The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. has been the leading financial institution since 1869; starting from their New York base, they developed a global reach with offices established all around the world. The firm’s key to success is adaptability; their humanitarian acts reflect their state of constant growth in social accountability. On March 10, the Goldman Sachs financial group announced their One Million Black Women initiative, an investment promising $10 billion will be funneled to support Black women for over the next 10 years.
Sitting at the head of the Goldman Sachs institution is CEO David Solomon; he has made investing in women-led business a priority since 2008. Solomon is taking it a step further with the One Million Black Women directive. According to the featured article in Essence, Solomon stated, “Given all that’s happened over the course of the last year, we’ve done a lot of talking at the firm—and even more listening—to help us figure out how we can do more to end the racial inequity and the gaps that have existed in society for well too long.”
The CEO explained the initiative is looking to create an environment of inclusion and commit to providing resources for underrepresented groups such as Black women business owners. Solomon elaborated on the amount of $10 billion, reflecting their commitment to the long-standing growth and development that will need to take place within the collective community.
President and CEO of the National Urban League, Marc Morial sits on the One Million Black Women Council. Morial has advocated for the advancement of Black women; he is fully aware of the power in their perspective. Morial told Essence, “Black women have always been a force in our communities and are now emerging even more with the power and position they deserve.” He continued, “They are voters and drivers of consumer tastes. Black women are also drivers of culture, including fashion, music and the arts, and now are making an undeniable impact on politics.”
The Goldman Sachs joined roundtables that focused on the barriers Black women face as entrepreneurs, and how targeted investments can work as a bridge to equality. Their compass in navigating through directive comes from Goldman’s relationships with sororities such as Delta Sigma Theta Inc., Alpha Kappa Alpha Inc., Zeta Phi Beta Inc., and Sigma Gamma Rho Inc., and Black women’s organizations, such as the National Council of Negro Women, Black Women’s Roundtable, the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, Power Rising, Walker’s Legacy Foundation, The Links, Inc., and the Sistahs in Business Expo.
Joining the National Urban League CEO in the One Million Black Women council include: Secretary Condoleezza Rice, actress and producer, Issa Rae, Apple Vice President of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiative, Valerie B. Jarrett, and many more.
Other organizations such as The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and The Studio Museum in Harlem will be represented, contributing to the navigation of the directive as it develops over a 10-year span. Gold Sachs is planning to collaborate with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and the Hope Enterprise Corporation.
Morial continued to break down the significance of Black women in the workforce, quoting his statement from the previous mentioned source, “… Black women are emerging in a place of power in American life that is long overdue. So, to focus on an initiative like this, against the backdrop of facing double barriers of race and gender, is timely, critical and necessary.”
Co-founder of Bake Me Happy, Letha Pugh, has felt the benefits of one of Goldman’s small business- focused initiatives; her business grew significantly and she credits the success to working under the guidance of Goldman’s 10,000 Small Business Program. Pugh stated to Essence, “… I believe because I had assistance from Goldman Sachs that I didn’t go into panic mode. I just went into ‘okay, I remember in a specific module, we talked about all the different ways our businesses could be successful.’”
The One Million Black Women directive is derived from social research demonstrating that Black women are a solid investment. Gizelle George-Joseph, global chief operating officer of the Global Investment Research Division for Goldman Sachs, told the previously mentioned source, “If we equalize Black women’s positions, because Black women are one of the most marginalized groups in this country, then it’s an economy that’s working for everybody. What we found from our analysis was that reducing the gaps that Black women experience would actually increase U.S. GDP by at least $300 billion a year …”
The financial institution found through their previous partnerships with entrepreneurs, that the initial business grew, in addition to creating jobs and overall growth within diverse communities. The $10 billion in support of Black women will nourish the idea of racial equity by providing more resources, and driving economic progress for the U.S. as a whole.
Margaret Anadu, global head of sustainability and impact for Asset Management, explained to Essence why there is a focus on the growth of Black women in business, “How we hire women, how we retain women, how we promote women, how we invest in their companies—this is a massive cultural issue with deep roots.” Anadu acknowledge the opportunity that is seen in society and it is a shared responsibility to be inclusive.
According to the official press release, Solomon stated, “Our newly published research, ‘Black Womenomics,’ suggests that no investment could have a bigger impact than unlocking the economic potential of Black women.” Transparency is going to be a vital measurement in tracking the investments and the results will be shared publicly.
Solomon continued, “In the face of significant disparities, they’ve shown admirable resilience, especially as they’re starting businesses faster than anyone else in the U.S., building on our 20-year history of investing in female entrepreneurs and underserved communities–we are now proud to partner with Black female-led organizations and an outstanding advisory council to invest in opportunities to unlock their economic and leadership potential.”