My Thoughts; Zynga’s Call to Action
[Shared at the request of Zynga employees]
I want to follow up on Matt Bromberg’s earlier email to you about the importance of equality and justice.
The events of these past days and weeks have been profoundly difficult—for our communities and for each of us. These events ask us to consider, and confront, failures in our commitment to provide all people with the basic guarantees of a fair and just society. They also ask us as individuals to acknowledge the everyday injustices that are borne by so many within our African-American and Black communities.
Zynga’s support and solidarity goes out to those members of our Zynga community who are uniquely impacted by these events. We stand with you in support of social justice, equity, and human dignity.
Zynga is a special place. At the heart of what makes our community special are the principles that guide our exchanges and partnerships with one another: mutual respect, support, and kindness. These principles have never been more important. As individuals, we may experience these events in different ways. But we can and should offer each other support, an open mind, and the gift of true listening. Listening to each other and working together offers the best chance of identifying concrete ways to do and be better in our struggle against injustice.
My commitment to you is the same. I am here to listen with an open mind, and to participate in a dialogue about how to do and be better as a company and as an individual.
Over the coming days and weeks, I will be actively engaged with our Black Zynga Union (BZU) to encourage a true dialogue about race in our community; and about the ways that Zynga can stand in support of social justice and equity. In fact, those conversations have already begun. With input from our BZU community, and in partnership with CStaff and our Diversity & Inclusion team, Zynga is taking these actions now:
- Allyship. Many employees have asked, “how [can I] be a good ally?” D&I has published an Allyship Guide to outline ways we can educate ourselves, contribute, advocate and engage in conversations about race and equity. Further, this guide provides resources for the support of our employee wellbeing.
- Community Investment. Over the last week, many of you have increased your personal giving. In addition to continuing our increased 2:1 matching in Benevity during this time, Zynga will give a total of $1 million to 5 social justice organizations that have received employee donations to date: the ACLU Foundation; the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); the Thurgood Marshall College Fund; Northside Achievement Zone (organization pursuing achievement in schools for children of color); and Race Forward (dedicated to supporting and lifting up local Black-led community organizations).
- Employee Group Investment. Our Zynga employee resource groups (ZERGs) are essential to our culture. They guide us all to do better by continually demonstrating leadership and impact to company culture. We are increasing our investment in the BZU and other ZERG budgets, so that education, programming, and training opportunities can be made available. I ask that all managers support and encourage those who participate in our ZERGs.
- “Time Off To Vote” Initiative. We recognize the paramount importance of our employees’ ability to have their voices be heard at the polls. To that end, we will now provide all employees with one day of paid time off per year on or in preparation for national election days in their jurisdictions.
- BZU Engagement. I have committed to serve as the executive sponsor of BZU.
I also recognize that true progress requires sustained effort over the long term. So in addition to the above, Zynga also commits to the following:
- An Endowment Commitment. As a company we plan to reengage in our philanthropic mission with a multi-million dollar initial contribution to a newly created fund, followed by sustained long-term giving that will support our various initiatives focusing on education, equity, and opportunities for diversity in gaming.
- University Partnerships. Zynga will explore partnership opportunities with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Creating better representation in gaming starts with early investment in education and the broader promotion of career opportunities. It is essential to diversify the gaming industry, and this is how we start.
- Increased Investment in Diversity & Inclusion. We will invest in diversity-oriented education, training, and development programs for our community; and we will identify pipeline opportunities for underrepresented minorities in tech. The opportunities to make a difference are there. To make sure we hold ourselves accountable with dedicated leadership, we will hire a full-time Head of Diversity & Inclusion.
There is much work to be done, and this is just the start. But with resolve and long-term commitment, we have the opportunity to build a blueprint for inspiring real progress within our workplace and through it, our community.