Corporate America Reflects On Our Founder’s Legacy

Corporate America Reflects On Our Founder’s Legacy

As part of BLACK ENTERPRISE’s 50th Anniversary, chief executives of the nation’s largest corporations have offered their tributes of our visionary founder Earl G. Graves Sr.

These business leaders have come to value the information BE provides—from its inception as a groundbreaking publication in the 1970s through its evolution to an expansive multimedia company of this millennium—to millions of African Americans to help them attain success as business owners and corporate executives. They fully appreciate BE’s influence on its audience in showcasing countless examples of discovery and achievement, reinforcing professional aspirations, and confirming fruitful ascent across a range of fields. Through presentations and invitations, they became aware that the highest standards of excellence from African American professionals is not an aberration tied to a select few but an ongoing part of our history. Moreover, large numbers of CEOs over the years recognized and embraced this platform that Publisher Graves designed for education and advocacy, constantly promoting equal opportunity, challenging corporate leadership to purposely design inclusive environments, and recognizing those who have chosen the right path or corrected course.

Through this process, our founder met his mission: the development of corporate partnerships in which the realization and pursuit of the progression of African American executives, suppliers, consumers, and other stakeholders was a business imperative that fostered dynamic, profitable companies as well as a stronger nation. On the following pages, these corporate leaders—our partners—share why they value and embrace our founder’s legacy.

In 1970, Prudential was inspired by Earl Graves Sr.’s vision to deliver business news and insights specifically for Black Americans, becoming one of the first corporations to support the launch of BLACK ENTERPRISE. It was the start of a vital and rewarding partnership we’ve been proud to sustain for the past five decades.

Like Earl, we recognize how knowledge can empower and pave the way to prosperity and well-being. Our purpose as a company—to make lives better by solving the financial challenges of our changing world—reflects Prudential’s long-standing commitment to helping people achieve financial security for themselves and their loved ones.

Founded in Newark, N.J., one of America’s oldest and most diverse cities, Prudential understands that our success is inextricably linked to the success of the communities we serve. That perspective fuels our long-standing work to close the racial wealth gap and secure meaningful progress toward racial equity. To us, the challenge of building a more inclusive economy is both a moral imperative and a business opportunity. We also know we need to do more to drive progress further and faster, and that we cannot do it alone.

Partners like Black Enterprise play a vital role in connecting us to the needs and priorities of Black Americans while enabling us to speak out against racism and speak up for equity and encouraging others to join us as allies. Earlier this year, we launched a series of commitments that guide Prudential’s efforts to promote racial equity through investments in our people, businesses, and community. With these commitments, which build on efforts to address the disproportionate effect of the coronavirus pandemic on communities of color, we’re accelerating our work to eliminate systemic barriers facing Black Americans. We are also redoubling our efforts to become a more inclusive company, one that is a destination for diverse talent and a source of pride for all our employees.

As we join in saluting Earl’s vision and enduring legacy, we are inspired by the resiliency and optimism of the Black community. And we remain committed to doing our part to achieve a future of shared prosperity, true equity, and mutual respect.

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