An open letter on Black lives and our commitment to DEI

To our Community,

 

We’d be remiss not to acknowledge the pain VFA and our communities are feeling in this time of tremendous loss and unrest. We’ve lost too many lives – like those of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery – to disproportionate police brutality and racialized violence. This is coupled with Black and Latinx communities overwhelmingly shouldering the burdens of COVID-19 – economic, health and otherwise. This grief often feels insurmountable and it can be hard to know what to do in the search of justice.

We do know several things: Black lives matter and VFA is committed to supporting Black communities; we are continuing the work of ensuring VFA is antiracist and aiding in dismantling racism and inequities; and that we will be an onramp to entrepreneurship for historically underrepresented and excluded communities.

However, more work needs to be done. We’re wrapping up an insightful four-month audit with Yardstick Management – a consulting firm that specializes in diversity, equity, and inclusion work – so our actions and words go hand-in-hand. Some of the long-term commitments we plan to take include increasing the diversity of our staff and senior leadership, taking a thorough look at our suppliers to make sure we’re partnering with Black-owned businesses, increasing the number of Black-led company partners who hire Fellows, and further defining what DEI means to Venture For America.

By committing to a diverse Fellowship community, we hope to make our Company Partners stronger, foster a more representative body of entrepreneurs, and help the cities we call home grow. You can trust that this work will continue and not just in moments of public attention. We all should demand more in our fight for equality and look forward to you and each member of the VFA community holding us accountable.

 

In Solidarity,

 

Venture For America

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