- McDonald’s on Friday launched a new program called Black & Positively Golden Change Leaders, to provide financial support to 10 people, ages 18 to 30, who are impacting their communities.
- Winners will be able to raise awareness of their work as part of a national advertising campaign and through the Black & Positively Golden Instagram channel.
- The yearlong campaign is part of McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden initiative, which launched the McDonald’s Future 22 program in February to spotlight young Black leaders.
McDonald’s focus on programs like the Black & Positively Golden Change Leaders initiative, its HBCU scholarships and its partnerships with the NAACP and National Urban League could improve its reputation, which has come under scrutiny. The company’s recent board of directors shakeup and the addition of a new global chief impact officer could signal more diversity-focused changes and initiatives to come, as well.
Earlier this year, shareholders proposed a racial audit of the company, but McDonald’s asked the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to omit the audit from its annual proxy, citing litigation by Black employees and 238 Black franchisees. In June, the National Black McDonald’s Operators Association returned a no confidence vote on CEO Chris Kempczinski.
Last year, Kempczinski texted Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot about the killing of two children in Chicago, one of whom was shot in a McDonald’s parking lot, writing that parents “failed those kids.” Kempczinski’s comments were revealed by a records request, and prompted backlash by Chicago community activists who called the comments “ignorant, racist and unacceptable.”
McDonald’s has responded to these issues — as well as lawsuits claiming discrimination against Black franchisees and Black employees in corporate leadership roles — with several initiatives designed to foster diversity within its system. Last year, the company pledged $250 million over five years to help finance disadvantaged franchisee candidates. The company also announced it will allocate 25% of its annual supply chain spending in the U.S. for suppliers owned by women and minorities by 2025. McDonald’s is also linking 15% of annual executive incentive bonuses to metrics around hiring women and diverse employees.