June 18 2020
Several weeks ago, I sent you a letter expressing my thoughts on inequality and how Bozzuto might appropriately respond to a world challenged by social injustice. I stated:
“The Bozzuto Group will strive to be a paradigm of what is right, and what is good. We will seek to understand inequality and injustice. We will respond with 'Concern' for others, which my father Tom has always called 'the greatest virtue.' We will create opportunities for the historically oppressed. We will make the world a better place by creating sanctuary for those we serve. We will be a better company (and better people) because of this.”
Since sending that letter, I have had extraordinary discussions on race and equity with many of our associates. Conversations like these are critical for us all, as they help to illuminate our blind spots and unconscious biases. Gaining awareness of perspectives other than our own helps us to awaken to the reality of inequality.
Nearly a decade ago, at my father’s urging, we began to engage in efforts to enhance our understanding of the many cultures within our own organization. Three years ago, I signed the pledge for CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion, which emphasizes the need for businesses to cultivate a trusting environment where all ideas are welcomed, and employees feel comfortable and empowered to have discussions about diversity and inclusion. Together, as One Bozzuto, we will continually work to foster an environment of trust, where we embrace the beauty and richness of diversity and in turn create more opportunities for everyone in our company.
This is an important moment in our history. This is a turning point, now is the time for action.
With the collective commitment of our Operating Partners (Mike Schlegel, Julie Smith, Dan Murphy, Stephanie Williams, Mark Weisner and Mike Henehan) and the guidance of our Employee Resource Groups (including SOUL and VIDA) and many associates, we have created a plan of immediate actions Bozzuto will take in order to build upon the important work to date. These actions leverage the power of One Bozzuto to make an impact. All of us must be participatory in making a difference. As such, we will build upon our strengths, knowing we can always do better. We will do our part. Therefore, we will:
Use our Power of Knowledge
- We will host a series of webinars and presentations with thought leaders to address issues such as the history of systemic racism, civics and voting, and the creation of housing for all and other relevant topics, starting with our Juneteenth Zoom lunch and discussion.
- We will create a shared content library of books, TedTalks, podcasts and videos, artwork and virtual experiences using a variety of media to encourage independent learning.
- We will use our interactive communication platform Thought Exchange to share best practices on how to advance equity throughout our teams.
Use our Power to Participate
- We will expand the leadership, activities and reach of our Employee Resource Groups (SOUL, VIDA, LIFT, [email protected], Bozzuto VETS, Young Professionals) to all employees in the field. We will also create new groups based on employee interest.
- We will create our own Bozzuto Advisory Council for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, an employee-led advisory effort.
- We will increase the frequency and reach of our Community Cultural Forums in order to become more culturally fluent.
- We will give every associate up to four additional hours of PTO on November 3, 2020, Election Day, for the purpose of exercising their power to choose their leaders by voting.
Use our Power to Build, Lead and Advance Diverse Teams
- We will be mindful of talent that exists in the company today, and will be focused on preparing all employees for promotions within the company. We will also provide leadership training and mentorship opportunities to aid in this process.
- We will continue to focus our recruiting efforts on attracting a diverse pool of candidates, using internal peer groups to ensure an inclusive process.
- We will be mindful of selecting candidates who exhibit empathetic qualities and strong leadership skills. We will provide ongoing training and support required for success in their roles.
- We will be purposeful in selecting candidates with clear potential and proven agility so that we can provide expanded opportunities for professional growth, and open runways for upward mobility for all employees.
Use our Power of Trust
- We will train our leaders to facilitate discussions on race.
- We will create opportunities for our associates to have courageous conversations through scheduled forums.
- We will continue to enhance our platforms to share our respective cultures and traditions.
Use our Power to Give Back
Over the past year, Bozzuto has given over $230,000 to charitable initiatives that support youth engagement, provide affordable housing and extend services to those in need. Furthermore, Rise by Bozzuto was founded in order to continue to expand upon this commitment and we will continue to support these initiatives generously.
- We will continue to invest in the youth of our communities through strategic partnerships with organizations like Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Bozzuto intends to provide both financial and volunteer support to the children of all ages who depend on their programs.
- We will continue to support efforts to eradicate homelessness through established partnerships with organizations such as A Wider Circle. These groups provide supportive wraparound services and the creation of affordable housing in our local markets.
- We will continue to host mentorship and internship programs that expose youth from underserved communities to careers in construction, development, accounting and property operations.
- We will encourage our teams to make an impact upon their local communities by leveraging the initiatives set forth by Rise by Bozzuto.
Use our Power to Build Partnerships
- We will continue to support local minority-owned businesses through new vendor relationships and purposeful business development partnerships, as well as the inclusion of Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) subcontractors on our construction projects, helping to build prosperity and economic access and opportunity for people of color.
- We will maintain our focus on creating extraordinary experiences for our associates, customers, clients and partners as we are dedicated to building and providing housing for all.
We’re moved and energized, ready to expand on our efforts. It is our intention that our work will continue to evolve organically with employee input. With the recognition that leveraging the strength of organization for good is a major opportunity, we will continue to stand up for what is right. This is who we are, and who we will always be. As a family taking care of families, it is up to us to do our part to make the world a better place.
President & CEO
The Bozzuto Group