S.C. Chamber honors companies for diversity, inclusion | Local

COLUMBIA – The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce has presented six South Carolina companies with its Excellence in Workplace Diversity & Inclusion Award.

These businesses — Bank of America, Blue Cross Blue Shield of SC, Boeing, Dominion Energy, UPS and Wells Fargo — have each made investments in programs or initiatives that inspire progress toward diversity, inclusion and economic well-being for all.

The honors were presented at the chamber’s annual summit Nov. 2.

Bank of America has committed $1.25 million toward advancing racial equality and economic opportunity. Its Pathways from Prison program at Claflin University enables incarcerated individuals to receive federal funding to enroll in post-secondary programs offered by local colleges and universities or through distance learning.

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Bank of America has also committed $500,000 to the Minority Business Accelerator, which supports high-potential minority-owned firms by providing targeted training, access to business coaches and access to large corporations. 

Blue Cross Blue Shield of SC is committing funding to the state’s five private four-year historically Black colleges and universities to help with immediate financial needs. Those schools are Allen University and Benedict College, both in Columbia; Claflin in Orangeburg; Morris College in Sumter; and Voorhees College in Denmark.

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Boeing recently donated $1.5 million to Allen University’s Civil Debate Hall. Boeing’s investment in diversity also includes the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), the nation’s largest organization exclusively representing the Black college community.

Dominion Energy supports HBCUs with $35 million in contributions to 11 institutions. The company also provides support for the annual African American History Calendar and Hispanic Heritage Month, as well as sponsoring a student writing contest celebrating notable African Americans in South Carolina.

UPS has taken concrete steps to advance equity, including the creation of the UPS Equity, Justice and Action Task Force, whose leadership has led to advancing efforts including unconscious bias training, encouraging voter engagement and facilitating voter access to the polls, leading advocacy efforts to ensure passage of hate crimes legislation in all 50 states, working to grow Black-owned businesses through strategic investment and partnerships and advancing pay equity. The company recently refocused its efforts to advance diversity and inclusion by launching the rallying cry, “You Belong at UPS.”

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Wells Fargo recently launched the Banking Inclusion Initiative, a 10-year commitment to help unbanked individuals and communities – in particular, helping remove barriers to financial inclusion for Black and African American, Hispanic and Native American/Alaska Native families – which account for more than half of America’s seven million unbanked households. The initiative will also assist those who are underbanked or underserved, individuals who may have a bank account yet continue to use high cost, non-bank services. Overall, the initiative focuses on access to affordable products and digital solutions, financial education and advice and the launch of the National Unbanked Advisory Task Force.

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