When it comes to racial equity, 2020 was a catalyst for change. The events of that year challenged us, and organizations across America, to do more to address the root causes of racial disparities and advocate for greater equity, diversity and inclusion.
But where to begin? Our approach is to first listen, then act. Listening to community and nonprofit leaders, we consistently heard that reducing health disparities and providing educational and workforce-related opportunities to underserved Black and historically marginalized communities were areas where the AbbVie Foundation could continue to stand up and support organizations driving for a more just and equitable world.
Taking what we learned from those conversations, in June 2020 we contributed $5 million in unrestricted support to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. and the Equal Justice Initiative. And in December 2020, we launched a $50 million, five-year program to advance health and education equity in underserved Black and historically marginalized communities across the U.S.
“We’ve heard the call and took action – first to listen closely, then partner with nonprofits who are experts at driving change,” said Tracie Haas, president of the AbbVie Foundation and vice president of corporate responsibility, brand and communications, AbbVie. “We are proud of the dedication and progress so far and excited to see our partners expand and create important programs to address the long-term, systemic impact of racism.”
One year since we made this important philanthropic commitment, our nonprofit partners have set the foundation for their programs and are accelerating progress. Here are a few highlights of our partners’ early achievements:
Our $10 million contribution to Direct Relief seeded its Fund for Health Equity, an initiative centered on improving care and addressing health inequities in underserved Black and marginalized communities, especially those hardest hit by the pandemic. In August, the Fund awarded its first 10 grants to community health centers addressing health disparities across America. The Fund has since raised an additional $65 million to address circumstances exacerbating health disparities.
“It took us a long time to create the issues we now have around health equity, and it's going to take a long time to fix them. That’s why having long term commitments, like the one AbbVie’s made, matter,” said Dr. Byron Scott, M.D., MBA, co-chair of the Fund for Health Equity and board director of Direct Relief and chair of its Medical Advisory Council.