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Target CEO addresses MN Forward contribution, says company supports GLBT community

Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel did some damage control in a letter to employees that responded to concerns that the company might be backing down on its support of the GLBT — Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender — community.

Questions had been raised because of Target’s large contribution to the political group MN Forward, which is running ad supporting Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, who opposes gay marriage.

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.

Comments (10)

  1. Submitted by Mohammed Ali Bin Shah on 07/27/2010 - 01:36 pm.

    The tactics of the JournOlisters live one. If you don’t like a policy, start calling it bigoted or racist, ample evidence to the contrary not withstanding. The CEO did not do damage control – he gently slapped the GLBTers with the truth. I WILL shop at Target because of this.

  2. Submitted by Stephan Flister on 07/27/2010 - 02:28 pm.

    As an individual donor, Mr. Steinhafel is fond of Republicans.

  3. Submitted by Don Medal on 07/27/2010 - 04:31 pm.

    I don’t think Steinhafel (or Target) really got “it”. Their support of GLBT issues is incompatible with conservative politics, from either side of the divide. Emmer represents forces which seek to undo the things Target professes to support, the GLBT community seeks to undo Emmer. Straddling a fence that far apart is likely to result in anatomical damage.

  4. Submitted by Robert Ryan on 07/27/2010 - 08:20 pm.

    I used to check companies on (before it closed up shop). I always found it interesting that Walmart was actually more balanced in its political contributions than Target, but Target marketed itself as a liberal company. A lot of people I know who are very liberal would not think of shopping at Walmart but were happy to spend their $$ at Target, while Target (and it’s management)were busy supporting conservative candidates. That was before the SCOTUS opened up the floodgates of direct corporate support for Republicans. I think shoppers need to take note.

  5. Submitted by Chad Johnson on 07/28/2010 - 12:05 pm.

    I would say Mr. Steinhafel isn’t just fond of Republicans, he worships at their feet:

  6. Submitted by Wynn Landon on 07/28/2010 - 01:15 pm.

    Lesslie Newbigin wrote, “No tolerance can be infinite. It must be tolerant of intolerance, and when that tragic situation is forced upon us, we cannot help facing the question of truth” (A Faith for this One World?, 39).

    The actions of the LGBT community are intolerant of any moral movement against their cause and therefore should be examined as hypocritical in nature, ideologically based, and as a movement which desires to discriminate against people who care to voice opinions that stand in opposition of their own. Those radically involved in such movements are equally guilty of human rights violations.

  7. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 07/28/2010 - 02:33 pm.

    If Target is serious about supporting policies that support job creation and economic growth, how can they possibly justify supporting the candidate who would not only continue the disastrous economic policies of Tim Pawlenty but actually exceed them???

    Slashing taxes does nothing to benefit business, except perhaps to those whose vision is limited to today. We cannot continue to shortchange the physical and social/educational infrastructure Minnesota businesses have counted on for decade after decade.

  8. Submitted by Diane Clare on 07/28/2010 - 04:27 pm.

    I don’t know about anybody elses family, neighbors, and friends, but I do have some of each currently employed by Target.
    When it comes to supporting my local economy, I figure politics is better left out of it. Consider the big picture, you might help put some near and dear in the unemployment line as you make your point to Mr. Steinhafel.
    Target, if not one of MN larger employers, employees many all across the state. There are at least 3 Targets located in what I consider my local shopping area, and I would never boycott my local economy, no way, no how.

  9. Submitted by Bruce Pomerantz on 07/28/2010 - 09:42 pm.

    Supporting Emmer for governor is supporting an effort to mimic Alabama and Mississippi: low taxes and lower economic well-being and very little in the way of supporting education. If this is what the Target CEO wants, then he should move Target HQ to either of these two states.

    I’m boycotting Target because it involved itself with politics.

  10. Submitted by Dave Hildebrand on 07/30/2010 - 12:34 am.

    Steinhafel states that “arget has a history of supporting organizations and candidates…who seek to advance policies aligned with our business objectives,” and goes on to claim pride in the support of the GLBT community. However, in supporting a candidate that is staunchly anti-gay, it brings into question in my mind if he is truly practicing what he is preaching.

    I hope the HRC seriously looks at this when they start producing their Corporate Equality Guide for 2011. If he is proud of his 100% rating the last two years, maybe that is the reality check he needs to realize what a buffon he is making himself look like.

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