With a Spate of New Initiatives, Macy’s Steps Up Diversity Efforts in Honor of Black History Month

Macy’s Inc. is ramping up its efforts to boost Black-owned businesses, creators and talent — just in time for Black History Month.

The Cincinnati, Ohio-based chain announced today a spate of initiatives that include a charitable campaign in support of two nonprofits; new product launches and limited-edition collaborations; Black history-themed window displays at its major locations; and the continuation of its vendor development program promoting gender and racial diversity.

“As we honor Black culture and Black brilliance, we are intensifying our commitment to the growth and advancement of Black-owned businesses, creators, changemakers and young talent — who are all woven into the fabric of the Black experience,” chief diversity officer Shawn Outler said in a statement. “We are supporting current and future history-makers who will create a more rich and inclusive community for our colleagues and customers.”

Throughout the month, customers can round up their Macy’s purchases to the nearest dollar amount and donate the change to benefit Black Girls CODE and the United Negro College Fund. According to the department store, the funds raised will be split evenly between both organizations.

What’s more, the company is launching 11 new Black-owned beauty brands, plus welcoming 16 Black-owned labels to its Story at Macy’s pop-up shop, as part of its commitment to the 15 Percent Pledge — a nonprofit that holds retailers accountable on their commitment to dedicate 15% of shelf space to Black-owned labels. Next month, it plans to debut “Icons of Style,” a series of limited-edition collaborations with some of the country’s top Black creatives, including Zerina Akers, Misa Hylton and Aminah Abdul Jillil.

For shoppers who drop by some of its brick-and-mortar outposts, Macy’s has also installed window displays housing artworks by modern-day Fauve pop artist Michael Anthony Pegues and abstract-expressionist Rey Rosa — both artists from New York City. Their work will be displayed at the chain’s Herald Square and downtown Brooklyn locations, as well as Center City in Philadelphia; Downtown Crossing in Boston; Metro Center in Washington, D.C.; State Street in Chicago; and Union Square in San Francisco.

And, this spring, Macy’s will welcome the class of 2021 to The Workshop at Macy’s — a program designed to educate and support minority-and women-owned businesses. In a statement, the company shared that the workshop is now on its 10th year.

Among the first major fashion retail names to hire a chief diversity and inclusion officer back in 2018, Macy’s has been increasingly vocal about its strategy to boost diversity and inclusion across its enterprise. That strategy, which was revamped in 2019, is composed of a “five-part approach” that includes a requirement for 50% representation of gender or gender identity, ethnicity, age, size and people with disabilities in its advertising by 2020; 30% ethnic diversity at the senior director level and above by 2025; and a plan to achieve diverse supplier spend of at least 5% by 2021.

In addition, the retailer shared that it donated more than $2.5 million last year to Black community organizations — some of them longstanding partners — such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and The National Urban League, among others.

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