Money makes an impact. We see this every day when we hear about the millions spent on political campaigns or large donations to foundations and causes. But our pocket change makes an impact, too. Anyone can make a difference by choosing which companies—big or small—we choose to buy products and services from. Even people on a tight budget can make a big impact when they spend their money at companies that emphasize diversity, equity, and inclusion. Here’s how.
The best way you can make sure your dollars have a direct impact in your community is to shop at minority-owned businesses in your community. If you aren’t sure where to start, check out apps that essentially serve as a directory for people looking to intentionally shop with locally-owned businesses that are either owned by minorities or support minority and social justice causes. If you are concerned that shopping local comes with higher price tags, look for small businesses in your community who give discounts to veterans, teachers, seniors, and other groups.
Research big box brands
While some companies try to stay neutral, there are many national and international companies stepping forward to do their part to support diversity, equity, and inclusion. For example, Target recently committed $10 million toward the National Urban League and the African American Leadership Forum. Gap Brands, which includes Athleta and Old Navy, pledged a quarter of a million in donations to the NAACP and Embrace Race. For families on tighter budgets, you don’t even have to worry about costs when you use an Old Navy coupon and similar discount offers.
Meal Delivery Services and Food Brands
Millions of American homes receive their dinner in the mail. Meal delivery kits are much more commonly used in today’s busy, modern households. Many people save hundreds each month on food costs and food waste, so if you are already interested in exploring meal delivery services, be sure to check out some that support anti-racism and social justice movements, like Purple Carrot and Thrive Market.
The subscription service most synonymous with home delivery, Blue Apron, gave all of its employees a paid holiday for the U.S. election, removing a huge barrier for some voters to cast their ballots. Many budget-friendly fast-food chains have also committed their support to diversity, equity, and inclusion, like McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and Starbucks.
Support Returning Citizens, Incarcerated Men and Women, and Their Families
Incarceration is a world-wide diversity, equity, and inclusion issue, but especially in the United States. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, black males account for 34 percent of the total male prison population and Hispanic males 24 percent. When you support companies committed to providing jobs and rehabilitation services for formerly incarcerated individuals and their loved ones, you are supporting a path to equality for all.
And this doesn’t just impact people of specific ethnic backgrounds. Did you know what caucasian females comprised 47 percent of the prison population? Spending your dollars at CVS, American Airlines, and Walmart, or donating your gently used clothing and household goods to charities like the Salvation Army, helps men and women from all races find a path forward after incarceration.
With so many big problems facing our country and the world today, trying to help and make a difference can feel very intimidating. Many of us are worried we will get it wrong—say the wrong word or unintentionally act insensitively. But just remember, you can create change no matter how much money you have. All you really need is your heart.
Written by Jim McKinley, www.moneywithjim.org