Colonial Life, Unum create fund to advance racial equality

Employee benefits provider Colonial Life, along with parent Unum, will use a new Social Justice Fund to create stronger, more equitable communities. 

The fund will support organizations working to end racism, discrimination and bias.

Although the fund is designed to make a difference for many marginalized groups facing discrimination, the immediate focus for 2020 will support organizations fighting for racial justice. A mix of employee donations, company matches, and an annual corporate gift of $500,000 will support the fund. 

“Unum promotes equity for all within our workforce, but it’s important we also find ways to promote social justice in our communities,” said Rick McKenney, Unum president and chief executive officer. “This fund goes beyond giving money. It allows our employees to take a stand and get involved in combating racism.” 

Local organizations devoted to ending social injustice can apply for the grants on Colonial Life’s Charitable Giving site. Grant requests can range from $2,500 to $10,000. Applying organizations must have a 501(c)3 designation or a fiscal sponsor. 

“Colonial Life has a long history of partnering with great organizations who are tirelessly working to support South Carolina residents of all backgrounds,” said Tim Arnold, Colonial Life president and CEO. “Our employees and company look forward to supporting the many efforts already under way to combat racism in our state.”

Last year in the U.S. more than a third of Colonial Life’s community grant budget was directed to organizations that serve minority populations. This includes substantial grants and volunteer support for programs that provide more equitable opportunities for students, like mentoring, job shadowing, and resume-building workshops for the company’s educational partners. 

In October, Colonial Life and Unum held a Historically Black Colleges and Universities Innovation Challenge to find creative ways to attract diverse talent and provide scholarship opportunities. Through the challenge, the company hosted 30 juniors and seniors from HBCUs to work together to solve real-world challenges and explore career opportunities in the insurance industry.