Reflecting on the Past and Renewing Our Commitment to the Future

Dan Schulman, President and CEO, PayPal

The month of June is an important time for us to reflect on our past and to renew our commitment to a more equitable and just future. On Monday, PayPal will observe Juneteenth (June 19th) as a paid federal and company holiday for our employees in the U.S. to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved people and celebrate the many contributions of Black people to the rich fabric of American history and culture. Honoring Juneteenth is meaningful for our U.S. employees, but we also recognize Caribbean American Heritage Month in the U.S. and those across the U.K. and Europe who observe Windrush Day (June 22), which commemorates the arrival of Afro-Caribbean immigrants to the shores of Britain and honors the British Caribbean community.

Celebrating Black history and contributions

This month also marks two years since PayPal announced our $535 million commitment to racial equity. Our commitment was developed to provide immediate financial relief, sustained support and long-term investment to expand economic opportunity and address the racial wealth gap for Black and underrepresented businesses and communities, who have faced the impacts of systemic inequities and were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

The PayPal community devoted itself to fulfilling our profound commitment. The funds we committed in 2020 are now 100% allocated toward advancing our objective of helping to close the racial wealth gap.  Our most recent investments included the addition of three new high impact funds to our Economic Opportunity Fund portfolio: Siebert Williams Shank-affiliated Clear Vision Impact Fund, SoLa Impact’s Black Impact Fund and BlackRock’s Impact Opportunities Fund.

We are seeing signs of encouraging and tangible outcomes from our Economic Opportunity Fund’s investments in Black-owned banks, credit unions, and fund vehicles that advance racial equity within our communities. For example, last year:

  • OneUnited Bank, one of the largest Black-owned banks in the U.S., originated over $150 million in affordable rental housing loans for predominantly low- and moderate-income communities of color and launched CashPlease, a national short-term loan program that utilizes unique underwriting criteria as an alternative to predatory payday loans.  
  • Hope Credit Union completed more than 4,000 loans with Black-owned businesses, Black homeowners and Black households to advance ownership and economic mobility in the Deep South. 
  • Optus Bank loaned $117 million to nearly 1,000 businesses, individuals and homeowners.  

Our PayPal employee community has also come together to further our shared vision. Since 2020, PayPal employees have contributed more than 21,000 skills-based volunteer hours to advance economic opportunity for Black communities, and coaching and mentoring Black entrepreneurs, students and career professionals. This month, we will be hosting additional volunteer opportunities with global organizations working to strengthen Black communities. 

We continue to seek opportunities to drive diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging within PayPal and to support the businesses and communities we serve. We recently participated in launching the Southern Communities Initiative, a committed group of companies partnering with community development financial institutions, historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and other leading community organizations to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing communities of color in the South, where almost 60% of Black Americans live.

I am inspired and heartened by the commitment of our PayPal community and by the impact we have seen so far. But our mission to build an inclusive economy is far from over. This month, we celebrate and learn, but also reflect on how we can make an impact as individuals and as a community. We will continue to build on our progress, expanding our impact and working to further reduce the barriers to economic access and equity that underpin so much of the racial injustice in our society. And we will do it together as a community.

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