Sundar Pichai, ceo of Google and its parent company Alphabet, told employees on Wednesday that the company had pledged more than $175 million to help more black companies and add black executives to its leadership. “Over the past few weeks, violent and racist attacks against black communities have forced the world to confront the structural and systemic racism that black generations face,” Picchay said in a blog post. I’m looking for answers myself, and the search starts within our company. “
Google’s pledge comes against the backdrop of protests around the world over the death of George Floyd, a black man, in the custody of a white police officer. A few days after the video of the incident was released, Picchay said the company would donate $12 million to groups that support racial justice. Last week, YouTube announced a $100 million fund to “strengthen” black creators and artists.
It follows reports that Google has come under fire for scrapping its diversity program and providing invalid links when employees try to access resources.
Blacks now make up only 3.3 per cent of Google’s workforce, and that percentage has barely budged over the past few years.
Mr Picchay said the $175m Economic Opportunity Initiative would be used to support black business owners, start-up founders, job seekers and developers. Of that amount, $50 million will be spent on small business financing and donations, with a focus on black communities, $100 million to support black-led investment firms, start-ups and organizations supporting black entrepreneurs, “including increased investment in Plexo Capital and non-diluted funding for black founders in the Google for Startups network”, and the rest will be spent on skills training and the addition of black practitioners to their developer ecosystem.
He also announced that he would create “sustainable equity” for the “Black Plus” community, adding that it would help Google build more useful products for its users. Google says it treats people of all races as members of all racial categories in which they are identified, and uses the symbol “plus” to express this.