On Giving Black Day, Booz Allen Strengthens Its Commitment to Racial and Social Equity With New Employee Giving Campaign
August 28 is a profoundly important date in the U.S. civil rights movement, and for the Black community. On this date:
- In 1955, 14-year-old Emmett Till—a Black boy visiting Mississippi from Chicago—was brutally murdered by three white men
- In 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, DC
- In 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana, devastating New Orleans with an inordinate impact on many of the city’s Black residents
- In 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama accepted the Democratic nomination for the president of the United States
To honor this critical date in history, Giving Black Day was created in 2018 by the Young, Black & Giving Back Institute to promote financial giving for Black-led and Black-benefiting nonprofits.
This Giving Black Day, Booz Allen is proud to announce a new employee giving campaign established to support the Black community and historically marginalized populations via partnerships with the following organizations:
- The Equal Justice Initiative: Committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment, and promoting racial and economic justice.
- Thurgood Marshall College Fund: Provides access to opportunities for students of color to journey to college, through college, and into their careers.
- Year Up: Closes the opportunity divide by ensuring young adults gain the skills, experiences, and support that will empower them to reach their potential.
- Black Girls CODE: Black Girls CODE educates and empowers youth of color to become innovators in STEM fields, leaders in their communities, and builders of their own futures.
Integral to Booz Allen’s commitment to advancing racial and social equity in our firm and within our communities, the new employee giving campaign was shaped by feedback from more than 900 employees shared during firm-wide listening sessions and cross-collaboration with the firm’s African American Network and Multicultural Business Resource Group. Booz Allen and its leadership have committed to matching employee donations 2-for-1 to these four charitable organizations through September 30.
“Booz Allen’s purpose is to empower people to change the world, and that includes using our unique capabilities and talents to advance social equity through work with our community partners,” said Betty Thompson, Booz Allen Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer. “We are committed to making racial and social equity a major element of our corporate philanthropy, beginning with this campaign.”
Working together to create lasting change
The community partners selected by Booz Allen’s employee giving campaign have a long history of creating lasting change toward a more equitable world.
The Equal Justice Initiative has argued and won five United States Supreme Court cases, including landmark decisions banning mandatory life without parole sentences for juveniles and the extension of Eighth Amendment protections against cruel and unusual punishment to people with dementia and other mental conditions. In April 2018, the Equal Justice Initiative opened the National Memorial for Peace and Justice—the country’s first comprehensive memorial dedicated to thousands of African American victims of racial terror lynchings between 1877 and 1950.
In 2019 alone, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) provided more than $10.5 million in support to students and institutions, including scholarships for low-income, high-achieving students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), programs for K-12 students in high need urban and rural areas, a Leadership Institute for professional development, and more.
Booz Allen has partnered with TMCF since 2006 through board memberships, pro bono projects and more. “Their commitment to education through college readiness and career preparation for students attending their member schools positions our families and communities to adopt a growth mindset, which is key to success,” said Dr. Marcelle Davis, a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion leader within Booz Allen who has worked with the organization for many years.
Since 2000, Year Up has connected more than 29,000 young adults to professional development skills and corporate internships. Among its graduates, 90 percent are employed or enrolled in post-secondary education within four months of program completion, and Year Up alumni earn 40 percent more on average than similar youth two years following the program.
Year Up helped Administrative Professional Robin Griffin’s daughter gain valuable professional skills and on-the-job experience. “The program gave her the confidence needed to succeed and offers support after graduation,” she said.
The firm also has a long-standing relationship with Black Girls CODE. Most recently, Senior Machine Learning Scientist Melanie Laffin and Staff Scientist Amanda Tu—both with Booz Allen’s Women in Data Science network—worked with Black Girls CODE to host a virtual STEM career panel for girls ages 7 to 17. Panelists included Booz Allen data scientists Bahirah Adewunmi, Lorraine Feury, Sian Lewis, Brianna McGowan, Jamila Holt, and Sherika Sylvester.
“Early introductions to mathematics and technology became the foundation of my curiosity to help people become more comfortable with data,” Feury said. “I believe Black Girls CODE is an amazing organization to minimize the technical gap for future black data scientists like me.”