President & CEO Beth Chandler discusses effectiveness of corporate donations to racial justice on Under the Radar
YW Boston’s President and CEO Beth Chandler joined Callie Crossley on her WGBH show Under the Radar on August 7, 2020 for a conversation about corporations donating funds to racial justice in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and national protests for racial justice. The conversation also included Marcia Chatelain, professor of history and African American studies at Georgetown University, and author of “Franchise: The Golden Arches In Black America.”
Callie Crossley invited Beth Chandler and Marcia Chatelain to discuss the effectiveness of corporate monetary support of racial justice work. As Callie asked, are “corporations donating money as a way to burnish their public image, or is it a sign that companies are ready to use their power to address systemic racism?” Beth shared that, since June YW Boston has received communication from all types of organizations — corporate and nonprofit — interested in advancing their internal diversity, equity, and inclusion work through our InclusionBoston program.
In terms of whether organizations who make statements are dedicated to real change, Beth stated that “Time will tell if organizations are really going to walk the talk. I hope that internally employees as well as customers will hold them accountable. We have seen instances in which organizations have made statements and employees have said that those rang hollow.” She went on to say, “It is up to us as both people within organizations and as consumers to ask, ‘How are we going to hold people accountable to the statements they made that they we are going to support Black Lives Matter?’ At YW Boston we can support this through our fee-for-service work and helping organizations be thoughtful and think about meaningful change internally and also…if people want to make donations, we can continue furthering this work.”
When Callie asked Beth what change she would like to see come out of corporate support in the next six months, Beth acknowledged that “this is work that takes a long time,” and therefore it is likely there will not be significant shifts in six months. However, she would like to see sustainable efforts within these organizations. This includes both employees talking about internal culture change, as well as “companies speaking externally, using the power they have to try to change policy issues that are really going to benefit the people who have been left out all these years.” Ultimately, Beth stated, she wants to see companies dedicated to making this “more than just a moment [with] organizations and people actively making this more of a movement that will be sustainable and really lead to real difference in Black people’s lives.”
Find the segment on WGBH’s website here.
(Image: Michael Dwyer / AP, used for Under the Radar‘s episode listing.)
About YW Boston
As the first YWCA in the nation, YW Boston has been at the forefront of advancing equity for over 150 years. Through our DE&I services—InclusionBoston and LeadBoston—as well as our advocacy work and F.Y.R.E. Initiative, we help individuals and organizations change policies, practices, attitudes, and behaviors with a goal of creating more inclusive environments where women, people of color, and especially women of color can succeed.
As part of that work, we are helping organizations prioritize Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and become socially connected while staying physically distant. During this time, YW Boston is providing organizations with digital workshops and resources to help them better understand the challenges faced by their employees. For more information, please contact Sheera Bornstein at firstname.lastname@example.org.