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Race, Identity & Faith

Enterprise Holdings Foundation Gives $120 Million To Boost Racial Equity, Fight Hunger

Enterprise Holdings Foundation pledges $55 million to new initiative to support early childhood education, youth health and wellness and career and college preparation programs across the nation.  The United Negro College Fund is one of the organizations that will receive $5 million to support first-generation African Americans college students.
United Negro College Fund
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Enterprise Holdings Foundation pledges $55 million to a new initiative to support early childhood education, youth health and wellness and career and college preparation programs across the nation. The United Negro College Fund is one of the organizations that will receive $5 million to support first-generation African Americans college students.

After the wave of protests to save Black lives, many major companies decided to make statements supporting racial and social equity.

Enterprise Holdings Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the St. Louis-based rental car company Enterprise Holdings, held conversations with employees to determine how the foundation could help. Black employees suggested it could best address equal opportunity by focusing on prog
rams for families of color. That led the foundation to donate $120 million to national and global organizations to boost opportunities for people of color and to fight hunger.

Over the next five years, the foundation will direct $55 million to its ROAD Forward initiative, which will support early childhood education, youth health and wellness and career and college preparation programs across the nation.

The funding helps ensure that people of color have equal access to resources and services from childhood into adulthood, said Carolyn Kindle Betz, Enterprise Holdings Foundation president and executive director.

“I hope that certainly these youth and these families of color start to make huge strides in life and they have all these successes and then, hopefully these communities start to strengthen,” Kindle Betz said.

Four national nonprofit organizations, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, Parents as Teachers, Girls Inc. and the United Negro College Fund, will each receive $5 million. The foundation will donate $35 million to organizations that Enterprise Holdings employees identify as local groups that also need financial support to continue serving communities of color.

Parents as Teachers plans to refine curriculums to serve diverse audiences and create inclusive programming and materials for minority students and parents. Girls Inc. and My Brother’s Keeper Alliance will provide more mentorship and training opportunities for children of color. The United Negro College Fund will award over 70 scholarships to first-generation African American college students.

“It really all comes down to a strong foundation, and when you have good health and wellness and you're prepared for the next steps and entering into adulthood, I believe that those are some of the biggest indicators that you're going to have a very successful life,” Kindle Betz said.

Communities of color need access to food, jobs, adequate education and healthcare. Many Black and brown people have long inequality without access to all these things, said Chris Tabourne, Enterprise Holdings assistant vice president of diversity and inclusion.

“Regardless of where you come from and where you live and where your background is or your culture, you have an equal opportunity for success, and you can aspire to whatever you want to be in this country,” Tabourne said.

Enterprise Holdings Foundation also is expanding its efforts to help people who lack access to healthy foods with $65 million in donations to Feeding America, the Global FoodBanking Network and Food Banks Canada, as well as other local food organizations.

“The absence or the lack of access to food is certainly an issue,” Kindle Betz said. “We need healthy communities, and they have to have full bellies in order to be a key component of being healthy and successful.”

Follow Andrea on Twitter: @drebjournalist

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