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Goldman Sachs Ends ‘Launch With GS’ Diversity Initiative, Vows Continued Commitment

However, Goldman Sachs says it is not abandoning its commitment to diversity.

Goldman Sachs is shuttering its 2018 Launch with GS diversity initiative after claiming it has fulfilled its promise of investing $1 billion into companies that are led, owned, and founded by women and people of color. As Fortune reported, when it committed to invest in diverse companies, Goldman Sachs also said it would only help companies make initial public offerings with at least one diverse director on its boards.

In the 2018 blog post that announced the program, Stephanie Cohen, then chief strategy officer, wrote that the goal of the Launch with GS program was to “generate strong investment returns,” which was backed by research indicating that companies with at least one diverse board member outperformed companies with no diverse board members. 

Goldman Sachs said it was not abandoning its commitment to diversity, even though some staff members who worked on Launch with GS have been moved to other projects. Regina Green, who was named head of Launch with GS in 2021, announced her plans to exit the company earlier in January via a LinkedIn post. Green wrote, “I’m so proud of the work we’ve done, the founders and managers we’ve partnered with, and the impact we’ve had so far.”

Green went on to say that she wanted to “partner with and invest in emerging managers funding innovative solutions for our most challenging problems.”

Goldman Sachs is continuing its work on its One Million Black Women initiative, a 10-year promise it made in 2021 to give $10 million in investment capital and $100 million in aid to address the “dual disproportionate gender and racial biases that Black women have faced for generations.” It currently has four designated team members working on the program. So far, $2.3 billion has gone toward that goal. Goldman Sachs Global Head of Corporate Engagement and Foundation President Asahi Pompey told Fortune, “We have integrated the sourcing and ecosystem into our existing [asset and wealth management] business. Our investors are always thinking opportunistically about finding fantastic investments … and we know that diverse companies outperform … Launch was a way to widen our aperture.”

Pompey also said that the firm was focused on what lies ahead rather than what it previously accomplished through Launch with GS, telling the outlet that its “focus is very much on the $8 billion that lies ahead of us”: an allusion to its One Million Black Women program.

Goldman Sachs’ focus on diversity currently flies in the face of a broad pushback on diversity and inclusion initiatives in the business world that was emboldened by the Supreme Court’s decision to end affirmative action, citing the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

Founders and emerging managers, and specifically those who are women or people of color, have found it more difficult to raise funds in recent years. Between 2021 and 2022, fundraising by managers declined by nearly 35%, and in 2023 the depressed fundraising market continued, resulting in emerging managers receiving less than $20 billion in committed funds. That was the first time that had occurred since 2016. 

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