The Warner Music Group / Blavatnik Family Foundation Social Justice Fund (WMG/BFF SJF) announced today the release of its Impact Report and spring 2023 grantee partners. The Impact Report highlights the fund’s efforts to advance social and racial justice by assisting organizations at the intersection of arts and culture, education, and criminal justice reform through grant-making, capacity-building, and community-building.
Lorelei Williams, Executive Director of the WMG/BFF SJF, said, “The fight for social and racial justice requires a long-term commitment, and the WMG/BFF SJF is dedicated to supporting global transformation that ensures a lasting impact on future generations. The past three years have been a powerful journey of partnerships with a diverse array of activists, artists, organizers, and entertainment industry leaders. The work is far from done, but we must acknowledge the hard-won milestones our grantee partners have reached in addressing anti-Black racism, driving change in the criminal legal system, diversifying the music industry, and catalyzing cultural innovation.”
The Impact Report highlights the WMG/BFF SJF’s impact from July 2021 to June 2023, as it aims to counter the chronic underinvestment of organizations led by Black and other historically marginalized people.
With the WMG/BFF SJF’s support, grantee partners have been able to build new programs, scale up their work, and make substantive changes:
- In partnership with the SJF, this year, Borealis’ Communities Transforming Policing Fund has resourced 64 grantees in 28 states, along with Washington DC and Puerto Rico – its largest cohort to date. Grantees are piloting community-based approaches to safety; advocating for police-free schools; increasing accountability in policing; and supporting victims of police violence and their families.
- Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC) serves thousands of members with an array of prison in-reach and supportive programs. ARC has reported a less than 5% recidivism rate among members. Its Second Chance apprenticeship program achieved a 71% placement rate, collaborating with large media companies to place participants in rotational programs, internships, and creative paid opportunities.
- Howard University’s Warner Music / Blavatnik Center for Music Business served over 3,000 HU students; awarded over $850,000 in scholarships to student fellows pursuing music industry careers; provided full-time employment and internships to 75% of Center fellows; and was recognized in Billboard Magazine as one of the top music business schools in the nation.
- Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) advanced strategic campaigns to end Title 42 and held meetings with the White House, Congressional leaders, and the United Nations.
- Gender Amplified is expanding opportunities for women and nonbinary music producers in the music industry, raising their visibility; providing engineering resources; safe spaces to collaborate; game-changing introductions to record labels and music supervisors; and enabling participants to retain 100% ownership of their music.
- Diversify the Stage’s Inclusion Initiative has become part of Live Nations’ DEI policy nationwide to create a pipeline of professionals in the live music sector from underrepresented groups and to increase the diversity and strength of the talent pool in this industry.
- Black Lives in Music is at the vanguard of efforts to address systemic racism in the UK music industry, sparking dialogue and advocacy around structural racism, gender gaps, and pay disparity. They’ve recently launched an Anti-Racism Code of Conduct in partnership with key players in the UK music industry.
- ARRAY Crew grew significantly from 3,000 members to 10,000 members. The platform enables studio executives and hiring managers to access a pipeline of women and people of color to staff television and film crew. More than 1,250 productions have used the ARRAY Crew app to hire.
- Manos Visibles in Colombia is equipping Afrodescendent cultural producers to shift the national narrative around race and ethnicity in their country through music and film production. Its PacificoMaster Beat program has trained 60 emerging music producers to create a brand of emerging music development in the Colombian scene.
- The Brazil Human Rights Fund is supporting 25 Black-led grassroots organizations addressing systemic violence in their communities by advancing racial equity, LGBTQ+ rights, and criminal justice reform.
The Impact Report includes the Fund’s new 2023 spring docket, which consists of 13 organizations receiving more than $4 million in grants. Spring 2023 grantee partners include:
Arts & Culture Pillar
Criminal Justice Reform Pillar
- Black Lives in Music
- Girls Make Beats (GMB)
- No Label Academy*
- Project Level
- The Sarz Academy
*No Label Academy is in partnership with Warner Music Group artist IDK.
Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum of Harlem – which represents the Fund’s focus on leveraging music and culture to transform communities – added, “All of us at The Studio Museum in Harlem are excited to begin a partnership with the Warner Music Group / Blavatnik Family Foundation Social Justice Fund. With the organization’s amazing support, The Studio Museum will center and celebrate artists of African descent, sharing this work widely through deep engagement with our Harlem communities and beyond, as we look to opening our new building. We are inspired by the Fund’s visionary work and mission, and its incredible investment in creating a more equitable future.”
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