With the largest ever investment to focus exclusively on black women, the financial giant aims to narrow opportunity gaps and contribute to the advancement of racial equity 

In 1962, Malcolm X said, “The most neglected person in America is the Black woman.” Now, almost 60 years later that statement unfortunately still rings true for millions of Black women across the country. Despite being the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S., more educated than any other group by percentage of degrees earned, 81 percent of the breadwinners driving their families’ economic security and the community leaders working for justice at the intersection of racism and sexism, Black women have not been commensurately acknowledged, appreciated or rewarded for their contributions. Still today, for example, despite their achievements, Black women make 63 cents for every dollar paid to White, non-Hispanic men.

Over the past few years—and notably in 2020, in the wake of the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd—countless companies and organizations made pronouncements against systemic racism, social injustices and the inequities that feed widening wealth and health disparities in America. Many of those same organizations also made varying levels of monetary pledges and donations to Black communities and organizations across the country. However, one company just announced the most historic investment ever in the most neglected person in America.

In exclusive interviews with ESSENCE, Goldman Sachs shared plans for its One Million Black Women (OMBW) initiative, a $10 billion investment in support of Black women over the next 10 years. The initiative is named for and guided by the organization’s goal of impacting the lives of at least one million Black women by 2030.

Why? Because when Black women win, everybody wins.

For Goldman Sachs’ CEO David Solomon, investing in women-led businesses has been a values-driven focus since 2008, when the financial giant launched its 10,000 Women global program. 

Today, he’s taking that responsibility several steps forward. Solomon explains the foundation of One Million Black Women: “Given all that’s happened over the course of the last year, we’ve done a lot of talking at the firm—and even more listening—to help us figure out how we can do more to end the racial inequity and the gaps that have existed in society for well too long.”

 Solomon stresses: “What we’re trying to do is to set up the infrastructure, the commitment, and the resources to have something that’s sustainable over a long period of time to really make a difference. If after six months from now people are going to say, ‘Okay, where’s the beef,’ the response is going to be, ‘We’re just getting started.’ There’s a tendency with these things for companies to make an announcement and then for it to fade away.

If we had said $500 million, we would have done some good things for a year, but it wouldn’t have the tangible impact that we’re really trying to have… Impact comes with sustained effort over a long period of time. We’re very prepared for that.”

Over the past few years—and notably in 2020, in the wake of the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd—countless companies and organizations made pronouncements against systemic racism, social injustices and the inequities that feed widening wealth and health disparities in America. Many of those same organizations also made varying levels of monetary pledges and donations to Black communities and organizations across the country. However, one company just announced the most historic investment ever in the most neglected person in America.

Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, who also sits on the One Million Black Women Advisory Council, has long understood the power of Black women and advocated for their advancement. “Black women have always been a force in our communities and are now emerging even more with the power and position they deserve,” he says. “They are voters and drivers of consumer tastes. Black women are also drivers of culture, including fashion, music, and the arts, and now are making an undeniable impact on politics.” 

 Other One Million Black Women Advisory Council members include: Melissa L. Bradley, Managing Partner, 1863 Ventures; Rosalind G. Brewer, Chief Executive Officer, Walgreens; Bill Bynum, CEO of Hope Enterprise Corporation and Hope Credit Union; Melanie Campbell, CEO of The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, Convener of The Black Women’s Roundtable; Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator, The Studio Museum in Harlem; Lisa P. Jackson, Vice President, Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, Apple; Valerie B. Jarrett, Senior Distinguished Fellow, The University of Chicago Law School; Lisa Mensah, President & Chief Executive Officer, Opportunity Finance Network; Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice, President and Dean, Morehouse School of Medicine; Marc H. Morial, President and CEO, National Urban League; Dr. Dambisa Moyo, Co-principal of Versaca Investments, Global Economist & Author; Issa Rae, Actress, Writer, and Producer; Secretary Condoleezza Rice, Tad and Dianne Taube Director of the Hoover Institution and the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy; Dr. Ruth J. Simmons, President, Prairie View A&M University and Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation.

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