St. Louis-based financial-services firm Edward Jones today announced a $1.2 million investment in the National Urban League and St. Louis Urban League to provide economic empowerment, educational opportunities and the guarantee of civil rights for people of color and underserved urban residents in America. As part of a five-point commitment to address racism and positively impact opportunities for people of color, Edward Jones will conduct an analysis of pay in its home offices to assess how associates are compensated and take any necessary actions.
“We recognize that our approach – to listen, learn, take responsibility and act in accordance with our values – requires commitment,” says Edward Jones Managing Partner Penny Pennington. “Beyond statements and platitudes is the real work, the real action of our 49,000 associates in support of real progress. Much more work needs to be done. And it starts with us.”
Edward Jones’ purpose is to make a meaningful impact in the lives of its clients, colleagues and communities. To positively impact opportunities for people of color in the communities it serves the firm is committing to the following actions, including:
Giving everyone a voice. The firm will continue to engage in honest dialogue as a tool to create change, through its Courageous Conversations program, which began in 2017. In the past two weeks alone, nearly 6,000 Edward Jones colleagues have participated in these conversations, which give associates an opportunity to share their lived experience, be heard and understood – increasing empathy and understanding for all. In 2020, the firm is committing to extend these conversations into the communities it serves, while also promising a day of reflection for its associates in 2020 to focus on self-development, learning and listening.
Continuing our focus on equitable hiring, training, promotional practices and policies. Today, 8 percent of the firm’s financial advisors are people of color and 21 percent are women. Within its home office senior leadership roles, 9 percent are people of color and 30 percent are women. Through tailored programs, mentorship and support that meets associates where they start, Edward Jones will continue helping people of color and women succeed. The firm pledges to continue to work toward a meaningful increase in diversity among its financial advisors and senior leadership and will share its progress in a new Inclusion and Diversity annual report.
“Edward Jones is committed to creating a strong sense of belonging for all, and in fostering an atmosphere in which everyone can feel comfortable bringing their full selves to work,” Pennington said. “We insist on diversity in our professionals and inclusion in our policies and behaviors and hold ourselves accountable to our clients, colleagues and communities in achieving meaningful progress.”
Conducting an analysis of pay. Committed to equal pay for equal work, Edward Jones will conduct an analysis in its home offices to assess how associates are compensated and will share results and take any necessary actions.
Continuing racial-equity training and anti-racism personnel policies. Edward Jones commits to expanding unconscious bias training, which it launched four years ago. In addition, the firm will transition from an Inclusion and Diversity Week, celebrated for the last 10 years, to Inclusion and Diversity 365, a year-round program focused on learning opportunities and experiences to foster cultural awareness and empathy. Edward Jones will continue to strengthen the important community-building work of its 17 Business Resource Groups (BRGs), including Black/African American, Asian American, Hispanic, Women, adaptABILITIES and LGBTQ+ and Allies, among other BRGs. The firm does not tolerate racism or discrimination and will continue to take immediate corrective action for any violation of its policies.
Supporting organizations and programs important to its clients, colleagues and communities. Edward Jones is committing $1 million to the National Urban League’s Fights for You campaign. The firm will expand its ongoing support of the National Urban League, and the work of its 90 affiliates, that provides economic empowerment, educational opportunities and the guarantee of civil rights for people of color and the underserved urban residents in America.
“On behalf of underrepresented voices and underserved urban areas across the country, we stand with community builders such as Edward Jones in continuing the important work of defending civil liberties and advancing human rights for all Americans,” says Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League, the nation’s largest historic civil rights and urban advocacy organization. “Together, we can rise to the moment of our time by progressing public policy and programs that will lead to real progress.”
Edward Jones will expand its support to the St. Louis Urban League contributing $200,000 to economic empowerment programs including Save our Sons, established after the unrest in Ferguson in 2014.
“We’ve had a relationship with Edward Jones going back four decades,” said Michael P. McMillan, President and CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis. “Together, we’ve worked to address the many challenges of our region. Through programs such as Save our Sons, we’ve helped economically disadvantaged black men living in St. Louis find jobs and have the opportunity to earn livable wages.”
“We stand for inclusion and must embrace, support, advocate and speak up for all who – by simple virtue of their humanity – bear untold burden,” Pennington said. “We don’t have to bear those hurts alone, or in silence. We must listen, learn, take responsibility and act in accordance with our values, recognizing that there is much more work that needs to be done to end bias in our workplaces and racism and discrimination in our world.”
The firm’s complete five-point commitment is available at: https://www.edwardjones.com/about/inclusion-diversity-equity-commitments.html