Google is putting $175 million toward bolstering black-owned businesses as the internet company vows to make changes on racial equity within its own ranks.
The tech giant announced on Wednesday that it plans to spend $100 million to fund black-owned startups and organizations supporting black entrepreneurs. Another $50 million will be directed to grants for small businesses within the black community, while additional funds will be spent on job training and education access for black communities.
Included in the pledge is a virtual startup accelerator aimed at black founders. Google’s pledge comes after protests spread across the country in support of racial equality in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. Some of the nation’s biggest companies, such as Nike and Microsoft, are pledging solidarity with their black employees as well as the broader African American community, although they have also been criticized for a lack of diversity.
“Listening to the personal accounts of members of our Black Leadership Advisory Group and our Black+ Googlers has only reinforced for me the reality our black communities face: one where systemic racism permeates every aspect of life, from interactions with law enforcement, to access to housing and capital, to health care, education, and the workplace,” CEO Sundar Pichai said in a company letter.
Pichai also pledged to boost representation of people of color within Google’s own ranks. Less than 4% of the company’s workforce is black, according to its latest diversity report. (Latinx people make up less than 6%, while Native Americans are less than 1%). The figures are even lower within Google’s leadership ranks, which are 2.6% black, 3.7% Latinx and 0.5% Native American. Google’s diversity numbers have barely budged since the companysix years ago.
To improve them, Google will post senior leadership roles externally, as well as “increase our investments in places such as Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and London,” Pichai said, pledging that the leadership numbers will be 30% better within five years.
The company will also roll out an internal anti-racism curriculum by early next year, Pichai said.