I welcome this opportunity to support our executives and some of the most effective Black and Brown-led organizations in our community. I urge the corporate and philanthropic community to join me in this effort to make our city and state stronger for the future.”

The initial focus of the Fund will be to provide resources to initiatives and nonprofit organizations effectively supporting communities of color in the following areas:
• Policing and Criminal Justice Reform
• Health Care Equity
• Economic Empowermen
• Youth Education, Empowerment, and Civic Engagement

“There are a number of highly effective Black and Brown-led organizations in the Commonwealth doing extraordinary work – but they continue to be systematically underestimated and under-resourced,” said Quincy Miller, President, Eastern Bank. “The time has come to build more capacity in these organizations so they can bring the change our communities need.” On average, the revenues of Black-led nonprofits are 24 percent smaller than white-led nonprofits – and unrestricted net assets of Black-led nonprofits are 76 percent smaller than white-led counterparts.

As the leaders of this Fund work to raise monies through their own individual and corporate giving, they welcome other corporate and philanthropic efforts, as there is much work to be done. “We need to come together as a community through multiple efforts to address these long standing, complex, structural inequities,” said Mo Cowan, President, Global Government Affairs and Policy, General Electric. “It will be crucially important for us to partner with other Black and Brown leaders of community-based initiatives and organizations to ensure the money is going to causes that can make the greatest impact.”

"The accomplished Black and Brown business leaders who are launching this Fund are driving a powerful effort to support the important goals of promoting equity and creating more opportunity for communities of color across Massachusetts," said Governor Charlie Baker. "By supporting community organizations and initiatives that focus on economic empowerment and other crucial priorities, this Fund will make a big difference in our shared work to combat inequality and build stronger communities."

The Fund’s leaders anticipate seeding it initially with $20 million, primarily comprised of multi-year commitments from companies and allies as well as the leaders themselves. The Fund will also be open to donations from other companies and individuals. The initiatives and causes the Fund supports will be informed by community leaders and organizations close to the issues.

The core leadership of the Racial Equity and Social Justice Fund includes:
• Dominic Blue, Head of Strategic Planning & Delivery, MassMutual
• Mo Cowan, President, Global Government Affairs and Policy, General Electric
• Pamela Everhart, SVP, Head of Regional Public Affairs & Community Relations, Fidelity Investments
• Linda Dorcena Forry, VP of Diversity, Inclusion & Community Relations, Suffolk Construction
• Paul Francisco, SVP, Chief Diversity Officer, State Street
• Damon Hart, SVP, Deputy General Counsel, Liberty Mutual
• Malia Lazu, EVP, Chief Experience and Culture Officer, Berkshire Bank
• Fred Lowery, SVP, President Life Sciences and Laboratory Products, Thermo Fisher Scientific
• Stephanie Lovell, EVP, Chief Legal Officer, BCBS of Massachusetts
• Quincy Miller, President, Eastern Bank
• Dr. Myechia Minter-Jordan, President & CEO, DentaQuest Partnership for Oral Health Advancement and Catalyst Institute
• Desiree Ralls Morrison, SVP, General Counsel, Boston Scientific
• Valerie Mosley, CEO, Valmo Ventures
• Rodney Pratt, VP, General Counsel, Converse
• Rebekah Splaine Salwasser, Executive Director, Red Sox Foundation
• Greg Shell, Managing Director, Double Impact, Bain Capital
• Corey E. Thomas, CEO, Rapid7
• BJ Trach, Partner and Executive Committee member, Latham & Watkins
• Damian W. Wilmot, SVP, Chief Risk & Compliance Officer, Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated

About the New Commonwealth Racial and Social Justice Fund
The Fund was founded by a coalition of Massachusetts Black and Brown executives for the sole purpose of leveraging our individual and collective power to work together with community organizations to make transformative societal changes by addressing systemic racism and racial inequity in Massachusetts.