The presenter said the awards held new meaning this year, amid demands for an end to systemic racism.
The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has won a 2020 NACD NXT award, a national honor recognizing it for making diversity and inclusion a priority.
The agency was among three winners announced October 13, 2020, during the Virtual NACD Summit 2020. The Board, along with the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Sempra Energy, were selected from among 10 finalists. The award is presented by the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), whose membership represents over half of the Fortune 1000.
“Diversity, equity, and inclusion serve a key place in our work,” said Philip Amoa, Chair of the agency’s Board of Directors Development and Governance Committee, who accepted the award virtually. “Yes, we still have work to do, but I am grateful and optimistic for what we have done and hope to accomplish.”
In a video tribute to the winners, NACD CEO Peter R. Gleason said the awards took on heightened meaning this year against the backdrop of urgent demands for an end to systemic racism. “The movement for racial justice in this country makes clear the need for progress in how we perceive and engage with each other — including in the boardroom,” Mr. Gleason said.
“How we engage diversity with our Board, staff, business partners, and constituencies stands as a witness to the lordship of Christ Jesus,” said the Reverend Frank Clark Spencer, President of the Board of Pensions. “When the corporate world recognizes that work, we are being church in the world.”
The PC(USA) has made dismantling structural racism, throughout the Church and beyond, a goal. The Board of Pensions, as a national agency of the Church, is strongly committed to that goal, Rev. Spencer said.
In response to the recommendation of the General Assembly in 2018, the Board of Pensions hired the Reed Development Group to perform a race audit of the agency. The Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion Leadership Council was then launched to advise senior management on understanding and enacting diversity initiatives. Kimberly Reed, a nationally recognized leader in organizational transformation, is facilitator for the 16-member council, which comprises a broad representation of Board staff.
“The Board of Pensions has a long history of recruiting and maintaining a diverse workforce that reflects metropolitan Philadelphia, where it is located,” Rev. Spencer said. “Today, over half of our employees are women and over one-third are people of color. The Board of Directors is likewise intentionally diverse in gender, sexual orientation, and ethnicity, with 35 percent people of color.”
“We all still have work to do,” Mr. Amoa said. “I am grateful for this recognition of the work the directors, management, and staff have done so far.”
NACD has more than 21,000 individual members and more than 1,500 organizations. The Board of Pensions and the other winners will be highlighted in NACD Directorship magazine.