Connecticut state Treasurer Shawn T. Wooden announced that his office is partnering with the Ford Foundation, to assemble a coalition of CEOs to advance racial and economic security and opportunity both within and outside of their companies.
Mr. Wooden is the principal fiduciary for the $36 billion Connecticut Retirement Plans & Trust Funds, Hartford.
The coalition of CEOs will be tasked with establishing "long-term, measurable commitments that address the need for deep, structural changes in order to advance social change, racial justice and greater economic prosperity for all," said a news release from Mr. Wooden's office Thursday.
Firms in coalition so far include BlackRock, State Street Global Advisors, Goldman Sachs, T. Rowe Price Group, Invesco, AllianceBernstein, Bridgewater Associates, Franklin Templeton, Schroders, Bank of America, TIAA-CREF, The Hartford, UBS Americas Holding and Vista Equity Partners.
The CEOs in the coalition are looking to make the following efforts within their organizations: increase diversity on their boards, increase diversity at all levels of the workforce, create initiatives to identify and address disparities in pay and opportunity, ensure the health and safety of the front-line staff and create pipelines for recruiting and developing diverse talent.
Outside their organizations, the CEOs are looking to make capital investments to improve financial wellness in communities of color, invest more in minority-owned businesses, commit to procure goods and services from diverse suppliers and develop mechanisms to invest in communities of color in ways that can reduce economic disparities.
"Corporate America can and should pull the levers of power they hold to work towards a more just society," Mr. Wooden said in the news release. "We have the collective power, leadership and resources to bring tangible, long-lasting change to our country through diversifying the corporate workforce and creating support systems and career opportunities for Black employees and other employees of color."
Darren Walker, president of the $13 billion Ford Foundation, New York, added in the release: "In this moment of racial reckoning, a historic truth has been revealed to all: Our systems do not work for everyone, especially Black and other people of color. Corporate America has a critical role to play to help undo these problems, by taking bold, concrete steps to advance diversity and equality within their walls, and to invest with impact in the communities of color outside of their windows, towards the goal of advancing justice and strengthening our economy."
The coalition has held two virtual meetings so far on Aug. 5 and Sept. 18.