Ally Financial again is organizing support for a variety of initiatives now that Black History Month is underway, saying that access to careers with long-term growth potential is still not equal for everyone.

To address this inequity, the company announced on Tuesday more than $1.3 million in scholarships and programs to open new pathways for Black students and candidates in a variety of professions, including legal, public policy, insurance and other roles within financial services.

Ally said it is working closely with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and other professional and university groups to spur success for Black candidates in professions that have largely eluded them.

“The data shows 86% of lawyers are white, just a mere 2.4% of actuaries are Black, and it’s no secret financial services as a whole remains predominantly white and male,” Ally chief diversity officer Reggie Willis said in a news release.

“We believe one of the best ways we can honor and remember our Black history is by actively working for a brighter Black future,” Willis continued. “By providing targeted financial support and mentorship at the college, post-grad and recruitment levels, we can help fill opportunity gaps and promote lasting career development.”

Ally said it will make the following investments in career opportunities for Black candidates:

Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) legal and public policy scholarships

Ally is sponsoring three scholarships in collaboration with the CBCF to support increased Black representation in the legal and public policy professions.

Ally and CBCF will provide one legal scholarship for $20,000, renewable up to four years, to an undergraduate senior who is entering an accredited law school upon graduation. That recipient will receive a four-year scholarship in the amount of $20,000 annually.

Each year, the company said a new, four-year scholarship will be awarded to an additional recipient.

Ally added that it will also award two one-year, non-renewable $10,000 scholarships to two undergraduates pursuing degrees in public policy or a related area of study.

Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) legal scholarships

Ally highlighted that it will sponsor two scholarships in collaboration with TMCF, renewable up to four years, each in the amount of $20,000 for undergraduate seniors who are entering an accredited law school upon graduation.

Each year, two new recipients will be selected.

More importantly, Ally highlighted the TMCF and CBCF legal and public policy scholarships include a mentoring component to provide students with professional insights that can help them successfully navigate law school and potential career opportunities.

Moguls in the Making 2021 financial services scholarships

Ally and TMCF said it will host their third consecutive Moguls in the Making business pitch competition in the fall and will begin accepting applications on March 1.

To recap, the event offers Historically Black College and University (HBCU) students an opportunity to learn and practice vital business skills, while earning scholarships and internship opportunities at Ally that often turn into long-term employment positions within the company.

Ally mentioned that it has hired seven full-time employees and 29 interns through the program since it began two years ago.

Insurance scholarship and recruitment funding

The company recapped that Ally’s insurance unit has invested in career pathways for Black candidates in the actuary, operations and sales areas.

This strategy includes joining the corporate advisory council of the International Association of Black Actuaries to help drive interest in actuarial science as well as providing scholarships; giving $100,000 in scholarships at Southern Illinois University for those pursing automotive technology educations; and contributing to Michigan State University’s Sales Leadership Minor program.

After working with CBCF for several years, Ally noted that it expanded its scholarship commitment with the organization based on the significant contributions it has made to growing diversity in the public policy arena.

“We need companies like Ally Financial who want to step up and help cultivate the next generation of legal and public policy practitioners,” CBCF president and chief executive officer Tonya Veasey said in the news release.

“Together, we can do so much more to advance the Black community by fostering educational advancement and pipelines to career opportunities for students who might not otherwise have access,” Veasey continued.

Ally and TMCF mentioned that they are entering their 15th year of working together to build a relationship that provides students with professional experience and new possibilities and the company with strong employees who bring diverse ideas and perspectives.

The organizations also noted the collaboration has spanned a variety of internship, mentoring, entrepreneurship and leadership programs all designed to provide added exposure to and access into business and financial services for talented Black students.

“Solving diversity issues takes more than funding. It also takes trusted connections and long-term commitments that lead to the kinds of innovative approaches that will work,” said Harry Williams, president and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

“The collaborative nature of the relationship we’ve long enjoyed with Ally has enabled us to make a real difference in the lives of the students we support,” Williams went on to say.