Facebook Announces $200 Million Commitment to Support Black Businesses

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[Facebook\Black Business]
Today Facebook announced: A commitment of $200 million to support Black-owned businesses, Black creators and nonprofits supporting the Black community - building on earlier investments and part of a broader $1.1 billion investment.
Photo: YouTube

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has announced the company's $200 million commitment to support Black businesses, creators, and non-profits.

Facebook is reporting that it is taking steps to improve its products, programs and policies and build tools to confront the reality of violence and injustice which members of the Black community face on a daily basis.

Today Facebook announced:

  • A commitment of $200 million to support Black-owned businesses, Black creators and nonprofits supporting the Black community - building on earlier investments and part of a broader $1.1 billion investment in Black and diverse suppliers and communities in the US.
  • Free digital skills training with the goal to reach 2 million members of the Black and Latinx communities over the next three years.
  • We’re also creating a new space in the Facebook app called Lift Black Voices.
  • And we’re building a more diverse and inclusive workforce so we can better support communities around the world.

See below for more details from Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg on today’s news.

 

Supporting Black and Diverse Communities

By Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer

The past few weeks have compelled us to confront the reality of violence and injustice which members of the Black community face on a daily basis. We have shared words of support for our friends, colleagues and communities. We need to take action as well. At Facebook, we’re focused on building powerful tools and resources. We’re also taking steps to improve our products, programs and policies. We pooled ideas from diverse groups of our employees across different teams on how we can better fight against racial injustice.

Today we are sharing that we’re already putting some of these to work. Building on earlier investments, we’re committing an additional $200 million to support Black-owned businesses and organizations. This commitment is part of a broader $1.1 billion investment in Black and diverse suppliers and communities in the US. We’re also creating a new space in the Facebook app called Lift Black Voices and we’re building a more diverse and inclusive workforce so we can better support communities around the world.

Investing in the Black Community

From the early days of the pandemic, we have been listening to small businesses and trying to do what we can to help them weather the storm – including direct financial help through our $40 million US grant program. Since we opened applications for the program, we have seen a huge amount of interest from Black-owned businesses – so we know they are facing enormous challenges. When we asked for ideas from employees, many suggested that there was much more we could do to support them.

  • We’re investing $100 million this year in Black-owned small businesses, Black creators, and nonprofits that serve the Black community in the US. This includes $25 million in support of Black content creators and $75 million in grants of cash and ad credits to support Black-owned businesses and nonprofits that serve the Black community.
  • We’re setting a goal to spend at least $1 billion with diverse suppliers next year and every year thereafter. As part of this, we’ll spend at least $100 million annually with Black-owned suppliers, from facilities to construction to marketing agencies and more.
  • Over the next three years, we’ll reach 1 million members of the Black community and 1 million members of the Latinx community in the US through a program called Elevate that provides free training in the digital skills they need to succeed, from setting up an online presence to creating marketing materials and more. We’ve also pivoted our Boost with Facebook program to all virtual training this summer, starting with the Summer of Support program, launching on June 24.
  • We’re giving 100,000 scholarships to Black students working toward digital skills certifications through our Facebook Blueprint program. This is in addition to our CodeFWD and TechPrep programs that offer resources and support to help underrepresented communities get started in computer science and programming.
  • To support people raising money for causes they care about on Juneteenth, we’ll donate $5 million ($19 each) to over 250,000 Facebook Fundraisers created for three racial justice organizations: Equal Justice Initiative, Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the Innocence Project.

Elevating Black Voices and Stories

We’re creating a new space in the Facebook app called Lift Black Voices to highlight stories from Black people, share educational resources, and inspire people to take action through fundraising for racial justice causes. We asked employees to share ideas for new products and features to help fight racial injustice, and this was one of the more than 700 ideas submitted so far. In Instagram search, we’ll surface accounts to help people take action for racial justice. We’re also continuing our #ShareBlackStories editorial series on @instagram, @instagramforbusiness, @creators, @shop and @design to amplify the voices of Black creators, artists, activists and businesses. We’ll continue to build on these over time.

