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TIAA Celebrates Black History Month through Education and Empowerment

Provided to DiversityInc by TIAA. TIAA is No. 9 on the 2020 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list.

In February, people across the country come together to celebrate Black History Month to honor the past, and encourage the present and future generations. At TIAA, Black History Month is a focused opportunity to reflect and honor the collective journey, history and contributions of African Americans.

TIAA’s Inclusion (IN) team and the Empowered Business Resource Group (BRG) for Black associates and allies aim to uplift and deepen the knowledge of African American culture, influence and community for TIAA, Nuveen and TIAA Bank employees through many organized events and activities.

In honor of Black History Month, TIAA’s Empowered BRG hosted events that educated and challenged the issues in the Black community. Education and financial wellness were top topics this month, and various events allowed opportunities for employees to make a difference by helping the youth. TIAA employees volunteered with Junior Achievement of Dallas and EVERFI to speak with more than 600 students in Dallas and Charlotte, as part of the Empowered BRG’s Virtual Week of Service. Volunteers virtually shared their education and career journeys with students, and led conversations about African American history in online classrooms using EVERFI’s 360 African American History Program called “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants.”

Beyond educating the youth, TIAA’s Empowered BRG took advantage of the new virtual work environment and created its first-ever Black History Virtual Museum for all employees companywide to enjoy via the Intranet. The virtual museum exhibits focus on Black history in each of the BRG chapter locations – Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Jacksonville and New York. The museum was designed by TIAA employees and offers photos, videos and details around the history of Blacks in the community and in the military.

Financial education was also a key theme this month. On Feb. 17, TIAA’s Empowered BRG hosted an “Economic Empowerment Conversation” with guest speakers John W. Rogers Jr., an investor, philanthropist and founder of Ariel Investments, and Dorri McWhorter, CEO of the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago, who shared insights on financial wellness and discussed financial parity and the impact of disparity on the Black community. The discussion drew on the TIAA Institute’s thought leadership as well as the experiences and wisdom of Rogers and McWhorter.

The speakers talked about the importance of generational wealth and how it ties into housing, health, criminal justice, education and more. They reiterated the push and call to action to educate current and future generations more on the opportunities and access to real wealth within the Black community. Rogers and McWhorter discussed the high value and need for more companies to work with Black businesses and vendors more, to help students learn about investing to embed financial education in earlier stages of life, to provide more tailored tools and products for women and to advocate more for equal pay.

The Empowered BRG also hosted a very special Black History Month celebration honoring TIAA CEO, Roger Ferguson, and TIAA Chairman of the Board, Ronald Thompson. To commemorate their retirements, the historic event reflected on and celebrated their impacts on the industry and community as phenomenal Black leaders.

The Empowered BRG’s goal is also to support and focus on the professional and leadership development of TIAA Black associates and its allies. The Empowered BRG hosted additional social events in February including a virtual cultural game session and DJ battle for BRG members.

Launched by historian Carter G. Woodson, February’s Black History celebration originally coincided with the birthdays of Abolitionist Movement Leader Frederick Douglass and 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln.

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