Matthew Urwin | Sep 21, 2023

Acknowledging and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement can be an important indicator of a company’s values and beliefs. But as many Black tech professionals have pointed out, corporate statements only go so far. 

Reporters from The Plug, a publication focused on the Black tech community, compiled a spreadsheet tracking companies that have released #BlackLivesMatter statements and whether those companies shared diversity data, made material donations or established diversity, equity and inclusion principles.

Statements should come with actions, Mutale Nkonde, an AI policy analyst and researcher, told Built In. But the language many companies used to express their support still made an impact.

“Saying you’re in solidarity with Black lives is very powerful,” she said.

In her work collecting data for a report on racial literacy in tech, Nkonde and her fellow researchers spoke with 30 people at various levels in tech companies. More than 70 percent of respondents didn’t use the word “race” at work.

“They use the word ‘diversity,’ and they didn’t want to use the word ‘Black,’” Nkonde said. “So, the fact that I saw so many companies using that phrase, ‘Black lives,’ is a complete departure.”

That shift in language could signal a larger shift away from so-called “diversity pandering” and toward meaningful reform. But the real effects of tech’s participation in #BlackLivesMatter will take time to assess, according to Nkonde.

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What else would Nkonde like to see from tech companies?

One thing is more Black employees. But companies shouldn’t stop there, Nkonde said: Give those employees the resources to organize internally for causes that matter to them.

Second, companies can limit their involvement with markets that disproportionately harm Black people. For instance, companies may evaluate their dealings with the financial, housing and security sectors, making sure they’re not supporting or participating in harmful practices like loan discrimination.

Last, companies can develop a more nuanced understanding of racial literacy, according to Nkonde. Action plans are an essential part of improving racial literacy, she said, but so is improving the cognitive and emotional understanding of race among white employees.

Following through on promises made in support of BLM is a crucial part of operating in a transparent and meaningful manner for companies.

These companies have disclosed the amounts and recipients of their donations, shared concrete actions plans or addressed enduring problems with their products or services in response to #BlackLivesMatter.

Further ReadingTerms Like ‘Slave’ and ‘Master’ Finally Have Their Reckoning. It’s a Start.


Companies Supporting Black Lives Matter

Location: San Jose, California 

In 2020, Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins announced the company would donate a total of $5 million to Equal Justice InitiativeNAACP Legal Defense FundColor of Change and Black Lives Matter, as well as its own fund. Since then, the company has made donations to the first two organizations and committed $100 million for strengthening historically Black colleges and universities.


Location: San Francisco, California

On-demand cannabis startup Eaze announced in 2020 plans to donate $25,000 to the California NAACP. It also shares resources on the need for social equity in cannabis as well as the role cannabis has played in the racialized war on drugs and the over-policing of Black people.


Location: Brooklyn, New York 

Etsy pledged a total of $1 million to the Equal Justice Initiative and Borealis Philanthropy’s Black-Led Movement Fund. It also has a landing page for Black creators and their products on its site.


Location: Chicago, Illinois

Grubhub pledged $1 million to the Equal Justice Initiative in an open letter from CEO Matt Maloney just days before the company’s $7.3 billion sale to Amsterdam-based Just Eat Takeaway.


Location: Armonk, New  York

IBM CEO Arvind Krishna announced in a letter to Congress that the company would no longer sell or develop general-purpose facial recognition technology. Facial recognition technology has been shown to be less accurate when identifying Black faces, which would reinforce racial bias if the technology is used for policing.


Location: Redmond, Washington

Microsoft has made a number of commitments to address racial inequality within and outside its organization. It promised to invest an additional $150 million in its own diversity and inclusion efforts, create a $50 million partner fund for Black-owned business partners, put $23 million toward financing and training those partners, double its number of Black employees in senior positions by 2025 and double its number of Black-owned suppliers by 2023. Microsoft said it will give $100 million to minority-owned depository institutions, $50 million to Black-owned businesses and another $50 million in $5 million grants over five years to nonprofits serving Black communities. The commitments altogether add up to more than $1 billion.


