Horsham, Pennsylvania-based Bimbo Bakeries USA has started a new initiative to combat racial inequity and injustice and create lasting change. As part of that effort, BBU, a member of the Grupo Bimbo family of companies, has committed $1 million to national and local organizations dedicated to furthering the education, financial well-being and health of Black and minority Americans.
In addition, the company formed a Racial Equity Action Council and appointed Nikki Lang as its first head of diversity, equity and belonging.
“Last year, the U.S. experienced a reckoning moment with racial equity and injustice,” said Fred Penny, president of Bimbo Bakeries USA. “BBU acknowledged our responsibility to do more within our organization and our communities. We have taken the last nine months to engage and learn from our diverse associates and thoughtfully consider how we could have the broadest impact.”
Penny said the company’s efforts have been focused on strengthening the culture of the organization by improving representation and retention of diverse associates, promoting racial appreciation and confronting explicit and implicit bias.
BBU’s $1 million commitment includes $500,000 dedicated to UNCF (United Negro College Fund). UNCF is America’s largest and most effective minority education organization, empowering more than 500,000 students to earn college degrees since it was founded. Through the partnership, BBU will provide scholarships, create an internship program and participate in the UNCF Student Leadership Conference.
“This generous gift will impact many talented and deserving students seeking to get to and through college,” said UNCF President and CEO Dr. Michael L. Lomax. “We thank BBU for the investment and look forward to growing our partnership to support our students and historically Black colleges and universities. Support like this is critical, especially during the on-going health pandemic we are all facing.”
BBU is also committing $500,000 to nonprofit organizations throughout the country. BBU’s Racial Equity Action Council identified education, financial well-being and health as three key areas of focus and identified organizations that would benefit from BBU’s investment while also providing an opportunity for meaningful associate engagement to make a real difference. Some of the organizations BBU will partner with are:
- The Lebron James Family Foundation;
- 100 Black Men of the Bay Area; and
- The Fund for the School District of Philadelphia.
“It is important to us that our partnerships extend beyond a financial donation. Our Racial Equity Action Council has been instrumental in identifying organizations where BBU and our associates can make a real difference. We look forward to identifying additional partners and beginning our work with these organizations,” said Penny.
BBU’s financial commitment also extends to its brands. BBU is allocating a percentage of each of its brands’ marketing budgets toward minority-owned media partners.
The company’s Racial Equity Action Council, made up of Black and ally associates from across the country, is assisting BBU as it examines and evaluates its internal practices. The council immediately got to work by:
- Enhancing the company’s recruiting, hiring and talent development processes, including creating a dedicated position to work on these efforts;
- Establishing and activating a Black Business Inclusion Group, Black Associates and Allies Standing Together (BAAST); and
- Reviewing supplier relationships to identify opportunities to partner with Black-, minority- and female-owned organizations.
The company also announced that Lang, a 14-year associate, has been named the company’s first head of diversity, equity and belonging.
“Over the last nine months, it became clear that creating sustained and meaningful change in this area requires dedicated leadership and resources,” Penny said. “Nikki was the ideal person for this role, and I look forward to the progress her leadership will bring.”
Lang previously served as BBU’s director of e-commerce and has served on BBU’s Diversity, Equity & Belonging Steering Committee for the past three years. In her new role, she will focus full-time on BBU’s overall diversity, equity and belonging (DE&B) strategy, lead the development and implementation of DE&B programs and provide support and guidance to the Racial Equity Action Council and Business Unit DE&B Councils.
Lang will also partner and collaborate with leaders across BBU to ensure that the principles of diversity, equity and belonging are embedded in all of the company’s decision-making.
“I’m excited to lead the diversity, equity and belonging initiatives for BBU,” said Lang. “Our intentional effort to improve from the inside will help BBU continue to improve equity internally and in our communities.”
“These are important first steps on our renewed diversity, equity and belonging journey, but this is a long-term commitment. We hope these steps will be a catalyst to encourage others to consider how they can contribute to racial justice and equity in their communities,” said Penny.