[NEW YORK] PayPal Holdings said on Thursday it was pledging US$530 million to support black and minority-owned businesses in the United States and foster diversity, amid worldwide protests over racial injustice.
The bulk of the money - US$500 million - will be devoted to the creation of a economic opportunity fund that will invest in black and under-represented minority businesses and communities, the US electronic payments firm said, according to an internal memo and company statement.
The funding will be invested through community banks and credit unions serving minority communities or through direct investments, the company said.
"Let me be clear: I stand with our Black teammates and with the Black community, as does the entire PayPal community," chief executive officer (CEO) Dan Schulman said in the internal memo. "We stand with you and we support you - and we must publicly declare that Black lives matter."
PayPal joins a string of US corporations who have committed funds to address racial inequality in the wake of protests sparked by the May 25 death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck. African-Americans have also suffered disproportionately from the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Bank of America has pledged US$1 billion over four years to help communities address economic and racial inequality. Goldman Sachs last week created a US$10 million fund for racial equity, while Nike pledged US$40 million over four years and US$100 million over 10 years.
San Jose, California-based PayPal said US$10 million of the total pledged will be used for emergency grants to black-owned US businesses hurt by the effects of the coronavirus lockdown.
The grants of US$10,000 each will be aimed at covering expenses needed to stabilise and re-open businesses, said Connie Evans, president and CEO of the Association for Enterprise Opportunity, the organisation co-managing the programme.
"Those businesses aren't going to make it if we can't get immediate resources into their hands," Ms Evans told Reuters.
A further US$15 million will be used to foster diversity within the company by expanding its inclusion programmes, according to the statement.
In the United States, 6 per cent of PayPal's total workforce identifies as black, while 2 per cent of its technical roles are held by black employees, according to the company's 2019 Global Impact Report. According to the US census, around 13 per cent of the country identifies as black or African-American.