3M Pledges $50M for Racial Equity Initiatives

3M Pledges $50M for Racial Equity Initiatives

The funds will be primarily directed toward education and workforce development programs.

3M on Monday pledged to spend $50 million on racial equity initiatives over the next five years.

That will include $5 million in scholarships through the United Negro College Fund, which provides funding for students attending historically black colleges and universities. That initial sum will go toward students in St. Paul, 3M officials said in a news release.

“Education and workforce development are key to racial equity,” the company said. “Through our new investments, we will broaden access to science, manufacturing and skilled trades careers inside and outside 3M, with a focus on progress for underrepresented groups.”

For perspective, in 2019, 3M spent $14.9 million on education-related programs around the globe. Under the new plan announced Monday, the company will now invest about $10 million each year in the U.S. alone. That will increase 3M’s “annual education investment in the U.S. significantly,” a spokeswoman said in an email.

3M will invest that $50 million across the United States, with a focus on the Twin Cities, she noted.

“George Floyd’s death shone a light on inequities right in our headquarters market and we feel a responsibility to start locally with this incremental philanthropic commitment,” the spokeswoman said.

Since Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody in May, a number of Minnesota Fortune 500 companies have announced plans to bolster racial equity. Target, for instance, pledged to spend $10 million to help rebuild communities in the wake of social unrest. Best Buy later pledged to stand up more “Teen Tech” centers, programs designed to teach tech skills to underserved youth. More recently, the electronics retailer announced plans to hire more than 1,000 new tech employees. Thirty percent of those new workers will be Black, Latinx, Indigenous, or women, according to Best Buy.

Target, too, has pledged to increase its number of Black employees over the next few years.

For its part, 3M hasn’t provided any specific numbers, but said it will fast-track plans to hire diverse workers in the U.S.

“Progress requires us all to stand up as advocates for racial inclusion and social justice,” said 3M chairman and CEO Mike Roman in Monday’s press release.

Meanwhile, 3M’s new investment plan calls for donating about $1 million each year to social justice groups, as determined by an internal employee resource group.