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Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is inherent in our company values at Databricks, but recent events and protests around the world have reminded us that there’s much more we can do to bring awareness to racial injustice and drive meaningful change.

This year’s theme at Spark + AI Summit was “DATA TEAMS UNITE!” and while we created the theme a while back, it took on a new meaning with broader visibility of the Black Lives Matter movement and protests we’ve seen across the globe. As we organized our first-ever virtual Summit this year, we knew we had a responsibility to unite the data community in an effort to make the positive impact we want and need to see. With over 60,000 people registered for the event, we saw an opportunity to use Spark + AI Summit as a platform to do just that. We partnered with two important organizations committed to driving change — the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and Center for Policing Equity — and organized a fundraising program during Spark + AI Summit. We encouraged the data community to join the cause and Databricks matched all donations.

I’m proud to share that together, we took a significant step in the right direction: with over $50,000  in donations plus the matching program, we raised  $101,626 for these important causes to continue the fight against social and racial injustice. We’re grateful to everyone who donated and inspired by what the data community can accomplish when we unite to help solve the world’s toughest problems.

Looking ahead, we can’t discount the importance of continuing to do our part to address racial injustice and empowering our employees and community to do more. We will always remain committed to making a difference — at Databricks, on behalf of our customers and partners, and in collaboration with the data community.

About the organizations

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is America’s premier legal organization fighting for racial justice. Through litigation, advocacy, and public education, LDF seeks structural changes to expand democracy, eliminate disparities, and achieve racial justice in a society that fulfills the promise of equality for all Americans. LDF also defends the gains and protections won over the past 75 years of civil rights struggle and works to improve the quality and diversity of judicial and executive appointments.

As a research and action think tank, Center for Policing Equity (CPE) produces analyses identifying and reducing the causes of racial disparities in law enforcement. Using evidence-based approaches to social justice, it uses data to create levers for social, cultural and policy change. CPE’s work continues to simultaneously aid police departments to realize their own equity goals as well as advance the scientific understanding of issues of equity within organizations and policing.

I encourage you to watch Co-founder and CEO, Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff’s keynote presentation at Spark + AI Summit where he discusses racism and the role data can play in changing policing.

“The role of nerds - data nerds and justice nerds - is not all that sexy, it is not in front of the camera and not at the front of the movement, but without it failure is absolutely guaranteed.” - Dr. Goff.