Location: San Francisco, California

Augmented reality gaming company Niantic donated a total of $7 million to support community organizations in the United States. The company also donated another $5 million to fund projects from Black AR and game creators. It also partnered with Gameheads to launch virtual game development classes for kids and to create a game design certificate program at California State University. Niantic continued its partnership with Treehouse to bring in new hires from underrepresented groups for internships. In February, Niantic launched a Black Developers Initiative that provides selected game development teams with five months of funding and mentorship.


Location: New York, New York

In 2020, Peloton pledged to donate $500,000 to the NAACP legal defense fund. It followed up with a promise to invest $100 million over four years to fight racial inequity inside and outside the company. That initiative included a $3 pay increase for hourly employees, $20 million for learning and development opportunities for hourly employees, $20 million to social justice-focused nonprofit organizations and a report on Peleton’s diversity data. Peloton launched a campaign that tracks the company’s progress toward anti-racism.


Location: San Francisco, California

Reddit CEO Steve Huffman promised in an open letter that the company would review and update its content policy to explicitly condemn racism. He also apologized for the company’s slowness in responding to racist Reddit communities in the past. Additionally, co-founder Alexis Ohanian resigned from Reddit’s board and asked that he be replaced with a Black advisor, and in June 2020, Y Combinator CEO Michael Seibel stepped in to take Ohanian’s place, becoming Reddit’s first Black board member.

Further ReadingThe Advertising Industry Can’t Stay This White


Location: San Francisco, California 

In 2020, Shopify pledged to donate $1 million total to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Black Health Alliance and Campaign Zero. It also added a feature to highlight Black-owned businesses on its mobile shopping assistant app, Shop.


Location: San Francisco, California

Uber pledged $1 million total to Equal Justice Initiative and Center for Policing Equity. In an open letter from CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, the company also committed to a litany of other measures, including providing anti-racism education to drivers and riders, giving $10 million in promotions for Black-owned businesses over the next two years and a zero-dollar delivery fee for Black-owned restaurants in 2020. Uber also plans to double the number of Black employees at the director level or above, as well as the number of drivers and support staff, many of whom are people of color, working toward corporate positions by 2025.


Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

In 2020, Comcast pledged to spend $100 million over three years to support equity and inclusion efforts by partnering with organizations like the National Urban League and the Equal Justice Initiative, reorganizing their hiring and training processes and promoting digital equity. The company also launched NBCU Academy to train underrepresented students in media and the Comcast RISE program that awards grants to small businesses owned by people of color.


Location: San Francisco, California

Slack pledged $100,000 to the Equal Justice Initiative in 2020, and partnered with Dropbox and Zoom to expand its six-month apprenticeship program for formerly incarcerated individuals, Next Chapter. The program provides financial aid, mentorship and re-entry support, and trains participants for jobs in engineering.

Further ReadingWithout Diverse Leadership, Tech Will Be Slow to Change


Location: San Jose, California

Paypal announced in 2020 a commitment of $535 million in funds and grants for Black-owned businesses and community organizations. Of this amount, $15 million was allocated for grants to 1,400 Black-owned businesses, $100 million went to venture funds led by Black and Latinx founders, and $200 million to community banks and credit unions.


Location: Menlo Park, California

Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz launched$2.2 million fund to invest in underrepresented founders. One hundred percent of returns from the fund will go back into it, and outside investors are welcome to contribute.


Location: Austin, Texas

Bumble pledged $1 million to organizations including the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Southern Poverty Law Center and Austin Justice Coalition. The company promised to donate $5,000 each to an undisclosed number of social justice groups sourced from users. Going forward, the company also promised to conduct a “comprehensive audit” to address racism on its platform.


Location: San Francisco, California

DocuSign pledged $500,000 to the NAACP and other social justice initiatives, and committed to releasing its diversity data. It followed up a month later, sharing the composition of its workforce publicly, which the company has updated every year since.


