Enterprise Holdings Foundation pledges $120 million to racial equity and to fight hunger

Oneal West, a customer service representative for Enterprise Rent-A-Car, waits on customers at the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport on July 10, 2007 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Photo credit (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
By NewsRadio 1120 KMOX

CLAYTON (KMOX) -- The foundation of locally-based Enterprise Holdings is pledging to donate $120 million to organizations which advance racial and social equity and which address food insecurity.

"This summer, like for everybody, it was awful to watch," Enterprise Holdings Foundation President Carolyn Kindle-Betz said of protests after George Floyd's death. "You were angry, and sad, and we knew we had to do something."

There are two components to the five-year initiative.

The first, "Enterprise Holdings ROAD Forward," is a specific commitment to boost African American youth in underserved communities.

"We kept hearing three things as common themes," Kindle-Betz told KMOX Monday. "Early childhood development, youth health and wellness, and, certainly, career and college prep."

The foundation has chosen four programs to support in those areas:

Parents as Teachers will "broaden the reach and effectiveness of its proven early childhood education programs to better connect with the needs of Black, Brown and Native American children."

The Obama Foundation's My Brother's Keeper Alliance "will advance their mission to build safe and supportive communities for boys and young men of color where they are valued and see clear pathways to opportunity."

Girls Inc. will "work to assess and refine the organization's proven Social and Emotional Learning frameworks that address racial injustice and inequities."

Enterprise will fund 70 scholarships through UNCF "for first-generation Black college students to cover critical, but often unmet needs that can create barriers to college completion or successful career transitions."

Over the next five years, Enterprise says workers in each of its more than 70 geographic zones will have an opportunity to identify local organizations in their areas which could benefit from the "ROAD Forward" effort.

Kindle-Betz: "We brought together employees at all different levels, customers, community leaders, and started having some difficult conversations about what was going on but also about we could do to make sure that we were doing everything we could to help our communities."

The second component of the announcement is continued funding of a program founded in 2016 to fight hunger, called "Enterprise Fill Your Tank."

$65 million will go toward organizations like Feeding America. Enterprise said it had already contributed $50 million to food banks in the last four years.

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