Last year, as the United States grappled with uncomfortable discussions about race, justice and equity, Molson Coors Beverage Company launched Project Justice, an effort that supported more than two dozen community organizations across the U.S. and Canada.
The company today announced it was investing another $1.5 million in 33 organizations dedicated to empowerment, equity, community building and justice.
“Last year, we saw an outpouring of support for social justice. For us, that meant both looking within our organization and supporting external partners who were fighting for equity in our communities,” says Gavin Hattersley, president and CEO of Molson Coors. “Our work is only beginning, and we’re proud to recommit our support to more than two dozen action-oriented organizations that are working to tackle societal challenges to ultimately create a more just and inclusive world.”
Molson Coors identified a broad swath of organizations that work with communities across the black/indigenous/people of color (BIPOC) population, from national organizations like the NAACP Legal Defense Fund to groups serving local populations, like Hoodstock in Montreal. It also sought to broaden its donations to organizations serving Asian-American and native populations, such as the Native American Rights Fund, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Chicago and various organizations providing counselling, education, and justice support for Indigenous peoples and communities across Canada.
See the entire list at the end of the article
“We felt it was important to be able to respond to rising inequities across all communities,” says Michael Nordman, Molson Coors’ senior manager of community affairs. “We understand the impact that systemic racism has had on BIPOC communities across North America, and Molson Coors is here to help address that long term.”
Project Justice’s contributions have provided an immediate impact for organizations across North America, including some based in its hometowns:
- Chicago: It partnered with My Block, My Hood, My City to provide small-business relief grants and support its community-building neighborhood program, One Block at a Time;
- Denver: Project Justice supported the launch of Black Resilience in Colorado (BRIC) to address systemic racism and inequities that negatively impact Black communities throughout the seven-county Metro Denver area and beyond;
- Milwaukee: Molson Coors partnered with the Sherman Phoenix Foundation, which leverages strategies, which focuses on economic equity and empowerment, entrepreneurship and small business success, and emotional wellness for leaders of color;
- Toronto: It provided funding to the Ontario-based Black Legal Action Centre, which will allow the organization to add critical services towards educating, advocating, and litigating to combat individual and systemic anti-Black racism in Ontario;
- Shenandoah, Va.: Molson Coors provided the seed funding for the Black & Brown Business Growth program, supporting the growth and longevity of Black- and Brown-owned businesses.
- Southwest Ohio: Project Justice supported the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio to launch the new Center on Social Justice.
“Molson Coors’ support as a founding supporter of the BRIC Fund has been critical to help us meet the needs of Black-led nonprofits and the communities they serve,” says LaDawn Sullivan, executive director of the BRIC Fund. “Their continuing support allows us to greatly expand our efforts and community impact in addressing the issues of systemic oppression and racial inequality.”
The company opted to take a “wider-lens approach” in identifying organizations that work with minority groups as hate crimes against Asian-Americans are on the rise and the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect Black and Latino communities disproportionately, Nordman says.
The company also wanted to make sure its employees felt they could participate, by volunteering or donating to Project Justice supported organizations.
“When we can bring our people power to work, that can help make an even bigger impact for a lot of these organizations,” Nordman says.
As part of Project Justice, Molson Coors’ U.S. craft arm, Tenth & Blake, expanded its efforts to diversify craft brewing with its Tenth & Blake Brewing Education Fund, which awards scholarships to college students pursuing careers in fermentation and brewing sciences. The scholarship lasts four years, and winners also earn an internship at the Molson Coors craft brewery near their school.
It announced partnerships between two of its craft breweries and area universities: Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co. and the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and Revolver Brewing and Texas A&M University.
As Molson Coors seeks to grow diversity in the industry, it also is aiming to meet internal representation goals, increasing the number of people of color in its workforce by 25%; improve representation of women across the company and spend $1 billion with diverse suppliers across North America.
“The next generation of craft brewers will be much more diverse, and we want to help these students as they enter the industry,” Nordman says. “We’ve set goals internally about representation, and through this program we hope we’ll not only support this emerging talent, but also attract them to Molson Coors.”
Full list of recipients:
African American Chamber of Wisconsin
Albany Civil Rights Institute
America’s Black Holocaust Museum
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Chicago
Black and Brown Owned Business Resiliency Grant Program
Black Legal Action Centre
Black Resilience Fund of Colorado
Brave Space Alliance
Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition
Community Frontlines Fort Worth
Equal Justice Initiative
HBCU Classics Scholarships
Milwaukee Urban League
My Block, My Hood, My City
NAACP Legal Defense Fund
National Urban League
Native American Rights Fund
Near West Side Partners
Sherman Phoenix Foundation
Southside Community Gardens Fort Worth
Tenth & Blake Brewing Education Scholarships
The Lonely Entrepreneur’s Black Entrepreneur Initiative
Tulsa Massacre Centennial Commission
Urban League of Southwest Ohio
Various organizations supporting Indigenous Canada
Wisconsin Equal Justice FundYWCA of Metro Chicago
YWCA Southeast Wisconsin