As part of its ongoing mission to invest $100 million in organisations focused on achieving social justice, the Warner Music Group/Blavatnik Family Foundation Social Justice Fund has announced its initial six grant recipients.
As well as UK organisation Black Cultural Archives, the recipients are Black Futures Lab, Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC), Howard University, Reform Alliance and Rhythm & Blues Foundation.
Based in Brixton’s Windrush Square, Black Cultural Archives is the home of Black British History. It was conceived in 1981 as a monument to hold space for the histories of people from across the African diaspora in British culture and history.
The organisation uses its mission to collect, preserve and celebrate the histories of people of African and Caribbean descent in the UK and to inspire and give strength to individuals, communities and society. At its Brixton headquarters, the BCA runs a series of gallery exhibitions, educational programmes and public engagement events. BCA provides free access to its unique set of archives, museum objects and reference library.
The WMG/BFF SJF was established in June 2020 in the wake of the brutal killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless other Black people. The Fund serves as an acknowledgement of the contributions Black culture has made to the profitability of today’s music industry.
Over 10 years, the Fund will invest in organisations around the globe that build more equitable communities and create real change in the lives of historically underserved and marginalised populations – with heightened attention to Black communities.
“We have been intentional in structuring the Fund as a separate legal entity to support organizations that are on the front lines of advancing equity and justice for all people,” said Camille Hackney, president of the WMG/BFF SJF and chief partnerships officer at Atlantic Records/head of global brand partnerships council at Warner Music Group. “Our Fund intends to not only work to effect structural change through our contributions, but also support Black-owned and led businesses as a core way of operating.”
The Fund has chosen OneUnited Bank – the largest Black-owned bank in the US – as its banking partner, and Moore Impact – a division of a Black woman-owned start-up Moore Philanthropy, led by Yvonne L. Moore – as its fiscal sponsor.
Tanya Coke, WMG/BFF advisory board member and the director of Gender, Racial and Ethnic Justice at the Ford Foundation, said: “Over the past eight months, we’ve crafted a grant-making strategy focused on three key pillars – education, criminal justice, and cultural and performing arts – that promote narrative change about the Black experience. This first tranche of grants – to organisations providing a range of needed services and advocacy to effectuate meaningful change – reflects these guiding principles, as well as the values of Warner Music Group and the Blavatnik Family Foundation.”
“Providing opportunities for underserved communities in education in the arts paves the way for equal opportunity and representation in the music industry and beyond,” said Len Blavatnik, chairman of the Blavatnik Family Foundation. “The Fund’s commitment to a sustained effort to achieve change and results will have a lasting, positive impact.”
Warner Music Group’s ongoing diversity, equity and inclusion efforts include the creation of a Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council, employee resource groups, and a DEI team led by Dr Maurice A Stinnett, who also sits on the Fund’s advisory board. Each grantee will meet with Dr Stinnett and other key WMG execs to explore additional partnership opportunities.