Over 40 U.S. companies have launched The Board Challenge–an initiative to spur all U.S.-based companies to appoint at least one Black director to their boards within a year. The Board Challenge was founded by Altimeter Capital, Valence, and theBoardlist and currently boasts 27 member companies that already have at least one Black board member. Another 17 companies that are members have committed to appointing a Black director within twelve months.
The launch of the nationwide Board Challenge comes just weeks after individual states are looking at ways to increase diversity among corporate boards. In August, California lawmakers sent a bill to the governor that would require public companies to have at least one board member from an underrepresented community by the end of 2021.
We can't let this moment pass us by without taking action. We've launched a pledge for U.S. boards of directors to add a Black director within a year.
— The Board Challenge (@boardchallenge_) September 9, 2020
The Board Challenge is asking all companies to make that commitment regardless of the absence of legislation. And according to the data, doing so isn’t just a good social decision–it’s good for business, too. According to a McKinsey & Company report, companies with diverse boards are 43% more likely to achieve financial performance above the median average.
The companies who have committed to adding at least one Black board member in the next twelve months include Accolade, Altimeter Growth Corp, Amperity, Bolster, Gusto, Heritage-Crystal Clean, Inc., Heritage Environmental Services, HopSkipDrive, Kin, M.M.LaFleur, Nextdoor, PagerDuty, RealSelf, Ripple, Senreve, Vinyl Me, Please, and Zillow. However, The Board Challenge is asking all American companies to commit to such goals. Those companies can do so by visiting theboardchallenge.org.
Announcing The Board Challenge, its co-founder and the CEO of Altimeter Capital, Brad Gerstner, said, “America has been reminded again in tragic fashion that we must redouble our efforts to build a more inclusive society. Business leaders can’t let this moment pass us by without playing our part and taking this tangible step to build a more diverse boardroom. As a next step, we are encouraging companies to take the pledge and add a Black director in the next 12 months. The Board Challenge is a movement to accelerate these changes and help companies tap into the energy and talents of all underrepresented groups.”