LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BUSINESS WIRE) — Yum! Brands Inc. and KFC U.S. announced Wednesday plans to invest $6 million over five years to advance equity and opportunity across Louisville, particularly in the West End. This expanded investment in Louisville will target endeavors that tackle inequality and uplift Black students, educators, entrepreneurs and social change agents.
The local commitment is part of Yum! Brands’ global Unlocking Opportunity Initiative announced in June, in which the company committed $100 million over five years to promote equity and inclusion, education and entrepreneurship for employees, frontline restaurant teams and communities around the world.
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“At Yum!, we know our brands, frontline restaurant teams and communities are much stronger when we have diverse people, voices and ideas at the table to tackle our biggest challenges,” said David Gibbs, CEO, Yum! Brands. “With this expanded effort in Louisville, we are pleased to increase our partnership and investment in experienced local leaders and institutions that are already working to address the complex challenges of inequality.”
“As we work to strengthen equity and inclusion within every aspect of KFC, we look forward to partnering with community leaders to serve up greater opportunity and positive change right here in our hometown of Louisville,” said Kevin Hochman, president, KFC U.S.
The expanded work led by Yum! and KFC U.S. is expected to catalyze opportunity for the talent in Louisville through partnerships and financial contributions to entrepreneurship, education and equity and inclusion initiatives benefiting underserved areas of Louisville and tackling systemic racism.
“Tackling inequality is a long-term challenge that will require local businesses, governments, schools and philanthropists to establish new ways of partnering with and supporting talented community leaders who know the issues and the people most affected,” said Jerilan Greene, chief communications and public affairs officer, Yum! Brands, and chairman and CEO, Yum! Brands Foundation. “We’re pleased to be part of making education and entrepreneurship, which are both essential ingredients for a brighter future, more accessible to our fellow Louisvillians.”
The company’s expanded commitment in Louisville will support:
- Technology entrepreneurship. Led by Executive Director Dave Christopher of The Academy of Music Production Education and Development, AMPED is expanding its full-service family support, increasing emphasis on technology skills, workforce development and business creation to drive economic growth, mobility and independence in West Louisville.
- Grants for Black entrepreneurs and nonprofits. Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), one of the largest community development organizations in the U.S., will establish a fund that provides grants to Louisville-based Black entrepreneurs and nonprofits to expand economic opportunity in West Louisville. Simultaneously, LISC will open a Louisville office under the leadership of Denise Scott, LISC Executive Vice President, and create a local advisory committee comprised of local leadership from the public, private and nonprofit sectors to begin the search for an Executive Director.
- African-American teacher development. As one of the oldest private Historically Black Colleges in America, Simmons College of Kentucky, led by its President Dr. Kevin Cosby, is developing a unique program designed to recruit and train more African American teachers to enter the Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) system.
- College scholarships. Led by Executive Director Marland Cole, Evolve502, a nonprofit organization, is helping JCPS students pursue a post-secondary education by funding scholarships and support, with an emphasis on assisting underserved communities.
- College pathways: High school business, technology and leadership education. University of Louisville College of Business professor Dr. Nat Irvin is working with Central High Magnet Career Academy Principal Raymond Green, and other key JCPS schools, to launch the second phase of a business, technology and leadership development pilot program to help predominantly Pell Grant-eligible high school students earn college credits from and early admission to the University of Louisville. The program is part of the University of Louisville President Dr. Neeli Bendapudi’s vision to become the nation’s premier anti-racist metropolitan research university.
EQUITY & INCLUSION
- Black-led philanthropy and advocacy. Led by Metro United Way’s Chief Equity Officer Daryle Unseld, Black L.O.V.E., a nonprofit to strengthen Black-led social institutions in Louisville, will work with Black leaders and philanthropic partners to invest in areas recommended by the Black Social Change Funders Network.
In addition to Yum! Brands’ Unlocking Opportunity Initiative, the Company previously announced a $3 million pledge to social justice efforts by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, American Civil Liberties Union and Louisville-based social justice nonprofits along with national organizations identified by U.S. restaurant general managers at KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and The Habit Burger Grill—including the Boys & Girls Club of America, Equal Justice Initiative and Children’s Bureau.
In Louisville, Yum! is also co-chairing Greater Louisville Inc.’s Business Council to End Racism, a cohort of local business leaders developing policy recommendations to tackle racism and build a stronger, more inclusive local economy. Beyond the Company’s expanded efforts to address inequality locally, the Yum! Brands Foundation will continue its long history of supporting Dare to Care Food Bank, Metro United Way and Fund for the Arts in Louisville.