HORSHAM, PA. — An initiative to combat racial inequity and injustice and to create positive lasting change has been launched by Bimbo Bakeries USA. In addition to supporting organizations dedicated to serving the needs of Black and other minority communities, BBU has formed a racial equity action council.
In a March 24 announcement, BBU, the North American segment of Mexico City-based Grupo Bimbo SAB de CV, said it will donate $1 million to national and local organizations “dedicated to furthering the education, financial well-being and health of minority communities.” The company has named Nikki Lang as its head of diversity, equity and belonging, a newly created position. Ms. Lang most recently was director of e-commerce at BBU and for three years has served on the BBU diversity, equity and belonging (DE&B) steering committee.
“Last year, the US experienced a reckoning moment with racial equity and injustice,” said Fred Penny, president of Bimbo Bakeries USA. “BBU acknowledged our responsibility to do more within our organization and our communities. We have taken the last nine months to engage and learn from our diverse associates and thoughtfully consider how we could have the broadest impact.”
Mr. Penny said BBU efforts have been focused on strengthening the culture of the organization by improving representation and retention of diverse associates, promoting racial appreciation and confronting explicit and implicit bias.
BBU said half of the $1 million it has committed to donate will be directed to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), the nation’s largest minority education organization. Through a partnership with UNCF, BBU will provide scholarships, establish an internship program and participate in the UNCF Student Leadership Conference.
An additional $500,000 will be donated to nonprofit organizations throughout the country. The new racial equity action council identified education, financial well-being and health as key areas for focus and identified organizations that would benefit from BBU’s investment while also offering a channel for meaningful engagement among BBU associates. The company said The Lebron James Family Foundation, 100 Black Men of the Bay Area and The Fund for the School District of Philadelphia have been selected for partnerships with BBU.
“Our racial equity action council has been instrumental in identifying organizations where BBU and our associates can make a real difference,” Mr. Penny said. “We look forward to identifying additional partners and beginning our work with these organizations.”
The initiative also will involve BBU brands, which will dedicate a percentage of marketing budgets to minority-owned media partners.
In her new role, Ms. Lang will focus full time on BBU’s diversity, equity and belonging strategy, lead the development and implementation of DE&B programs and provide support and guidance to the racial equity action council and business unit DE&B councils. Ms. Lang has been a BBU associate for 14 years.
“I’m excited to lead the diversity, equity and belonging initiatives for BBU,” Ms. Lang said. “Our intentional effort to improve from the inside will help BBU continue to improve equity internally and in our communities.”
Mr. Penny added, “These are important first steps on our renewed diversity, equity and belonging journey, but this is a long-term commitment. We hope these steps will be a catalyst to encourage others to consider how they can contribute to racial justice and equity in their communities.”