Warby Parker Among 23 Global Businesses Who Pledge to Support LGBTQ Refugees in Canada, Mexico and the U.S.

By
More Images
NEW YORK—The Tent Partnership for Refugees, a network of over 130 major companies committed to integrating refugees, and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC), the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, have joined forces to mobilize businesses in North America to support LGBTQ refugees. Altogether, 23 companies have announced their collective commitment to provide mentorship opportunities to approximately 1,250 LGBTQ refugees over the next three years. Among them is Warby Parker, according to an announcement yesterday.

At the North American Business Summit on LGBTQ Refugees, convened on Dec. 8 virtually by Tent and the Human Rights Campaign, these companies recognized the challenges for LGBTQ refugees as they seek to integrate into their new communities. The businesses have each pledged to mentor at least 50 LGBTQ refugees via their LGBTQ Employee Resource Group—preparing refugees to enter the job market, and gaining access to employment opportunities.

Eyewear company Warby Parker has committed to mentoring LGBTQ refugees in New York, whereas Hilton will mentor refugees in Dallas and Washington D.C., and Under Armour will focus its mentoring activities in Austin and Baltimore. Accenture, an HRC Platinum corporate partner, is expanding their commitment to inclusion by mentoring refugees in Toronto.

Other major companies, spanning sectors from health care to hospitality and from consulting to financial services, have also stepped up to mentor LGBTQ refugees across North America. They include: Accenture, ADP, AT&T Mexico, Bain & Company, CIBC, CompuCom, GSK, Chobani, Finastra, Hilton, Huron, IBM, Ipsos, Kearney, Medtronic, Nomura, SAP, Scotiabank, Softchoice, TD Bank Group, Under Armour, Von Wobeser y Sierra, and Warby Parker.

“Refugees have been disproportionately affected by the economic crisis, with many losing their jobs—and we know that LGBTQ refugees face even bigger hurdles,” said Hamdi Ulukaya, CEO of Chobani and founder of Tent. “Especially in the current economic climate, I am incredibly proud of the companies standing up for human rights and dignity—including Chobani. The business community must use its power to build more inclusive communities that protect the most vulnerable among us.”

Ulukaya was joined at the summit by Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign and a former refugee from Liberia; and Samantha Power, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and a member of President Obama’s cabinet.

“LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers are fleeing the same persecution and violence facing refugees across the world,” said Human Rights Campaign's Alphonso David, president. “LGBTQ refugees, like all people, deserve the ability to not only survive, but to thrive as newcomers. Partnering with Tent and the business community on this initiative will impact the lives of countless LGBTQ refugees.

Neil Blumenthal, co-founder and co-CEO of Warby Parker said, “Businesses and communities thrive when our teams are inclusive, equitable and diverse. As business leaders, we have a responsibility to ensure that anyone entering the workforce has the opportunity and resources they need to achieve their professional goals. Mentorship plays a critical role in that and our team is honored and excited to support LGBTQ+ refugees through this program.

"At Warby Parker, we’ve always strived to create an environment where our teams can bring their authentic selves to work. Our hope is that we can provide that support to the LGBTQ+ refugee community as they seek new and continued employment opportunities,” he said.