One of this year’s corporate sponsors of Youth INC’s 15th annual State of the Market speaker series, State Street is one of the world’s leading providers of financial services to institutional investors including investment servicing, investment management and investment research and trading. Founded in Boston, MA, in 1792, State Street has a clear purpose: “To help create better outcomes for the world’s investors and the people they serve.” In daily practice, that means helping to safeguard the retirements of people like teachers, nurses, firefighters, and others; and, on a philanthropic level, helping to ensure that nonprofits and educational institutions have the resources they need to advance vital research and development.
A distinguishing characteristic of State Street Foundation, the company’s charitable arm, is how it partners with nonprofits in communities where State Street Corporation operates—whether that is Boston or as far away as Poland, where the company has a significant presence and has undertaken noteworthy charitable efforts since the onset of the war in Ukraine.
Core to its mission, State Street Foundation specifically looks to partner with charities that are:
Looking at its grantmaking through this powerful and empowering lens is consistent with State Street’s longstanding belief in the importance of supporting Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (ID&E) goals for the benefit of all its stakeholders. State Street prioritizes ID&E because it is a self-evident moral good, and also critical to driving continued business success—insofar as it brings different perspectives and critical thinking into decision-making and helps avoid “group-think”; better reflects the world in which our clients live and work; and helps build and sustain a more vibrant company culture, which is especially important in attracting the next wave of top talent.
State Street Foundation’s primary focus areas are education and workforce development, with a funding strategy that serves disadvantaged populations and supports economic mobility. Last year State Street Foundation took steps to explicitly incorporate racial equity as a priority in its grant-making criteria and, as a first step, engaged an independent third-party to audit its current Massachusetts-based grant portfolio by surveying current nonprofit partners and collecting and analyzing data regarding various organizations’ commitment to racial equity and social justice.
The audit revealed that State Street’s charity partners serve 85% Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) students and clients, indicating that State Street had been helping to address systemic racism in educational and workforce development for many years prior to making racial equity a focus of its grant-making criteria. Beyond State Street’s partnership with Youth INC, a key charitable highlight for 2021 was the company’s commitment to Early College programs, an initiative that allows primarily low-income high school students of color to complement their studies with tailored college-level coursework offered at no cost to the student.
In its philanthropic work with Youth INC and others, State Street is demonstrating that education and opportunity for all is the greatest investment organizations might make.