2022 Freedom Award Honoree Frederick W. Smith

On October 20, the National Civil Rights Museum honored our Founder and Executive Chairman, Frederick W. Smith, with the 2022 Freedom Award for his achievements in building bridges of opportunity for underserved communities. 

Committed to making FedEx a beacon of hope and progress for Memphis and beyond, Mr. Smith has focused on putting people first and respect for everyone has always been an everyday business practice. The bedrock of this philosophy is simple – if you treat people with dignity and respect, they will deliver the best service to customers and help ensure the company’s success. 

From the beginning, Mr. Smith has understood that to serve a diverse world, the company needs a diverse team with insight into cultures and community needs. In fact, the company first launched diversity programs in 1973 – a time when many American businesses had not yet begun to focus on workplace diversity and inclusion.

In his acceptance speech, Mr. Smith said, “I believe that business success and social progress can go hand in hand. My hope is that others can see this award as ‘shining a light’ on the role business can play in building a more just society.”

To this end, Mr. Smith has championed support for organizations devoted to freedom and equality to ensure that diversity, civil rights, and human rights remain at the forefront of corporate citizenship.  Some of these include the National Civil Rights Museum, the African American Museum of History and Culture, UnidosUS, Dress for Success Worldwide, Hiring Our Heroes, and the Trevor Project. His leadership has also resulted in investments supporting eight Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

To learn more about Mr. Smith’s life and achievements, view the video tribute from the National Civil Rights Museum.

For more information about other charitable investments in Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, please visit FedEx Cares