Black Netflix Exec Spearheads Company’s $100 Million Commitment to Black Banks
In October 2019, Netflix began holding routine meetings to increase diversity among its leadership. However, it would not be until April of this year that the company would arguably make its biggest stride towards social change. The discussions from April’s gathering sparked the curiosity of Netflix Director of Talent Acquisition, Aaron Mitchell. He began researching economic solutions and reading Mehrsa Baradaran’s “The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap”, which highlights the need for Black financial institutions to receive better funding to help the communities they serve. From this an idea formed.
Mitchell, who received an MBA from Harvard Business School, proposed that Netflix begin allocating funds to Black-owned banks. After George Floyd’s murder, Mitchell sent his proposal to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings who fully supported the initiative. You may recall Hastings recently donated over $100 million to HBCU’s.
Following the public outrage surrounding Floyd’s death, while some companies were trying to craft the perfect press release or announce one-time donations, Mitchell worked close with Netflix’s treasury department. This resulted in Netflix being the largest company to pledge funds to Black financial institutions.
Netflix has committed 2 percent of its cash to Black lenders, which equates to approximately $100 million. It has already begun shifting its finances by banking with Hope Credit Union (Black owned) and putting $35 million into a new Black Economic Development Initiative, that will invest in black financial institutions.
Hope Credit Union CEO, Bill Bynum said,
“We are capital-starved, just like the people in the communities we serve…Having a global voice like Netflix say it’s important to invest in financial institutions like Hope is tremendously important, not just for the capital we will use to make mortgage loans and small business loans, but for what it says.”
This came prior to Black billionaire Robert F. Smith’s call for large companies like Google, Apple and Facebook to give 2 percent of their annual profits to black-owned businesses. Netflix hopes that other companies will follow their lead. Instead of a one-time quick fix, Netflix has committed to being a constant financial ally towards bridging the racial economic gap.
As for Mitchell, he says
“We still have lots of work to do, but we are making meaningful progress.”
(Photo credit: LinkedIn)
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