JFF’s Recover Stronger Initiative Brings Leading U.S. Companies Together; Calls for an Inclusive, and People-Centric Economic Recovery

BOSTON, June 10, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — JFF announced today the launch of the #RecoverStronger Initiative[1], joined by some of the world’s largest and most innovative companies in a shared commitment to business values and practices that prioritize worker well-being and economic mobility in response to COVID-19. Through its Initiative, JFF is calling on companies to lead as Impact Employers[2] —organizations focused on talent strategies that make a positive impact on workers and communities—in response to the nation’s historic unemployment crisis.

The members of the #RecoverStronger Initiative’s Founding Coalition have also vowed to stand against the forces of systemic racism as the country looks to come together, heal, and recover from its current state of crisis.

“This pandemic has exposed the inequalities and gaps that pervade our existing social contract, which have been further magnified by racist acts of violence against Black people and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on people of color. This confluence of crises creates an opportunity for corporate America to show the leadership, compassion, and innovation that millions of Americans are desperate for,” said Maria Flynn[3], president and CEO of JFF. “We are proud to launch the #RecoverStronger Initiative, which champions a values-driven economic model that will help put people and their communities at the forefront of our nation’s recovery. With a combined footprint of well over 2 million workers, companies in the Founding Coalition have the market power to help our country build back better than we were before this crisis.”

“When you invest in your workforce, you’re investing in society. At Autodesk, we are proud to be a Founding Coalition member of Recover Stronger and are committed to building a resilient, diverse, and equitable culture at all levels,” said Andrew Anagnost, president and CEO of Autodesk. “Last month, we made every Autodesk employee an owner of the company through recently deployed stock grants. This is just one step in the right direction to driving a more inclusive workforce and equitable world.”

More than 42 million people[4] have filed for unemployment in the United States since the onset of COVID-19, and millions of additional workers[5] fear for their long-term job security in the worst job market since the Great Depression. The economic devastation brought on by COVID-19 has amplified the inequality that is deeply ingrained in our society. People of color[6], women[7], and workers under 45[8] have been hit particularly hard.

Founding Coalition members are demonstrating how companies can support an equitable economic recovery. They are leading with a variety of shared-value talent practices that create opportunity and mobility for their people. These include strategies that put people-centered shared values into practice, such as more inclusive hiring practices, development programs that help employees prepare for and thrive in a shifting labor market, total rewards programs that create greater job security and stability, and ethical offboarding strategies that help workers position themselves for new opportunities in growing fields. By joining this Founding Coalition, they’re encouraging industry peers to join them.

“The #RecoverStronger Initiative is about recognizing that we need to go beyond simply bouncing back from our current economic challenges. We do not seek to rebuild our prior system, which perpetuated inequality. Instead, we need to structure this recovery in a way that brings opportunity and prosperity for all people in a more equitable fashion. We selected each of our Founding Coalition partners because they have demonstrated that they not only understand that need, but that they are committing to being leaders in that effort,” said Cat Ward[9], managing director at JFF. “The people hit hardest by this crisis are, and will continue to be, the engine of the American economy, and we want to ensure that everyone can share in the prosperity that follows this recovery.”

Following today’s launch of #RecoverStronger at JFF’s national Horizons[10] summit, additional companies will be invited to join the initiative. To participate, interested companies must publicly support the Recovery Commitment for Impact Employers[11]. The Commitment is open to any Fortune 500 corporation, as well as other qualifying U.S. companies. It includes a statement of values declaring that people will remain at the center of each Coalition member’s operations, values, mission, and purpose.

As part of #RecoverStronger, JFF will produce and curate guidance to support major employers in applying people-centered strategies through the recovery that will lead to greater economic opportunity and mobility. Specifically, JFF will release the Recovery Playbook for Impact Employers; promote relevant tools and resources from partner organizations; and produce case studies that detail how Founding Coalition members apply people-centered strategies and policies. Recover Stronger will conclude in early 2021 with a public report that assesses the state of corporate America’s efforts in applying strategies to ensure a more equitable economic recovery.



“When you invest in your workforce, you’re investing in society. At Autodesk, we are proud to be a Founding Coalition member of Recover Stronger and are committed to building a resilient, diverse, and equitable culture at all levels. Last month, we made every Autodesk employee an owner of the company through recently deployed stock grants. This is just one step in the right direction to driving a more inclusive workforce and equitable world.” – Andrew Anagnost, president and CEO, Autodesk[12]


“It is critical that expanding access to economic opportunity creates more inclusive growth, addressing the needs of those who have been most impacted by the health and economic crisis. Joining JFF’s Recover Stronger coalition with other corporate leaders will provide more resources and tools to ensure everyone has the skills, knowledge and opportunity to succeed in the economic recovery.” – Kate Behncken, Vice President and Lead for Microsoft Philanthropies[13]


“At Postmates, our people are the heart and engine of our business. During these trying times, we’ve made critical investments in their health, safety, and wellbeing. As we move forward, we’re also thinking creatively about how we can use our platform and product to advance racial justice and contribute to a more equitable future. We’re thrilled to be a part of the Founding Coalition that’s helping us all Recover Stronger.” – Bastian Lehmann, CEO, Postmates[14]


“To intentionally build a diverse workforce, we need to apply a lens of inclusivity to every decision we make. Our participation in the #RecoverStronger Initiative underscores our commitment to building a future where everyone thrives.” – Ebony Beckwith, Chief Philanthropy Officer, Salesforce[15]


“We are very proud to be a member of the founding coalition for Recover Stronger. Even before today’s economic crisis, Walmart’s response to an economy going through a technology-fueled transformation has been focused on investing in associates. The current economic crisis has only added urgency to the need for practical training and education opportunities for Americans, especially those who do not fit the historic profile of a fulltime student.” – Drew Holler, Senior Vice President, Associate Experience and Operations HR, Walmart[16] US.


“Fostering an equitable future and closing the opportunity divide by creating onramps to thriving-wage careers is more important than ever—and requires that we all come together to address critical issues—like racial equality and injustice—head on. We’re grateful for the opportunity to further our commitment by standing alongside other leaders who share our people-first approach to business to help build a better, healthier, and more inclusive future together.” – Carrie Varoquiers, president, Workday Foundation & vice president, Global Impact & Employee Life, Workday[17]

About JFF

JFF is a national nonprofit that drives transformation in the American workforce and education systems. For more than 35 years, JFF has led the way in designing innovative and scalable solutions that create access to economic advancement for all. Join us as we build a future that works. www.jff.org[18]

For more information, please contact JFF’s Communications team at media@jff.org[19].

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