A letter from our CEO to our associates:
Last week, we shared our enterprise commitments to do our part to address racism and social injustices. When our leadership team made those commitments, they were – and are – a reflection of our strong belief that we need to make real and lasting change to impact black lives. We have been actively listening to you and our customers (and will continue to do so), and we want to share some initial steps toward those commitments.
We pledged to donate at least $1 million to fund the fight against racism and inequality because we believe Black Lives Matter. Today we are announcing our expanded commitment to key community partners the National Urban League and YWCA by donating $1 million to both organizations and their Columbus-based affiliates.
- National Urban League and its 90 affiliates are dedicated to economic empowerment, equality, and social justice, and collaborates with community leaders, policymakers and corporate partners to elevate the standards of Black Americans and other historically underserved groups.
- The YWCA is focused on eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all through programming and advocacy.
As long-time community partners, the L Brands Foundation and the company have supported these organizations for more than two decades with grants of nearly $7 million, board and committee service, volunteerism, event sponsorships and product donations. We’re proud to strengthen our partnership with these organizations to best leverage our donation in support of the fight against racism. We also need to identify ways we can collaborate, advance our thinking, and support programming internally and in our communities to make an impact on the inequality facing Black people and all underrepresented groups.
Since last week, we’ve also made progress on listening. Many leaders across the business have engaged in conversations with individual associates and teams to listen and to learn – myself included. Listening will enable us to know how to enhance training and education so we can equip associates to inspire change.
There is much more listening to do, and we are committed to providing both small and large, formal and informal forums for associates to be heard. If you haven’t already, we encourage you to talk with a trusted colleague, your manager or HR partner, or your next-level leader about your experiences and thoughts on this important topic. We collectively must get better at tough conversations and being okay with not having the answers. Our enterprise executive leadership team is clear that we want to do this right…and that will take hard conversations, time and dedicated effort before we move to a plan of action and the appropriate measures to hold ourselves accountable.
Again, these are initial steps…there’s more work for us to do. Thank you for sharing, listening, learning and growing over the past few weeks. We encourage you to continue on that path and to be diligent in your efforts, so we can more fully live our values.
We’ll continue to keep you updated as we progress on this journey.