- American Express is investing $1 billion to advance racial and gender equality, the company said Thursday.
- Much of the amount will come in an effort to double — to $750 million annually by 2024 — the credit-card network's spending on diverse and minority-owned suppliers in the U.S. As part of that, AmEx said it intends to boost its spending with Black-owned suppliers to $100 million per year.
- The credit-card network also said Thursday it has achieved 100% gender pay equity worldwide, in addition to maintaining equal pay across races and ethnicities in the U.S.
With its pledge, American Express joins Bank of America and PNC among financial institutions that have pledged $1 billion or more toward racial equality and social justice in the months since the May killing of George Floyd and subsequent protests.
A number of banks and payment companies — PayPal, U.S. Bank, the Royal Bank of Canada and even streaming service Netflix — have promised $100 million or more each. And JPMorgan Chase this month said it would contribute $30 billion toward closing the racial wealth gap through a combination of loans, investments and philanthropy made to Black and Latinx communities.
American Express said Thursday it aims to provide at least 250,000 Black-owned small and medium-sized U.S. businesses with access to capital and financial education through the Accion Opportunity Fund. The card network is also partnering with IFundWomen of Color to provide $25,000 grants, as well as access to 100 days of business resources, to 100 Black female entrepreneurs.
The company said it plans to give $50 million in grants by the end of 2024 in support of nonprofit organizations led by people of color or underrepresented groups.
The network also is looking to boost non-White representation among U.S. participants in its leadership academy from 50% in 2019 to 75% by 2024. The academy provides training and networking opportunities to help emerging nonprofit and social purpose leaders.
Among its existing workforce, American Express said, Black and Latinx people comprise 12.5% and 12.9%, respectively, of the company's U.S. workforce, and more than half of its employees worldwide are women.