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Diageo pledges $10 million to Black universities

Smirnoff owner Diageo will donate US$10 million to support 25 Black educational institutes in the US as it seeks to expand diversity in the alcohol sector.

Smirnoff vodka
Diageo owns the world’s biggest vodka brand Smirnoff

Diageo’s North American business has pledged the funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). The firm will create permanent funds to provide financial aid grants for thousands of students in need over the years.

The funds will be made available to HBCU students across different subjects and qualifications.

“We are proud to partner with these esteemed institutions and to do our part to help shape a more equitable society by providing opportunities for future leaders,” said Debra Crew, president of Diageo North America. “This initiative further deepens Diageo’s commitment to making a long-term and sustainable impact on underrepresented communities.”

Diageo said it is committed to building a pipeline of leaders through an internship programme in the coming years. The move is part of the firm’s goal of helping to ‘change the complexion’ of the alcohol sector. As such, Diageo will offer work experience opportunities for HBCU students.

Furthermore, Diageo North America is also considering creating Innovation Hubs at select institutions to provide resources that complement traditional learning. The scheme will see Diageo provide mentors, lecturers for faculty and students, and curriculum development assistance.

In the coming months, Diageo will reveal more information on the Innovation Hubs and internship platforms as part of the programme.

This initiative was created in collaboration with Diageo North America’s African Heritage Business Resource Group, which looks at how the firm can make the most meaningful impact in the Black community.

Diageo also has longstanding partnerships with the National Urban League, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and 100 Black Men of America.

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