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Companies Pressured to Stop Funding Police Foundations

Words by Leon Kaye
Police Foundations

Many of us and our peers are becoming increasingly distracted by the U.S. presidential campaigns, or whether or not the college football season will kick off this year. Nevertheless, critics of police departments nationwide are still keenly focused as they lean hard on companies to stop funding police foundations.

Color Of Change, a national racial justice organization, announced earlier this week that it is now targeting several Fortune 500 companies in a bid to convince brands to stop funding police foundations. Companies named in the group’s campaign include Bank of America, Coca-Cola, Goldman Sachs and Target.

Leaders of Color Of Change charge that police foundations across the U.S. are responsible for funding surveillance technology, military-style equipment, and other tools used to intimidate Black neighborhoods and communities of color.

This week’s campaign announcement follows on the heels of another group’s recent investigation, which revealed strong ties between police foundations and U.S. utilities, fossil fuel companies and banks.

“In cities like New York, Atlanta, Seattle, Washington, D.C., Louisville, and Los Angeles, police foundations have bankrolled the hyper-surveillance of Black communities and militarization of local police forces,” Scott Roberts, senior director of criminal justice campaigns at Color Of Change, said in an emailed statement to TriplePundit. “But even as large corporations take pledges for racial equity and adopt new policies for diversity and inclusion, many of them are continuing to support aggressive, racist policing by contributing to these organizations.”

In pushing to hold corporations accountable for their involvement in the U.S. criminal justice system, Color Of Change is urging companies to sever any and all ties with police foundations. Tactics that organizers and their allies have adopted during this latest push include sending correspondence to executives, organizing online petitions, and arranging meetings with company representatives to implore them to divest from these foundations while removing themselves from their executive boards.

Color Of Change has taken on other initiatives, such as a campaign protesting prison telecommunications firms’ alleged price-gouging of incarcerated individuals seeking to stay in touch with families during the COVID-19 crisis. By early April, federal prisons agreed to waive telephone charges, up to 500 minutes monthly per individual, while the pandemic continues. In addition, Color Of Change also claimed credit for its work with the American Civil Liberties Union to convince private equity firms to exit the for-profit bail bond industry.

Image credit: Sean Lee/Unsplash

Leon Kaye headshotLeon Kaye

Leon Kaye has written for TriplePundit since 2010, and became its Executive Editor in 2018. He's based in Fresno, CA, from where he happily explores California’s stellar Central Coast and the national parks in the Sierra Nevadas. He's lived in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay, and has traveled to over 70 countries. He's an alum of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Southern California.

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