W.K. Kellogg Foundation launches Expanding Equity program

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La June Montgomery Tabron Courtesy W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation is rolling out a new program to transform corporate workplaces into more equitable places of opportunity.

The Battle Creek-based foundation said it is launching Expanding Equity, a program for advancing racial equity in companies. It will offer tools, knowledge and human-centered approaches for cultivating workplaces that attract, develop, retain and promote diverse talent to deliver benefits for a company’s employees and bottom line.

The program was piloted this year with an inaugural cohort of five financial services firms with more than $300 billion assets under management. All of the firms said they rated the program highly, would recommend it to other companies and felt better equipped to build their company’s racial equity program as a result.

“Right now, many companies have the desire to expand racial equity, diversity and inclusion efforts but are wondering how to take action within their organizations,” said La June Montgomery Tabron, W.K. Kellogg Foundation president and CEO. “The Kellogg Foundation has been on our own journey in this work. We have experience and expertise to share with the corporate sector and recognize this is the time to offer it more directly. Doing so can drive better results for companies and create a more just economy where all families can thrive.

“Among the things I find most encouraging about our inaugural cohort is that they aren’t just talking about racial equity. They are taking action. That’s what this work is about.”

The nine-month program offers a supportive learning environment with access to coaching and data to measure and advance racial equity in a company. It includes:

  • Tools, coaching and nationally recognized expertise in racial equity and racial healing from Kellogg Foundation staff
  • A Racial Equity Mini-Diagnostic that offers confidential baseline information to inform leadership and employee development, engagement and retention strategies
  • Four cohort workshops that support peer learning and problem-solving, in addition to offering plans and steps to pilot racial equity initiatives
  • Specialized leadership programming for company leaders and employees

“Participating in Expanding Equity makes solid business sense,” said Carlos Rangel, W.K. Kellogg Foundation director of investments and an architect for the Expanding Equity program. “Companies who prioritize diversity are 35% more likely to have above average financial returns. And, with people of color becoming more than half of the U.S. workforce by 2050, forward-thinking companies are taking action to ensure employees of all backgrounds can belong, contribute and experience well-being in their workplaces.”

The Kellogg Foundation is recruiting companies for 2021 and 2022 cohorts from the following industries: financial services, consumer goods, banking, business/professional services and technology. Costs for program participation, other than travel expenses, are covered by the foundation. The foundation will rely on virtual sessions for the foreseeable future due to COVID-19.

More information is at expandingequity.com.

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