Verizon commits $10 million in donations and ad inventory to AAPI community
The Atlanta shootings this week that left eight people dead, six women of Asian descent, has prompted a reckoning over the rising rates of Anti-Asian violence seen since the start of the pandemic. Brands, media companies and agencies have been reaching out to Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities with statements of support and monetary donations. The largest effort so far comes from Verizon.
The telecommunications giant is committing to giving $10 million to organizations advancing social justice for the AAPI community, including donating $5 million in ad inventory through Verizon Media for media that advocates for Asian rights and mental health or promotes Asian-owned and run small businesses. The organizations include those on the front lines of the issue, such as Asian Americans Advancing Justice, the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans and the Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship.
“Staying silent and still is not an option,” writes Hans Vestberg, chairman and chief executive officer of Verizon in a blog post yesterday. “We need to take real action to root out pervasive hate and discrimination. An attack on one group is an attack on everyone, and we must unite against racism once and for all.”
“It's critical that we as one Verizon and we as a society stand up to hate and support the Asian American community,” writes Diego Scotti, executive vice-president and chief marketing officer at Verizon, in a LinkedIn post sharing the blog post.
The $5 million ad inventory initiative represents a relatively small portion of Verizon’s overall ad spending. The company in 2020 spent $3.1 billion on advertising, according to its annual regulatory filing. Verizon is the nation’s seventh largest advertiser, according to Ad Age Datacenter’s most recent rankings. The company ended 2020 with $128.3 billion in revenue, a decrease of only 1.2% year-over-year, according to its fourth-quarter earnings. Verizon Media ended 2020 with total operating revenues of $7 billion.
This current effort is not Verizon's first to help combat racial injustice. Last June, the company donated $10 million to social justice organizations like the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and the National Urban League in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death. Verizon also launched its “Citizen Verizon” initiative last July, which aims to train 500,000 low-skill minority workers for future jobs.
According to Verizon’s latest annual regulatory filing, its global workforce of 132,000 employees is made up of 9.4% Asian and 0.3% Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander. The majority, 53%, is white, followed by 19.3% Black and 11.3% Hispanic. People of color represent 34.6% of its leadership. Asians represent about 6% of the U.S. population, according to Ad Age Datacenter figures from the Census Bureau.
Correction: This article previously stated Verizon was donating $10 million to organizations and an additional $5 million in ad inventory. The combined total is $10 million.