Every day, many Americans are denied the opportunity to compete for quality jobs that can provide stability and security for their families—all because of a prior history of convictions or arrests. This form of employment discrimination has a disproportionate impact on men of color, who are more likely to be incarcerated as a result of rampant over-criminalization. Addressing this problem requires the involvement of a wide spectrum of stakeholders. All employers can play a role, including those in the philanthropic sector.
In August 2015, foundation leaders affiliated with the Executives’ Alliance for Boys & Men of Color submitted a letter to President Obama urging him to issue an executive order to “Ban the Box” in federal government hiring and in federal contractor hiring, which would open countless employment opportunities in the private sector. In November 2015 President Obama took action to move toward banning the box in the federal government’s hiring process—an important step that set the stage for more work to come.
The Executives’ Alliance is now expanding this effort by issuing a challenge to all U.S. philanthropic institutions to take action by adopting fair chance hiring policies and ensuring that questions about criminal convictions do not appear on applications for employment with their foundations.
Read about the foundations’ announcement here.
For more Background, see the Ban the Box Philanthropy Challenge fact sheet.
Foundations interested in joining the call to action are encouraged to sign up here.
From Philanthropic Support to Action
While many foundations routinely provide funding to not-for-profit organizations engaged in important policy initiatives, it is less common for foundation Presidents and CEOs to use their leadership voice in support of those same initiatives. Through the
Ban the Box Philanthropy Challenge, the Executives’ Alliance offers them an important opportunity to be vocal leaders, publicly aligning their foundations’ business practices with their core values and the missions of their grantee partners.
As part of the Challenge, Executives’ Alliance members and their allies have worked ensure that their own hiring policies and practices comply with the civil rights and consumer laws regulating criminal background checks for employment. They have also challenged their colleagues in other foundations to do the same. Over 40 foundations have already joined the call to action. Click here for a list of participating foundations.
In addition, the Executives’ Alliance has commissioned the National Employment Law Project to develop a Model Fair Chance Hiring /”Ban the Box” Policy and Toolkit to provide technical assistance to its members and other foundations seeking to update their hiring practices. Designed specifically for employers in the philanthropic sector, the model policy will include components featured in the strongest fair change hiring laws in the country.
By adopting fair hiring policies, foundations are playing their part as employers to ensure that they are removing the stigma associated with a record, and setting an example for other foundations and their grantees to follow. By encouraging other foundations to consider these simple implementations and fund job creation initiatives to assist people with records, enormous progress can be made to advance economic opportunity for formerly incarcerated individuals and also reduce recidivism.
How to Join the Call to Action
For Grantmaking Institutions: Representatives of foundations seeking to join the call to action can sign up here.
For other Organizations: Other organizations that are not grantmaking institutions can show their support by clicking here.
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