BOSTON (AP) — Black executives and other corporate leaders of color in Massachusetts have launched a social justice fund to support minority communities.
The goal of the New Commonwealth Racial Equity and Social Justice Fund is to provide “essential support, resources and thought leadership for uncovering and dismantling systemic racism and all of its various and insidious forms,” the organization said in an announcement late Saturday.
Organizers say they have about $20 million in commitments to help launch the fund, primarily from the companies where the 19 founding members work, as well as from their own personal wealth. They hope to raise at least $100 million, and begin issuing grants in a few months.
Organizers say they’ll initially be focused on supporting initiatives and nonprofit organizations working on policing and criminal justice reform, healthcare equity, economic empowerment, youth education, and civic engagement.
Paul Francisco, chief diversity officer at the financial firm State Street and one of the corporate leaders involved in the effort, said a fund of this kind has never been attempted in Massachusetts.
“It’s time to change the narrative on race in Boston,” he said. “We firmly believe we can make the lasting and meaningful changes our communities of color so desperately need.”
Quincy Miller, president of Eastern Bank, said minority organizations are chronically underfunded. Black-led nonprofits have, on average, revenues 24% smaller and net assets 76% smaller than their white-led counterparts, the organization said.
Among the other corporate leaders involved are former Democratic U.S. Sen. Mo Cowan, who is global government affairs president at General Electric; Fred Lowery, head of life sciences and laboratory products Thermo Fisher Scientific; Pamela Everhart, a senior vice president at Fidelity; Greg Shell, a managing director at Bain Capital; and Linda Dorcena Forry, a vice president at Suffolk Construction and a former Democratic state lawmaker.