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Advancing Equity through Culture and Strategy

By Courtney Murphy, Director, Strategic Partnerships, CECP

CECP, over the past few years, has been advancing practices related to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) both inside companies and with our companies’ external partnerships and community programs. In 2018, CECP released a research paper supported by the Walmart Foundation, , and a group of companies continued to explore these topics through an Accelerate Community focused on Diversity and Inclusion. Simultaneously, Dr. Kamau Bobb, Senior Director of the Constellations Center for Equity in Computing at Georgia Tech, led a group of CECP companies over two years to push for a collective impact framework in their Systemic Investments in Equity, Talent and Tech.

The topic continues to grow in importance at the highest levels of corporate leadership today, both due to a concern for achieving authentic impact in corporate community investments as well as out of a desire to ensure a diverse and inclusive culture of talented employees. The focus of this year’s CECP Accelerate Community on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) includes a deeper look at the concept of equity within the oft-discussed diversity & inclusion framework. While many definitions abound, the global nonprofit Teach for All recently defined equity in a SSIR article as removing the predictability of failure or success based on social background or factors. The authors continue to say, “most societies have not been designed to ensure equity, since historically members of the group that holds the most political and cultural power have disproportionate privilege and access to opportunity.”

Addressing equity within both the corporate and philanthropic context can be particularly challenging, since institutional grantmakers and companies themselves hold power/privilege and are often hierarchical, but many solutions are emerging, such as Girls with Impact, which promotes tech entrepreneurship for teen girls, and awareness among leaders at all levels has primed a readiness for action. In the DEI Accelerate Community this year– which will include companies including BD, Equinix, Northwestern Mutual, NRG Energy, PwC, Tata Consultancy Services– four scheduled meetings (two in-person and two virtual) will provide the opportunity to delve into definitions and case studies. In partnership with diversity and inclusion consultant Jeannine K. Brown, companies will discuss ways to incorporate a DEI lens within their philanthropic strategies and community partnerships. We will also hear from experts in culture and talent such as Rohini Anand, SVP Corporate Responsibility and Global Chief Diversity, Sodexo, whose paper Common Purpose: The Intersection of Diversity & Inclusion and Corporate Responsibility in the US explored common benefits to the business of these functions.

As an ongoing effort to advance equity, companies in this Accelerate Community will have the opportunity to bring their own questions and challenges to the table and discuss the complexities with peer companies and experts. Corporate Social Engagement has a unique perspective on DEI due to its proximity to social issues and influence on corporate culture and an opportunity to inform and reinforce equity, diversity and inclusion strategy.

Interested in getting involved in the DEI Accelerate Community? Contact CECP to participate in this unique peer learning opportunity.