The Warner Music Group / Blavatnik Family Foundation Social Justice Fund (WMG/BFF SJF) today announced the appointment of Lorelei Williams as its first Executive Director. Based in New York, Williams will serve as an employee of Moore Impact, the Fund’s fiscal sponsor, and report to the organization’s President, Yvonne Moore.
Williams will work closely with the Fund’s Board to bring to life its vision of building more equitable communities and creating real change in the lives of historically underserved and marginalized populations through investing in organizations at the forefront of this work.
“We’re thrilled to have Lorelei join us to help lead our grantmaking strategy, which is focused on three guiding pillars – education, criminal justice reform, and culture and the performing arts,” said Mark Baker, WMG/BFF SJF Board member and SVP, Public Policy & Government Affairs, WMG. “Her extensive background in social justice philanthropy on a global scale and community development make her a perfect fit for this role. With her strategic oversight and direction, the Board is confident that it will make a sustained, long-term impact in advancing equity and justice around the world.”
“Structural racism, economic inequality and the COVID-19 pandemic have converged with devastating impact, especially for Black communities in the U.S. and the African Diaspora,” said Lorelei Williams, Executive Director, WMG/BFF SJF. “We have a powerful opportunity – and obligation – to radically reimagine and rebuild a more just society. In partnership with our dynamic Board, I look forward to building an innovative Fund that leverages the power of culture, advocacy and direct action to create real change in the lives of historically underserved and marginalized populations.”
Prior to joining the WMG/BFF SJF, Williams served as Senior Vice President of Grant Programs at Comic Relief U.S., a nonprofit that uses the power of entertainment to help eliminate world poverty. While there, she launched a new grantmaking pillar focused on economic empowerment, providing thousands of low-income youth with access to job training, job placement and investment in youth-led social enterprises. In addition, she inaugurated a Youth Advisory Council, composed of eight trailblazing young leaders who now inform the strategy for Red Nose Day – a fundraising campaign to end child poverty that culminates with a special night of programming on NBC. Williams was also instrumental in increasing Comic Relief’s investment in BIPOC organizations by 25%.
Before Comic Relief, Williams spent more than 15 years working as a philanthropic strategist with a focus on the U.S., South America, and Sub-Saharan Africa. For the majority of those years, she was President of Onira Global Advisors, where she provided counsel on fundraising, grantmaking, and program design to foundations and nonprofit organizations around the globe. Her clients included the Kellogg Foundation, Ford Foundation, Brazil Foundation, and The Brazilian Institute of Ethnic Media. As a Fulbright fellow in Salvador da Bahia, Williams founded the POMPA project in partnership with the Steve Biko Institute to train Afro-Brazilian youth for public service careers. She also served as Co-Chair of the Civil Society Committee for the U.S. State Department’s U.S.-Brazil Joint Action Plan to End Racial Discrimination (JAPER).
Williams holds a B.A. from Yale University in Political Science and African American Studies and a master’s degree in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
The appointment of Williams as Executive Director follows the release of the WMG/BFF SJF’s annual report, which gives a comprehensive overview of the Fund’s intentional grantmaking structure, investments, and grantee programming and partnerships during its first year.
For more information on the Fund, please visit https://www.wmg.com/fund.