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TORONTO, June 29, 2020 – Diageo Canada, a leader in beverage alcohol with a portfolio that includes Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, Ciroc, Smirnoff, Guinness and more, today announced its commitment of $100K to support the CEE Centre for Young Black Professionals, a charity dedicated to addressing economic and social barriers affecting Black youth.

Focused on youth workforce development, education and advocacy to influence systems and policy, CEE is committed to creating a society and economy in which Black youth achieve financial prosperity and high quality of life for themselves and their families to contribute to the advancement of Canada.

“At CEE, we stand against racism in all its forms and practices. Our advocacy and program activities strive to mitigate the consequences and impact of structural racism,” said Agapi Gessesse, Executive Director, CEE Centre for Young Black Professionals. “We stand in solidarity with all others working to build a more equitable society and economy for all.”

Recognizing the need for immediate action, Diageo’s commitment will help support CEE in continuing to cultivate a talent pool of young Black professionals that can benefit the Canadian labour market, with specific focus on its Hospitality development initiative (CEE’s Kitchen Masters Program). CEE trains youth to gain employment in five (5) labour markets, Information Technology, Trades, Film, Social Services & Hospitality. These efforts include programs to improve their careers, education and empowerment that are holistic, culturally relevant and focused on individuals. Inspired by CEE’s commitment and dedication, through this donation and commitment Diageo Canada will empower the organization as a source for education and recruitment of talented Black professionals.   

“As a company committed to inclusivity and diversity, Diageo Canada has zero tolerance for racism and injustice,” said Jodi Rumble, VP, General Manager, Diageo Canada. “We know there is more work to be done and are committed to taking action and championing greater equality. Supporting CEE is just one of many steps we will take on this important journey in tackling anti-black racism within our society.”

The commitment follows Diageo’s recent U.S. announcement launching a Diageo Community Fund with $20 million that will support social justice in North America, helping Black communities and businesses recover from Covid-19, and part of a broader $100 million recovery fund to help bars and pubs welcome consumers back after lockdown.

Additionally, Diageo’s African Heritage Employee Resource Group (A.H.E.A.D.) will continue to help the company focus on the priorities and actions that will make the most meaningful impact to the Black community, both inside and outside of Diageo. The company also announced to its employees recently that it will double its existing matching program for charitable donations made during the month of June, contributing two dollars for every dollar contributed by employees.

To learn more about CEE or to donate, please visit ceetoronto.org , https://ceetoronto.org/donate , or call 416-492-3000.