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H&R Block’s commitment to helping end racism

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June 22, 2020

H&R Block

H&R Block is committed to help achieve racial equality.Unequivocally, H&R Block believes Black lives matter and we are committed to doing our part to advocate for and create racial equality within our company and the communities in which we serve. We believe in living out our purpose to provide help and inspire confidence in our clients and communities everywhere. This means our Black associates and those of any marginalized, under-represented groups should be confident they work in an environment where they belong and can bring their complete, authentic self to work, that our practices and behaviors foster a culture of opportunity for all and we contribute toward equality within communities across the country.

Over the past weeks following the death of George Floyd and the protests demanding an end to the systemic racism that has plagued African Americans for generations, we have been intentional in listening to and discussing the racism experienced firsthand by our associates. These discussions led to an examination of our practices and policies. Here are the first steps we are taking as a company. There is more we can do and more we will do. We are committed to actions that are sustainable. While we are living during an important time in history, this is much more than a moment – this is a movement. It is time we all step up and take action.

  1. We are expanding our hiring practices to be more inclusive and result in a more diverse candidate pool for all positions within our company. We believe we can bring about the most change through our hiring practices. By partnering with Historically Black Colleges and Universities, as well as Black student and professional organizations, we know we can increase the diversity of our candidates and achieve better outcomes.

Specific actions:

  • Increase Black interns and college recruitment efforts by being intentional with our outreach to Historically Black Colleges and Universities, as well as Black student organizations and associations, such as Black Student Union, National Society of Black Engineers, and more.
  • Review the composition of our executive leadership roles upon every opening to improve the overall diversity.
  • Continue our practice of analyzing compensation for all associates, particularly minorities and females to ensure equitable, market competitive salaries are reflected.
  1. We are creating new opportunities for our associates to educate themselves and each other about racism, bias, and the importance of diversity, inclusion, and belonging. We believe conversations are one of the primary means to build understanding, empathy, and support among our associates and to drive change within our organization and ultimately our communities. Much of the dialogue within our organization over the past few weeks has been led by Belonging@Block, our Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Council. This group was formed in 2019 and will continue to be a leading force along our journey to ensure everyone has a place and voice at Block. We are committed to providing the tools and setting expectations that all associates uncover their own individual biases and engage in difficult, constructive conversations with each other.

Specific actions:

  • Encourage all associates to complete the Harvard Project Implicit Bias Survey.
  • Create and share discussion guides for leaders to facilitate department discussions on racism and how to be an ally.
  • Start a “Building Blocks” book club to further educate associates on the realities of racism. This book club will provide a safe space to have uncomfortable conversations that help build bridges to understanding.
  1. We are enhancing existing trainings and providing new mandatory experiences to educate our leaders about racial equality. While we have required bias and anti-harassment trainings at Block for years, we know we are only scratching the surface. We will dig deeper to understand how bias manifests within our company and train all associates on how to recognize their own bias and approach situations more equitably.

Specific actions:

  • Conduct a two-day racial equity and inclusion workshop for all H&R Block leaders representing more than 200 associates.
  • Create a more robust bias training and require all associates to take it by Fall 2020.
  1. We are ensuring our policies and business practices are explicit that any form of racial inequality is not tolerated within our company, and we will increase our efforts to promote and recognize important aspects of African American culture. We believe our policies must clearly state our anti-racism position, and we are undergoing a thorough review of all of our policies to include the appropriate language. In addition, we will remind associates of the anonymous, safe channels we provide to report concerns or violations of our policies. From our purchasing power to what we recognize and celebrate, we will highlight and include under-represented and marginalized groups.

Specific actions:

  • Recognize Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday as a paid corporate holiday.
  • Establish a minority-owned supplier program, beginning with an audit of our current suppliers and setting guidelines to increase the use of minority-owned businesses, including Black-owned businesses.
  • Ensure racism is specifically addressed in H&R Block’s Code of Conduct, and all other related policies.
  1. We are committing to help create vibrant neighborhoods in underserved, urban areas, and generating opportunities for Black business owners to thrive, especially in our hometown of Kansas City. Just six months ago, we launched our community impact program, Make Every Block Better, to fight isolationism and foster better connections among small business owners, as well as connections among neighbors. We intend to expand and be even more intentional with these efforts. Connections do help combat isolationism, but we believe connections also foster dialogue, which can help lead to understanding and ultimately actions that will stop systemic racism once and for all. We will form new partnerships and make sure all partners align with ending racism. In total, our community impact platform represents an investment of nearly $10 million over five years.

Specific actions:

  • Support 500,000+ small business owners over the next 5 years, ensuring 15% are business owners of color.
  • Donate 1 million volunteer hours over 5 years, ensuring 15% of the causes benefit disinvested communities.
  • Continue our hometown investment in the historically underserved and racially segregated neighborhoods on the east side of Kansas City, Mo., through partnerships with the Urban Neighborhood Initiative, Habitat for Humanity, and new partnerships with leading civil rights organizations to promote connected neighborhoods and affordable housing.
  • Partner nationally with Rebuilding Together and Habitat for Humanity to develop a new Make Every Block Better program dedicated to pursuing affordable housing, providing workforce development, and leveraging technology to advance inclusion in underserved urban neighborhoods.
  • Expand the pilot program at our corporate headquarters to help disadvantaged Black students prepare for entering the workforce by providing interview skill training, resume writing assistance, and an introduction to a career as a tax professional.

We are committed to these actions, as well as doing more to help achieve racial equality. We will report our progress in our first corporate social responsibility report that we will publish this fall. We want you to hold us accountable, too. As senior leaders of H&R Block, we believe strongly in the steps we are taking and will provide leadership throughout our company and within our communities to end racism. These actions will take time and effort, but we believe in the importance of taking a first step.

Jeffrey J. Jones II
President & Chief Executive Officer

Tony Bowen
Chief Financial Officer

Tom Gerke
General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer

Jamil Khan
Chief Strategy & Development Officer

Alan Lowden
Senior Vice President, Chief Information Officer

Tiffany Scalzitti Monroe
Chief People Officer

Karen Orosco
Senior Vice President, U.S. Retail

Daniel J. Rieger
Vice President, International and Expat

Vinoo Vijay
Chief Marketing Officer

Heather Watts
Senior Vice President, DIY Tax

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