Over 140 tech professionals have signed on to a new online registry, launched on Wednesday, that tracks racial justice initiatives. The 100kPledge enables both individuals and organizations to commit and track progress toward improving economic opportunities for Black communities by 2030.
The 100kPledge is essentially a social contract; members are responsible for their own commitments. The website enables outsiders to view and keep track of said commitments, however, in an effort to provide the public with unfettered transparency.
The idea for the platform was initially conceived by Vijay Chattha, founder and CEO of VSC; Paras Shah, strategy director at Different Strokes Creative; and Nihal Mehta, founding partner at Eniac Ventures. The three of them spoke with several clients, investors, founders and other tech professionals in the Bay Area and beyond to get the ball rolling on the initiative.
“I felt like ... and I knew many people like me ... who just didn’t feel like we could afford to wait for other people to solve the problem,” Chattha said in an interview with Built In.
Transparency and accountability are two key aspects of the platform that Chattha considers the most important.
“You hear about all these pledges but then you don’t really know what happens. Does the money ever get donated? ... And so we were like, wait, there’s something else here that we need to solve, which is there needs to be a ledger of everybody’s commitments,” Chattha said.
Pledges on the website can take several forms and fit into three different categories: hiring, investing and donating.
For example, members can make a simple commitment to diversify their staff. Participants can also commit to investing into more Black-owned businesses, or to make more donations to scholarships and non-profit organizations. Mentorship is also available as a commitment option.
Professionals working at Google, Postmates, Shopify and Grindr have already signed on to take part in the 100kPledge. The list of founding members also includes former presidential candidate Andrew Yang. At launch, the platform has already recorded over $45 billion in public pledges.
“$100,000 commitments are the baseline for what we believe is achievable for many professionals over the course of 10 years, but we encourage larger commitments into the hundreds of millions for corporations and those who are able,” Chattha continued.
Building an Equitable Future
For Incredible Health CEO Iman Abuzeid, making a commitment on the platform was a no-brainer. The economic justice angle particularly stood out to Abuzeid, who noted that the wealth gap between Black Americans and white Americans remains the same as it was in 1968.
Working in the realm of healthcare, Abuzeid is all too familiar with the way racism plagues the industry.
“Racism in the healthcare industry is a really important topic, because it actually affects patient outcomes,” Abuzeid said in an interview with Built In. “There’s a whole range of research studies that show that, even when you control for income and location, co-morbidities, and so on, African American communities get worse care than their white counterparts.”
Abuzeid has already instituted numerous policies at Incredible Health related to racial justice and is excited to share them via the 100kPledge. In terms of financial commitments, the company personally matches donations to both the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the Innocence Project. The company has also made a donation to the National Black Nurses Association.
Just like Abuzeid, Collective CEO Hooman Radfar has been interested in the platform since its inception.
“It’s not just another sign your name here and say that this is bad, or this is good. There’s actually an outcome, and that outcome is achievable,” Radfar told Built In.
Radfar wants to ensure that his company doesn’t have to make up for years of diversity debt down the line. Collective, a back-office platform for businesses of one, launched last month and Radfar has already taken steps to incorporate diversity initiatives into its very foundation.
Although his commitment to the 100kPledge is a personal one, Radfar is excited to extend that same commitment to diversifying Collective.
“We’re at this formative stage of the company, so we have to be realistic about what we want to do, but we can also be ambitious in terms of our vision,” Radfar said. “Because we’re so early in the process, we can make these tweaks to how we look at everything, and it can have a very lasting impact.”
Collective has recently established a DNI group that will examine all aspects of the company and examine where improvements can be made as it continues to grow.
“Everything is open, from how we hire to how we communicate. I mean, to be candid with you, 100k is not going to be sufficient for me, personally,” Radfar said.
A Movement, Not a Moment
Moving forward, Chattha is excited about the platform and the potential it holds for ongoing social change.
“We created [this] to ensure social justice moments can evolve into accountable actions, regardless of the election results,” Chattha said in a statement.
As the platform continues to grow, Chattha plans to add more customizable features like an alert that would remind members of their pledges or update them on their progress.
Chattha also mentioned that his team and others will begin scanning press releases for other public pledges made on behalf of companies over the summer in response to Black Lives Matter protests.
“They’re not escaping us,” Chattha said with a smile.
To sign up, visit the100kpledge.com, select “Make Your Pledge” and input your name, company and 10-year commitment.