It took months of spreading lies to the general public about election fraud, 147 members of Congress to object to the certification of a valid presidential election, and a deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol for many of America’s largest companies to reevaluate their political giving, but we are glad they did. Some companies announced a pause from all political giving while others plan to withhold only from the objectors. Others announced that they are shutting down their political action committees entirely.
While these companies reevaluate the best way to advocate for public policies and stay active in the political arena, we have a simple suggestion: reinvest at home.
Over the past year, COVID-19 shined a light on the harsh inequities in our community. The pandemic had a disproportionate impact on low-income communities due to health disparities that have always been there but that our society has failed to address. The economic fallout devastated the service industry and hourly jobs, where working from home is not an option. Remote learning widened the education gap for lower income students without internet access. And persistent police violence against the Black community prompted a renewed call for racial justice. President Biden ran on a Build Back Better platform recognizing that the “old normal” is not acceptable.
Now we have to decide whether we are going to talk about equity or do something about it. As companies pause or restrict their political giving, now is the time to look at the organizations on the ground who are making a difference in under-served communities. Go beyond the annual volunteer event. Write a check to amplify their efforts. Make them a priority to show a belief in their impact.
Policy changes are critical to systemic change. But systemic change starts at the grassroots community level. We need to meet critical needs today, empower people with the tools they need to reach their goals, and give impacted communities real hope that tomorrow might look different than yesterday. There are frontline essential workers making a difference all around us. Not just our healthcare workers and grocery store workers, who rightly deserve our gratitude, but also those working at youth centers, homeless shelters, food banks, job training programs, foster care agencies, senior programs, and more.
I implore big companies, and really all of us, to find a local organization making an impact on an issue that matters to you and make your best gift possible. Let these organizations know that the work they are doing is recognized and that they are helping to create a more equitable future. America’s most successful companies can lead the way by partnering with local organizations and creating change.