California Executives’ Alliance members are among leaders from 42 foundations who have “banned the box” by adopting fair chance hiring policies or ensuring that questions about criminal convictions do not appear on applications for employment with their foundations. They also issued a challenge to all U.S. philanthropic institutions to follow suit and eliminate barriers to employment for people with arrest and conviction records.
CEA members who joined the effort are California Community Foundation, The California Endowment, The California Wellness Foundation, Kapor Center for Social Impact, Liberty Hill Foundation, Rosenberg Foundation, The San Francisco Foundation, Sierra Health Foundation and Silicon Valley Community Foundation. The initiative is led by the Executives’ Alliance for Boys and Men of Color.
This philanthropic call to action supports a movement created by formerly incarcerated people more than a decade ago that has since spread to 21 states and more than 100 localities. It also follows positive developments in the private sector, with employers such as Starbucks, Facebook and Target leading the way. Most recently, President Obama took action to move toward banning the box in the federal government’s hiring process. Using the power of public policy and mobilizing the private sector are pillars of the President’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative and its focus on providing second chances.
The need for action is urgent. More than 70 million Americans have arrest or conviction records that can show up in background checks, reducing the likelihood of a callback interview for an entry-level job by 50 percent. This takes a particularly heavy toll on communities of color, especially men of color who are disproportionately impacted by mass incarceration.
Research shows that employing formerly incarcerated people reduces recidivism and strengthens families. By adopting fair hiring policies, foundations are playing their part as employers to remove the stigma associated with a record, and setting an example for other foundations and their grantees to follow.
For more information or to share the news, see the announcement and social media toolkit. Foundations interested in accepting the challenge and other organizations interested in showing support are encouraged to visit the Ban the Box Challenge web site.