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June 19, 2020

A Day of Reflection

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The following message was shared with our employees: 

As part of our commitment to combat racism and increase diversity and inclusion at Norwest, within our portfolio, and in our industry, we wanted to share some of the latest actions we are taking and observing on Juneteenth. As a firm, we will continue to prioritize diversity and our goal is to make a difference.

Observing Juneteenth – a day of reflection and action

We are observing Juneteenth as a holiday and encouraging our employees to personally take action on Juneteenth in these four ways:

  • Educate – Take the time to reflect on history and learn about key issues at hand to inform how to create positive change.
  • Volunteer – Dedicate time to causes and organizations that advocate for the rights of the Black community and other marginalized groups.
  • Participate – Take part in peaceful, socially-distanced gatherings in your town or city.
  • Donate – Contribute to organizations focused on the advancement of Black communities.

D&I Working Groups 

We have developed a working group informed by our recent Pledge to Action. We are organized into three action teams:

  • Hiring – Define actions that enable us to hire more candidates of color onto our investment team.
  • Wiring – Develop a plan of action to bring more entrepreneurs of color into our investment pipeline and to invest in their companies.
  • Portfolio – Design programs and share resources that will actively support diversity and inclusion in our portfolio companies.

By pursuing this effort with determination and perseverance, we believe we can make a critical impact on the entire team at Norwest, on the leaders and employees of our portfolio companies, on the venture industry overall, and most importantly, on the entrepreneurs and investors of color who are striving to overcome challenges of access.  You will hear more from these three teams over the course of the summer.

Supporting Volunteer Days – please take time to give back

Norwest provides employees with 16 paid hours per year to participate in community service activities during the work week and each investment team promotes (or sponsors) volunteer days. We will be organizing a company-wide volunteer day, supporting one of the five local organizations in which we recently made financial contributions.

The “Norwest Gives Back” team is dedicated to partnering with local charitable organizations and running fundraising campaigns on behalf of the firm. This team will review our ongoing plans for supporting relevant organizations.

Our Committed Donations 

We have completed several donations from the firm as part of an ongoing effort to make what difference we can to improve conditions and outcomes for our community. These donations were made to organizations that directly impact people of color within education and entrepreneurship, especially in the Bay Area.

Support Venture Forward 501c3 NVCA Foundation

As a part of NVCA, we support the organization’s new Venture Forward Foundation, including its focus on DE&I: advancing a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive VC ecosystem.

We thank you for your energetic support of the initiatives we have taken to date, and we welcome your ongoing suggestions on how we can continue to make progress.