Diageo, the British adult beverage behemoth that has a satellite office in Stamford, has created the Diageo Community Fund. The $20 million initiative is designed to help address the needs of black communities and businesses who have been disproportionately harmed by COVID-19.
The fund, which will support businesses, consumers and partners integral to the hospitality industry in black communities across the U.S., will include a combination of targeted donations supporting advocacy efforts as part of the economic recovery from the coronavirus, as well as training for business owners and employees and relief aid.
“Diageo has no tolerance for racism, injustice and unequal treatment. We stand together with the black community in this defining moment,” said Ivan Menezes, chief executive of Diageo. “We are committed to taking every step necessary to champion equality everywhere and, while we have made progress, there is so much more to do. The Diageo Community Fund is just one of many steps we will take on this journey.”
Diageo has longstanding partnerships with the National Urban League and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and has already pledged over $1 million to those organizations and 100 Black Men of America Inc. to support their work for racial equality and social justice.
Diageo also announced to its employees last week it will double its existing matching program for charitable donations made during the month of June, contributing $2 for every dollar contributed by employees.
Diageo’s African Heritage Employee Resource Group will continue to help the company focus on the priorities and actions that will make the most meaningful impact to the black community, both inside and outside of the company.
“The fact that racial injustices are daily occurrences is tragic. And it must change. And that change needs to start with each of us, in our families, communities and businesses”, said Deirdre Mahlan, president, Diageo North America. “We must use the pain of this moment to redouble our resolve.”
Diageo plans to announce specific investments from the fund in the coming weeks.