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Best Buy commits $44 million to diversity and inclusion efforts — move to keep promise to 'do better'

Brian Sozzi
·Editor-at-Large
·3 min read
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After months of planning, Best Buy (BBY) is putting its money where its mouth is to improve diversity throughout the retail giant’s organization.

The company on Wednesday announced it would set aside $44 million to expand college prep and career opportunities for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC). Specifics include investing more in Best Buy’s teen tech centers, creating a scholarship fund for teens in the retailer’s Twin Cities hometown, and offering 340 jobs across the company to teens.

Best Buy’s actions come in the wake of a June letter from CEO Corie Barry titled: We Will Do Better, where she conceded the company needs to do more to foster diversity throughout the business.

“We know it’s incredibly important to our employees, customers and communities to show that we are committed to doing all we can to further economic and social justice. In many ways, we have engaged in these issues for years — but now we’re being bold about our commitments to hold ourselves accountable for this work we’ve promised to do,” Barry said in a new statement Wednesday.

But somewhat lost in the monetary commitment from Best Buy are several other actions that could reshape the retailer over time.

The company pledged to fill one of three new non-hourly corporate positions with BIPOC employees. One out of three new non-hourly field roles will be filled by women, an effort to address a long-running problem of white men dominating the tech retail landscape.

Customers wear face masks while waiting in line to shop inside a Best Buy Co. retail store on Black Friday in Hawthorne, California, November 27, 2020. (Photo by Patrick T. Fallon / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)
Customers wear face masks while waiting in line to shop inside a Best Buy Co. retail store on Black Friday in Hawthorne, California, November 27, 2020. (Photo by Patrick T. Fallon / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Best Buy is aiming to create parity in retention rates, and “transform” its senior leadership ranks to be more in line with its board of directors. Best Buy has often received high marks for its board diversity. Of the nine members on Best Buy’s board, five are women. Best Buy’s board has two people that would identify as BIPOC.

“We decided we wanted to make it happen,” Barry said at Yahoo Finance’s All Markets Summit on how it has been able to diversify its board. “There are plenty of qualified candidates out there.”

Barry added, “Right now, actually, just a little bit over 50% of our board is female, and just over a quarter are people of color. And I think that makes the conversations that many of us have been having around issues of inclusion and diversity, issues of social justice, it creates an amazing platform to have those conversations, not just as a leadership team, but actually with your board.”

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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