Companies shift ESG priorities toward racial justice

New data shows where and how companies plan to invest and allocate charitable dollars.

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COVID-19 has brought plenty of business activities to a grinding halt. Corporate philanthropy’s not one of them.

A new survey from The Conference Board ESG Center reveals that despite the ongoing pandemic, 94% of large U.S. corporations plan to maintain or increase charitable giving this year. Where are those dollars going, exactly? The data shows heavy investments in efforts to address COVID-19 and bolster racial equity.

The data highlights internal challenges to reaching these lofty charitable goals, however. Fifty-three percent of the “corporate citizenship executives” surveyed (representing 55 major public and private companies with median annual revenues of more than $24 billion) said their departments’ lack of budget, time and staff are the biggest obstacles thwarting meaningful progress.

Paul Washington, executive director of The Conference Board ESG Center, suggests how to overcome lack of resources: “Successfully advancing their agendas, however, does not necessarily mean simply adding more staff to corporate citizenship departments, but also harnessing broader resources across the organization, focusing on increased efficiency, and developing partnerships with other companies to maximize impact.”

More insights from the survey include:

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