Microsoft Will Invest $150M in D&I Programs, Commits to Racial Justice

by Gordon Gottsegen
June 24, 2020
Photo: Shutterstock

The nationwide protests have inspired countless companies to take a stance on racial justice. But while many companies have voiced their opinions, not all of them have taken actionable steps to address the underlying issues.

Microsoft was one of the companies that previously put out a statement supporting the Black community. Now the company is detailing how it actually intends to show that support.

The company described the actions it plans to take in a blog post published on Tuesday. First, it plans to invest an extra $150 million into its diversity and inclusion (D&I) efforts. This will help the company hire more underrepresented minorities, and provide an upward career trajectory for them.

Microsoft says it plans to double the number of Black employees holding positions as people managers, senior individual contributors and senior leaders in its U.S. offices by 2025. To do this, the tech giant plans to provide D&I training to all employees, provide career planning resources to its Black employees and hold business leaders accountable for their D&I representation.

Since Microsoft has such a big impact on its industry as a whole, it’s also making commitments outside of its company and with the various companies it works with. Microsoft plans to spend an incremental $500 million over the next three years to double the number of Black-owned approved suppliers it works with. The company plans to partner with more Black-owned financial institutions for its banking and investing needs.

Additionally, it’s creating a $100 million program and partnering with the FDIC to invest in  minority owned depository institutions, which fund minority-owned businesses. Microsoft is also creating its own $50 million fund to support Black-owned businesses. It plans to create a $50 million partner fund to invest in new Black-owned business partners, a $20 million fund to finance new and existing partners that need extra financial support and will invest another $3 million in financial training programs for these partners.

And it doesn’t stop there. Microsoft is finding ways to give back to the community as a whole. This includes investing $50 million into a five-year justice reform initiative, giving $5 million in cash grants to community-based nonprofits serving communities of color and distributing Microsoft products like its electronic devices and software.

Altogether, these initiatives account for over a billion dollars toward supporting Black and other communities of color. But Microsoft’s massive size — and $1.5 trillion market cap — means that it has the resources to take actions of this scale.

“Change begins by looking inward. We expect this change in ourselves. Employees expect this change from their leaders. Our customers and partners expect this change from Microsoft. And the world demands this change,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella wrote in a blog post.

He continued: “This is not a one-time event. It will require real work and focus. We will listen and learn. We will take feedback and we will adjust. But it starts with each of us making a commitment to do the work, to help drive change, and to act with intention.”

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