One year after the launch of ATL Action for Racial Equity (AARE), the Metro Atlanta Chamber (MAC) announced results of the inaugural diversity, equity and inclusion assessment created in partnership with Kanarys, Inc on February 16th. MAC designed the multi-year AARE plan as a catalyst to address the ongoing effects of systemic racism impacting the Black community. More than 250 businesses committed to sharing best practices, taking action and completing a series of survey assessments in pursuit of progress on their racial equity journey.
“In 2021, we began our journey with ATL Action for Racial Equity with the commitment to working with our business partners on creating accountability, tangible action plans and measuring impact with concrete metrics,” said Metro Atlanta Chamber President and CEO Katie Kirkpatrick. “A year later, we celebrate the participation of more than 250 metro Atlanta companies, including representation from a deep mix of private for profit, nonprofit, public for profit and government organizations, and the success of four comprehensive playbooks covering critical action areas. Of course, there is still work to be done as we push towards the systemwide equity required to improve quality of life for all and continued growth of our economy.”
The 2021 Assessment revealed that the metro Atlanta business community is positioned to lead the nation in the journey for racial equity. Survey responses indicate that 70% of participating metro Atlanta companies have a designated DEI leader with 55% assessing pay equity across race and 68% implementing DEI training within Atlanta-based operations. In addition, a majority of survey respondents (74%) have a DEI strategy in place with support from senior organizational leadership. Additional key takeaways from the assessment include:
- Corporate Policies: 82% track employee demographics, specifically representation of the Black workforce
- Inclusive Economic Development: 80% of participating Fortune 1000 companies headquartered in Atlanta have established a formal supplier diversity program
- Education: 59% have partnered with Title I or majority-Black K–12 schools seeking a STEM/STEAM certification in various ways
- Workforce Development: 85% offer benefits to full-time employees such as – paid sick leave, healthcare, paid parental leave, tuition reimbursement and retirement benefits
“MAC’s commitment to progress is the foundation of the ATL Action for Racial Equity initiative and the driver of this inaugural assessment. While there is no one-size-fits-all diversity, equity and inclusion strategy for every organization, there are many best practices that can be implemented into a comprehensive DEI strategy,” said MAC Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Michael J. Baptiste. “A critical component to the work of AARE lies in measuring key performance indicators provided by our participating companies. With this data, we can continue to refine our approach and ensure we are addressing the developing needs of our businesses.”
Additionally, the 2021 Assessment results report that a majority of survey respondents consider themselves progressing in the racial equity journey. Of the responses, 46% have programs that go beyond foundational elements, demonstrating a more aggressive approach linked to business needs, community needs, corporate social responsibility or ESG commitments.
“I’m proud of the work MAC is doing through the ATL Action for Racial Equity initiative to encourage businesses to address systemic racism. The commitment and engagement of the Atlanta business community is essential to building an inclusive economy that helps to close opportunity gaps wherever they exist,” said Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President and CEO and MAC 2022 Board Chair Raphael Bostic. “MAC’s working with the business community to prioritize racial equity aligns with one of the Atlanta Fed’s highest priorities—to make this economy work for everyone.”
“MAC has a long history of inspiring metro Atlanta’s business community to have an impact beyond just an economic contribution, and the AARE initiative offers business leaders an incredible opportunity to address the comprehensive health of our region,” said Delta Air Lines CEO and MAC 2021 Board Chair Ed Bastian. “Delta is committed to continued support and will contribute in every way we can to advance the business and moral imperative of racial equity.” The inaugural assessment received a total of 83 responses, including representation from 80% of Georgia’s Fortune 1000 brands. Of the survey respondents, 50% were from organizations with more than 1,000 employees and ranged in industries with business products and services type companies representing 43% of respondents. The survey assessment was created and analyzed by Kanarys, a Black-founded technology company focused on providing the tools organizations need to create long-term systemic change around diversity, equity and inclusion challenges, with contributions from the University of Texas at Austin’s Division of Diversity and Community Engagement.
“For any DEI initiative, the first step is conducting a baseline assessment to identify areas of opportunity and set a benchmark for progress. Without this data and measurement, real change cannot be achieved,” said Kanarys Founder and CEO Mandy Price. “We’re proud to work with MAC to lay the groundwork for their ATL Action for Racial Equity initiative and uncover how the metro Atlanta business community can collectively accelerate and advance racial equity. Our hope is that this work will pinpoint how to dismantle systemic racism throughout the region and also serve as a model for how cities across the country can do the same.”
To view the full 2021 Assessment, visit https://www.atlracialequity.com/reporting
To access the four playbooks, visit https://www.atlracialequity.com/#playbook