Target’s CEO is doing damage control over a contribution the company gave to MN Forward, a group that is supporting Republican Tom Emmer’s bid for governor. MN Forward starting running TV ads last week supporting Emmer which prompted a backlash from GLBT groups.
Today, Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel sent a letter to Target employees explaining the contribution and their position on GLBT rights. Here’s the letter:
Dear Target Team,
In the past week I’ve heard from some of you, including our GLBT team members, regarding your concerns with Target’s recent contributions to MN Forward, an independent expenditure committee that is supported by a broad coalition of large and small businesses throughout the state, including the Minnesota Business Partnership and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce.
As you know, Target has a history of supporting organizations and candidates, on both sides of the aisle, who seek to advance policies aligned with our business objectives, such as job creation and economic growth. MN Forward is focused specifically on those issues and is committed to supporting candidates from any party who will work to improve the state’s job climate. However, it is also important to note that we rarely endorse all advocated positions of the organizations or candidates we support, and we do not have a political or social agenda.
In the context of this contribution, some of you have raised questions regarding our commitment to diversity, and more specifically, the GLBT community. Let me be very clear, Target’s support of the GLBT community is unwavering, and inclusiveness remains a core value of our company. Some current examples of that support include:
• Domestic Partner Benefits
• Sponsorship of Twin Cities Pride
• Sponsorship of Out & Equal Workplace Summit
In addition, Target’s rating of 100% on the 2009 and 2010 Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index further demonstrates the reputation our company has earned.
As CEO, I consider it my responsibility to create conditions in which Target can thrive, and I promise to do so with the best interests of our guests, team, shareholders and communities in mind. I appreciate your input and understanding.
Chairman, President and CEO
Update: Gregg Steinhafel and his wife gave $2,000 each to Emmer. That’s the maximum amount allowed by law.