Location: San Francisco, California

In 2020, DoorDash committed to donate $500,000 to Black Lives Matter, with another $500,000 earmarked for distribution to community nonprofits by its internal Black Employee Resource Group. The company will start tying diversity goals to job performance and promotions for team leaders, CEO Tony Xu wrote in an open letter. DoorDash announced a partnership with Kiva to match up to $150,000 in crowdsourced loans for Black business owners. It also launched a “Black-owned” tag for participating restaurants on DoorDash and Caviar.


Location: Boulder, Colorado

Black founders are starkly underfunded in venture capital spaces — just one percent of funded founders are Black, Wired reports. Matchstick Ventures is looking to combat that by building relationships with Black, Indigenous and people of color founders through networks like Techstars and UNMET Conference. The firm originally pledged to help 30 percent of its portfolio companies add Black members to their boards or C-suites — the 30 percent figure is meant to represent three times the 10 percent Black population in its target markets, Minneapolis and Colorado. In its 2021 update statement, the firm reported that it had pushed for key hires to have at least one diverse candidate but had not made “material progress” on this front.


Location: Los Angeles, California

SoftBank created a $100 million fund to invest in startups run by people of color, called the Open Opportunity Fund. In 2022, the company made the fund an uncapped evergreen fund to continue investment in Black, Latinx and Indigenous founders and give them access to the company’s network.


Location: Los Angeles, California

In TikTok’s 2020 statement, it included four action items to make the platform more inclusive for Black users, including bringing in outside experts to evaluate how the company’s products can “better serve people of all backgrounds.”

One of those experts was Nkonde, who joined TikTok’s content advisory council. She and other participants help the company examine how race shows up in the everyday life of its platform — whether that’s through moderating racist content or understanding the flow of targeted misinformation.

“What my involvement there really looks like is sitting among a group of other experts and trying to fill in some of the blind spots,” Nkonde said. “The way TikTok is looking at race online is, in my opinion, thoughtful.”

Since its statement, TikTok has issued multiple progress reports outlining the steps it has taken toward the four goals it laid out.


Location: South Burlington, Vermont

Ben & Jerry’s has long been outspoken about social and political issues. The company’s support of the Black Lives Matter movement was showcased in a 2020 statement. The Ben & Jerry’s Foundation awards grants to grassroots organizations both nationally and in its home state of Vermont, with the foundation prioritizing efforts led by Black organizers and communities.


 Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota  

Target and the Target Foundation allocated $10 million in June of 2020 to reducing inequality in the Minneapolis area and bolstering national social justice efforts in light of George Floyd’s murder. In 2021, Target supplemented this amount with an additional $100 million dedicated to cultivating economic growth in Black communities. The company has also planned to invest $2 billion by 2025 to integrate Black-owned businesses into its operations and has expanded its Target Scholars program for supporting HBCU students. 


Location: Minnetonka, Minnesota

Following the death of George Floyd, UnitedHealth Group established a Diverse Scholars trust fund for Floyd’s children and donated $5 million to the YMCA Equity Innovation Center of Excellence to begin combatting societal inequities. The company has continued its efforts with a 10-year, $100-million commitment to diversify the healthcare workforce by training students from underrepresented groups. UnitedHealth Group has also partnered with Morehouse School of Medicine to connect underserved Black mothers with essential healthcare resources.


Location: Los Gatos, California

According to its 2022 inclusion report, Netflix has been busy strengthening its support for Black individuals and communities. The company created its Pathways Program in 2019 to give Black students more opportunities in the tech sector, and it has expanded this program to include more HBCUs and Hispanic Serving Institutions. With the goal of reducing the racial wealth gap, Netflix has also committed to storing 2 percent of its cash and short-term investment holdings in Black-led banks and other financial institutions.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is Black Lives Matter?

Black Lives Matter is a political movement focused on addressing racism and discrimination faced by Black people, with a particular emphasis on anti-Black violence that occurs through forms like police brutality. 

When was Black Lives Matter founded?

Black Lives Matter was founded in 2013.

Who started Black Lives Matter?

Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi started Black Lives Matter.

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