Equity Foundation Files Shareholder Proposal to Push Aflac to Offer Domestic Partnership Benefits
PORTLAND-This week Equity Foundation filed a shareholder proposal at Aflac Incorporated, a national insurance agency, pressing it on the issue of domestic partner benefits. Equity Foundation in partnership with Trillium Asset Management, LLC in Boston has had success with shareholder proposals including recently leading a successful effort to push Lowe’s, a national home improvement retailer, to include the terms “gender identity” in their hiring policies.
The shareholder proposal comes after contacting Aflac in October to discuss the importance of providing equal benefits for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees. Unfortunately, even though the letter to Aflac expressed the business rationale as well as the basic fairness and respect conveyed through a tangible commitment to the principle that equal work deserves equal pay, the company did not respond.
Peter Cunningham, Equity Foundation Executive Director said, “In leading this effort, it is our hope that Aflac will embrace same-sex domestic partnership benefits and foster a more diverse corporate culture. Equity Foundation exists not just as a grant making organization, but to also help change the corporate world—it means that our donors’ dollars help change society in more than one way.”
Equity Foundation’s endowments, donor advised funds, and several scholarship funds are invested with Trillium Asset Management, LLC managing the funds. Equity Foundation believes that its investment policies should reflect the mission and values of the organization and that investment-related activities should be directed at supporting or changing corporate behavior to align with these values. Specifically, corporations are encouraged by the Foundation to adopt policies that promote social justice, equity and fairness for all people.
Equity Foundation is a community foundation that relies on the community to both donate to the foundation and to help steer their granting programs. Funding at the foundation is driven by the community by Donor Advisors, granting committees, and other volunteers. The majority of Equity Foundation donors are members of the LGBT community as well as allies from many diverse backgrounds.
In its continuing effort to encourage businesses to adopt policies that promote social justice, equity and fairness for all people, Equity Foundation is hosting the first annual Equity Awards on January 20, 2012 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Governor Hotel in downtown Portland. This luncheon event honors Oregon and Southwest Washington businesses that embrace the diversity of the community by having exceptional hiring and employment policies and practices. An emphasis will be placed on policies and practices that promote social justice and provide equal opportunity for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals. More information about the awards can be found online at www.equityfoundation.org/awards.
The mission of Equity Foundation is to build communities that advance the dignity and worth of all people. Equity Foundation promotes philanthropy and positive interaction through college scholarships and by granting funds to organizations that work to eradicate prejudice against gender and sexual minorities and people from other diverse communities.