CVS Launches $600 Million Racial Justice Fund

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CVS Launches $600 Million Racial Justice Fund

By Thad Rueter - 07/08/2020
CVS Launches $600 Million Racial Justice Fund
The effort will include mentoring and health care initiatives, among other tasks.

CVS Health said Tuesday that it will spend $600 million over five years to address racial inequality.

The money will help “advance employee, community and public policy initiatives that address inequality faced by Black people and other disenfranchised communities,” the retailer said. “The investment follows a commitment from President and CEO Larry Merlo to evaluate how the company operates and how it can use its influence to be a force for good in communities across the country.”

More specifically, the effort will include:

  • Mentoring, sponsorship, development and advancement of diverse employees;
  • Company-wide training and corporate culture programs, with a focus on promoting inclusion;
  • Workforce initiatives, including building on the company's highly successful partnerships to provide employment services and training to underserved communities;
  • Social determinants of health, with a particular emphasis on increasing access to affordable housing, which is inextricably linked to health;
  • Access to health care, including expanding Project Health and other investments that address health disparities; and
  • Partnerships with civil rights and social justice organizations to support shared goals.

"Our nearly 300,000 employees are a microcosm of America, and a reflection of the diversity that is foundational to who we are as a country," said Merlo. "The strategic agenda we're laying out today will harness the strength of that diversity and focus on the areas where we can have the greatest impact."

Other retailer have taken similar steps. For instance, Southeastern Grocers Inc. (SEG) and its charitable arm, the SEG Gives Foundation, have launched the Romay Davis Belonging, Inclusion and Diversity Grant Program. Under the initiative, nonprofit organizations in communities across the grocer’s seven-state Southeast market area can apply for grants to help address racial disparities in health care and food insecurity.

As well, earlier this month, news emerged that CVS Health and Lowes were among the major retailers supporting the launch of a new media brand called the Black Information Network. BIN says it's the first and only 24/7 national and local all news audio service dedicated to providing an objective, accurate and trusted source of continual news coverage with a Black voice and perspective. BIN says it's focused on service to the Black community and providing an information window for those outside the community to help foster communication, accountability and a deeper understanding.

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