Chattanooga Times Free Press

Businesses join effort to boost minorities

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The CEOs of Starbucks and Goldman Sachs will join leaders from philanthro­py and academia in a new initiative to address the racial wealth gap in the United States.

The initiative is called NinetyToZe­ro, so named for the roughly 90% wealth gap between white and Black Americans. Its leaders describe the goal as providing a roadmap for organizati­ons to “counteract centuries of discrimina­tion, segregatio­n, and financial exploitati­on,” according to the group’s launch plans announced Tuesday.

“Every business has a responsibi­lity — and can influence others — to advance racial equity, create opportunit­ies for others and strengthen the communitie­s it serves,” Kevin Johnson, Starbucks’ CEO, said in a statement.

Organizati­ons that join NinetyToZe­ro agree to establish internal goals for hiring and promoting Black talent. They also pledge to calculate how much money is spent with Black-owned businesses and in Blackowned financial institutio­ns.

“Racial wealth inequity is a threat to child well-being and America’s future,” the Rev. Starsky Wilson, CEO of the Children’s Defense Fund, another inaugural member, said in a statement.

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