3M: Our Commitment to Social Justice, Inclusion and Equity

by Savoy Staff

By Garfield Bowen, Director of Social Justice Strategy and Initiatives, 3M

3M has always been an inclusive workplace that values each of its employees around the world. However, when George Floyd’s callous death was put out for everyone to see, the all-too-familiar conversation I have with my family after the death of any Black person quickly extended into my work community. This gruesome tragedy required us to have bigger and more honest conversations, and to think about the changes that need to be made in the fabric of our company.

Stepping into the role of 3M’s first-ever Director of Social Justice has been humbling and exciting. The journey toward social justice and racial equity is indeed a marathon, and no single person or organization can create racial equity on its own. It will take communities, workplaces and governments coming together to drive real and lasting change. To that end, I’m inspired by the collaborative progress that 3M employees and our community partners have made in less than a year.

One major initiative of note is 3M’s commitment to invest $50 million over the next five years to address racial opportunity gaps through workforce development initiatives. Education and workforce development are key to racial equity, and as a global science and technology company, 3M has a long tradition of philanthropy and volunteer initiatives that position STEM equity and skilled trades as bridges of opportunity. Through this incremental investment, we will broaden access to science, manufacturing and skilled trades careers inside and outside 3M, with a focus on expanded exposure and opportunities for underrepresented groups.

To help advise where this investment will have the greatest impact, we’ve formed the 3M Community Coalition – a group of diverse leaders from the Twin Cities, including representatives from local government, nonprofits and the education sector. This unique, community-centric approach incorporates diverse perspectives into our philanthropic giving by advising how our investment can best address the most pressing challenges.

3M has also partnered with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation to support the non-partisan group’s efforts to further social justice and policy reform. We’re proud to provide funding to the foundation’s Social Justice Policy Fellows program through the National Racial Equity Institute, and to establish scholarships for students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Internally, 3M leaders have been intentional about listening to our employees, especially those in our communities of color. These conversations have fostered greater understanding and provided clarity on our progress and path forward. Every step of the way, our Employee Resource Networks have taken on instrumental roles as leaders, influencers and advocates. For example, these leaders aided in the selection of the annual grant recipients of the inaugural $1 million 3M Foundation Social Justice Awareness Fund. In 2020, four nonprofits each received a $250,000 grant: NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., Neighborhood Justice Center, Penumbra Center for Racial Healing and YWCA Saint Paul.

And we’re committed to advancing total representation of underrepresented groups in the U.S. by increasing the number of Black and Hispanic managers and individual contributors. In addition, we will increase our spend with diverse suppliers and influence our entire value chain to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in their practices.

Looking forward, I am excited about the forming of 3M’s new organizational structure dedicated to equity and community. We recently announced a new executive leadership role, 3M’s first-ever Chief Equity Officer, James Momon. The role and organization brings together the powers of our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, 3Mgives and Social Justice teams which are led by Chief Diversity Officer, Ann Anaya, Director, Michael Stroik, and myself, respectively. It will truly give us the ability to amplify and accelerate our efforts collectively.”

By continuing to listen, understand, and act, 3M has the opportunity and responsibility to drive lasting and meaningful change. Visit news.3M.com for the latest updates on our progress and for more information on how you can join us on our journey toward a better, more inclusive future.



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