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Microsoft increasing Black leadership with $150 million investment

Microsoft announced it will invest $150 million in an initiative to increase diversity among leadership at the tech company in light of recent events that have sparked discussion over racial inequity.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella laid out the intentions of the investment in a public email sent to Microsoft employees. To address racial inequality and disparity, Microsoft will invest $150 million into diversity and inclusion (D&I). The investment is meant to double Black leadership within the company in the U.S. by 2025 and will reshape the company culture by encouraging inclusion and aiding career development at Microsoft.

Moreover, business expansions will be executed to boost the well-being of Black-owned firms and Black communities. It will “double the number of Black- and African American-owned approved suppliers over the next three years and spend an incremental $500M with those existing and new suppliers.”

The company will ensure that suppliers’ workplace portfolios adhere to diversity and it will assist Black-owned small businesses with a $50 million investment and make other investments to economically stimulate Black communities.

Nadella states Microsoft aims to improve Black communities by expanding access to its products and services. The company will make efforts to “strengthen and expand our existing justice reform initiative with a five-year, $50 million sustained effort” for increased transparency and a commitment to racial justice.

Microsoft’s initiative comes on the heels of efforts and movements regarding racial justice. Since George Floyd’s killing by a police officer in Minneapolis in late May, the momentum for various social justice groups and company actions has been nearly constant.

Nadella’s letter was published following a Microsoft employee’s recollection of racism at Mixer. Specifically, the employee recalled his supervisor using a slavery analogy to describe the relationship between Mixer and its content creators. Further, the employee was told he was hired due to his “street smart” quality.

Still, Microsoft isn’t the only tech company using its status to improve race inequality. Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke out against racial injustice earlier this month saying the company will bring “critical resources and technology to underserved school systems” and move “forward on inclusion and diversity.”

Other gaming companies have also spoken out, made monetary commitments, or offered symbolic gestures.

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