At Unum and Colonial Life, employees recognized Martin Luther King Jr. Day by serving in their communities and showing their commitment to equality and justice, which are core elements of Dr. King’s vision.
Employees were encouraged to use their “day off” as a “day on” to volunteer for local organizations throughout the week. From soup kitchen and food bank shifts to phone calls to veterans and shut-ins, Unum and Colonial Life employees are making a difference in their communities.
Another way Unum and Colonial Life support Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy is through the company’s Social Justice Fund. Launched in 2020, the fund is designed to create stronger, more equitable communities and to support organizations working to end racism, discrimination and bias. Initially focused on organizations dedicated to racial justice, the fund has expanded to support various nonprofits focused on social justice issues.
One of the fund’s first beneficiaries was Justice 360, a South Carolina non-profit organization working to reform policies and practices in the criminal justice system.
“We’re dedicated to advancing systemic change in the criminal justice system and making it a more fair and transparent system for all,” said Lindsey Vann, Executive Director of Justice 360. “That’s largely through representation of clients facing the death penalty and juveniles facing life without parole. We’re really focused on the extreme sentencing aspect of the criminal justice system, and part of that has to do with racial bias and disparities within criminal sentencing. We really work to bring that to light, to share that with the public, and to eliminate it from the criminal justice system as much as possible.
“Because of the funding we received in 2020, Justice 360 was able to increase our juvenile services, and there continues to be a great deal of work to be done moving forward,” said Vann. “We were able to host our second annual Virtual Summit in October 2021 to help with awareness, and we created a series called Justice 360 Talks that helps to facilitate conversations throughout the year.”
Hear more from Lindsey and learn more about Justice 360 in this video.
Since 2020, Unum and Colonial Life have donated $716,829 to organizations in the U.S. that align with one of the fund’s four focus areas: civic engagement, training, systemic and policy change initiatives, and promotion of financial inclusion through economic justice programs.
Learn about our most recent grantees below:
- College Guild – Rehabilitation educational programs for the incarcerated
- Foundation for Portland Public Schools – Addressing the Opportunity Gap; Professional Development for Public Schools Staff
- Maine State Teachers of the Year Association – Starting Here and Starting Now for Social Justice in Maine Schools
- Maine Youth Court – Restorative Diversion in Youth Leadership
- 3i Housing of Maine – Affordable/Accessible & Supportive Housing for People with Disabilities
- Creative Discovery Museum – Accessibility and Inclusion Community Wide Training
- LAUNCH Chattanooga – Empowering Underrepresented Entrepreneurs
- YMCA of Metropolitan Chattanooga – YMCA Social and Racial Justice Initiative Program
- Historic Columbia – LGBTQ Columbia History Initiative
- Special Olympics of South Carolina – Unified Champion City Schools Program
- SC Women in Leadership – Matchboard
- Sumter Black Chamber of Commerce – Youth Financial Literacy Pilot Program
- We Are Family – Mental Health Assistance Program for LGBTQI+ Youth
- Buckeye Ridge Habitat for Humanity – Breaking Barriers Through Black Homeownership
- Friends of St. Stephens Youth Programs – Parent Mentoring Program
- Galeo Community Development Fund – Voter Support Activities
Unum and Colonial Life are actively looking for qualified organizations to support. Click here for more information.