Vistra is committed to education, economic development, and bettering the communities where we operate, but in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and others, combined with the impacts of the pandemic, it was imperative that we do more to address systemic challenges in our country.
In June, Vistra committed $10 million over five years to support the advancement of minority communities. When assessing where to focus our efforts, Vistra looked to those areas where we believe we can have the biggest impact. For us, that means investing in people through education and economic development, including growing minority-owned small businesses.
Vistra has created endowed scholarships for several historically black colleges and universities and those with significant multi-cultural student bodies and is fostering educational advancement through the United Negro College Fund and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. We’d also like to see an influx of Black professionals, like engineers, into our own industry – that starts with access to quality education.
In addition, the company provided immediate relief to rebuild minority-owned small businesses (many of them damaged in riots) and invest in their long-term growth through organizations like National Minority Supplier Development Council, Black and Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, and the National Urban League. The company is also expanding our mentoring and pro-bono consulting services for minority-owned small businesses.
Vistra has already identified organizations for the first $1.5 million and has quickly established relationships with HBCUs to set up the endowed scholarships so students can have access to scholarships in the near-term. CEO Curt Morgan will personally be involved in reviewing scholarship recipients and their progress. Curt has also spoken at National Minority Supplier Development Council events about Vistra’s commitment and the important role of diverse supply chains. The company plans to continue these efforts with additional donations to be made in the years to come.
As much as I want to believe that America has evolved from a diversity and inclusion standpoint, too many recent events in our society and listening sessions with my own employees tell me otherwise. The stories our employees shared about the challenges they continue to face, most outside of the office but some within our own walls, simply because of the color of their skin were sobering. I’m compelled to sign the CEO Action for Inclusion pledge because I truly believe that as CEOs of major corporations, we must lay the plans and ensure the actions are taken on behalf of diversity and inclusion, and we must be held accountable for the results of those actions both inside our companies and in our communities. We cannot delegate on this critical matter; we must be the ones to lead, and the time is now.