Established last summer, the Warner Music Group/Blavatnik Family Foundation Social Justice Fund will award $100 million over ten years to organizations working to build more equitable communities and create sustainable change for historically underserved and marginalized populations. OneUnited Bank, the largest Black-owned bank in the United States, serves as the fund's banking partner, while Moore Impact, a division of a Black woman-owned start-up, Moore Philanthropy, serves as fiscal sponsor.
The inaugural grant recipients include the Florida Rights Restoration Commission, which will use the funding to help more than forty thousand formerly incarcerated individuals become eligible to vote by paying their remaining legal and financial fees; Howard University, which will use its five-year, multimillion-dollar grant to launch a new music business center at its school of business; and the Rhythm & Blues Foundation, which will provide financial and medical assistance to legacy R&B artists facing severe economic challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The other recipients are the Black Cultural Archives, which collects, preserves, and celebrates the histories of people of African and Caribbean descent in the United Kingdom; Black Futures Lab, which encourages Black voters to use their political power to build a democracy that works for all; and REFORM Alliance, which is working to dramatically reduce the number of people who are unjustly impacted the criminal justice system, starting with probation and parole.
"Over the past eight months, we've crafted a grantmaking strategy focused on three key pillars — education, criminal justice, and cultural and performing arts — that promote narrative change about the Black experience," said Tanya Coke, a member of the WMG/BFF advisory board and director of gender, racial and ethnic justice at the Ford Foundation. "This first tranche of grants — to organizations 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."
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