A More Diverse and Inclusive Workforce

We know that more diverse teams will make better decisions and build better products. We’re invested in increasing diversity and inclusion because we care about doing better at serving diverse communities all around the world.

  • We’ve already committed to have 50% of our workforce be from underrepresented communities by the end of 2023, and we’re working to double our number of Black and Latinx employees in the same timeframe.
  • And over the next five years, we’re committing to have 30% more people of color, including 30% more Black people, in leadership positions. We will also continue our ongoing efforts to increase the representation of women in leadership.
  • We’re taking a closer look at how we make decisions. We’ve already made some shifts and investments and we’re continuing the work to get more voices and diverse perspectives included in the development of our products, policies and programs.

Achieving racial justice and equity is a goal all of us share – and a goal that will take real work to achieve. This is just the start of how we plan to help in this fight. We’ll continue to listen and take action to support the long-term success of the Black community.

Here are some amazing Black-owned small businesses that use our platforms to help run their business:

Charleston Gourmet Burger - Charleston, South Carolina: founded by Chevalo and Monique Wilsondebriano (Husband-Wife Co-Owners) in 2012, started at a backyard BBQ thrown by Chevalo and Monique. Chevalo, a decorated NYC first responder, and Monique had just relocated to Charleston looking for a change after the heartbreak of the 9/11 attacks. Not knowing anyone in Charleston, Monique and Chevalo decided to throw a neighborhood BBQ, using their homemade burger marinade. After seeing how much people loved their marinade, they decided to try and build a business with it. From there, Charleston Gourmet Burger Company was born. Their bottled marinade sauce now sells in retail stores and direct to consumer in 50 states in the U.S. and 17 countries worldwide, relying heavily on Facebook and Instagram ads as they expand.

BoldandSassy Hair Desighns - Agawam, Massachusetts: Bold and Sassy Hair Desighns (BASHD) is a now Mobile Hair Salon and Product Retailer via their line called Sase Hair Care Products. They were founded by Owner Torri Hammond, military wife and mom. Since closing their physical location in Charleston, SC, BASHD reaches their customers by traveling to service clients for personal appointments, as well as by selling their hair products via eCommerce on their website and 2 physical store locations carrying their products in Charleston, SC. Prior to COVID, their revenue had increased by an estimated 50% due to their FB usage. During their COVID-19 transition, they are relying largely on FB Live to showcase hair styling techniques and usage of their hair care products with views ranging from 500/600 to 1k views, and around 5-6 views converting into an online sale. They are also continuing to sell their hair care products via their website and curbside pickup at the physical store locations carrying their products, and an estimated 95% of website purchases is driven from FB having also increased their organic advertising efforts for Sase Hair Care Products, they are now receiving between 10 to 20 orders per day.

Connie’s Chicken and Waffles - Baltimore, Maryland: Connie’s Chicken and Waffles is a family-owned restaurant focused on bringing an outstanding Food Experience to local Baltimoreans. It was founded in 2016 by two brothers, Khari and Shawn. Khari was a strong panelist at our Community event in Baltimore in November 2018. The goal of this business is to give its customers a loving experience of a cooked meal. Understanding that their success comes with loyalty, this business believes in giving back to causes that help advance the needs of the communities they operate in, which is why they believe that as a business they need to serve as a leader to help build their Community. Facebook has allowed Connie’s Chicken and Waffles to scale this message and has also allowed them to directly communicate with its customers.

Facebook has helped the business to grow tremendously, they attribute 75-80% of their growth to their use of the platform (Facebook and Instagram), this was both in brand awareness and foot traffic. And they feel that 60-70% of their customers are mentioning they saw them on Instagram or Facebook. As a result of COVID-19, Connie’s Chicken and Waffles has faced operational and supply chain issues, and they are now taking necessary precautions to maintain social distancing while maintaining food availability. They have pivoted by closing in-store dining and offering curbside pick-up with order ahead service while also offering delivery services. They also stay connected to their customers by hand-drawing messages on their take-out orders, and they have joined #TheGreatAmericanTakeout campaign in an effort to support the nation's restaurants by encouraging the ordering of takeout and delivery as often as customers can.

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