Raytheon Technologies, a Waltham, Mass.-based company with about 16,000 employees in Connecticut, announced it will commit $500 million over the coming decade to open up more opportunities for young women, minorities and veterans.
The initiative — known as Connect Up — would focus on three connected areas: providing access to STEM education to groups who continue to be underrepresented in technology careers; supporting local communities by focusing on food insecurity and social justice issues; and helping veterans and military families land jobs in the civilian workforce.
Raytheon’s pledge was the latest from the private sector to arrive attached to eye-popping dollar amounts. Last October, JPMorgan Chase committed $30 billion to addressing racial inequality, much of it in the form of mortgage refinancing to help minority homeowners reduce their monthly costs and construction loans dedicated to affordable housing developments.
Greg Hayes, who led United Technologies into its April 2020 merger with Raytheon and remains CEO of the combined company, has already committed to many of Connect Up’s goals. In January, the company installed Marie Sylla-Dixon, who previously worked for T-Mobile and Verizon, as chief diversity officer.
“She’s going to accelerate our ongoing initiatives,” Hayes said in a February conference call. “She’s a member of my executive leadership team and she has wasted no time in getting to work.”
Raytheon’s Pratt & Whitney division is located in East Hartford, and Collins Aerospace has a large plant adjacent to Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks. The company has roughly 180,000 employees across the globe.
Between 2012 and 2018, UTC had reported $250 million in philanthropic support to some 6,000 organizations worldwide, for an average of more than $35 million annually. Raytheon did not disclose an aggregate dollar investment in the most recent corporate responsibility report it posted prior to the UTC merger.
“So much has changed in the way companies think about their role in society, their role in local communities [and] so much has changed about the expectations that employees have for the roles companies will play on serious societal issues,” said Randy Bumps, who leads corporate social responsibility initiatives at Raytheon, after holding a similar role at UTC’s in its Farmington headquarters. “Even before the merger, both companies were working really diligently to fine-tune their giving to a core group of focus areas.”
Bumps did not provide an estimate on how much of the $500 million earmarked for Connect Up would benefit Connecticut communities directly, but said Raytheon wants to spend the money where its employees live and work.
Since the start of the pandemic, Raytheon has donated $5 million to Feeding America; Connecticut food banks were among the largest recipients. It has otherwise furnished support to 140 organizations…