Universal Music Group commits $25 million for 'meaningful change'

Universal Music Group commits $25 million for 'meaningful change'

Universal Music Group has established a Task Force for Meaningful Change (TFMC) and a $25 million Change Fund in support of efforts to advance social justice and racial equity, Rolling Stone reports. 

In a letter to colleagues obtained by Rolling Stone, TFMC co-chairs Jeff Harleston, executive vice president and general counsel of UMG and interim chair and CEO of Def Jam, and Ethiopia Habtemariam, president of Motown Records and EVP of Capitol Music Group, identified six focus areas — aid/charitable giving, global, internal/institutional change, legislative/public policy, partners, and programming/curation — as well as steps the task force is taking "to be both a resource and ally to our internal and external community."

"[TFMC] was created as a driving force for the ongoing fight for equality, justice, and inclusion," wrote Harleston and Habtemariam. "We are charged with reviewing the company's commitment to addressing and promoting tolerance, equality, and elimination of bias, within UMG, the music community, and the world at large."

As part of the aid/charitable giving component, the Change Fund will award grants to organizations working to advance economic empowerment and business development, affordable housing, legal services and bail reform, and mental health services. Recipients of the initial round of grants include Black Girl VenturesBlack Lives Matter, the Black Mental Health Alliance, the Colin Kaepernick FoundationColor Of Change, the Equal Justice Initiative, the National Association of Black JournalistsSilence the Shame, the Sickle Cell Disease Foundation of California, the Bail Project, and When We All Vote.

According to the letter, the task force already has held employee town hall meetings with guest speakers, launched letter-writing campaigns demanding that members of Congress take action, matched employees' contributions to justice-focused nonprofits, and created a legal volunteer action center and voter action center.

"It is our mission to identify the gaps and deficiencies and to strengthen UMG's plan with new initiatives," the letter states. "And EVERYTHING is on the table."

(Photo credit: Black Lives Matter)