Warner names six initial recipients of grants from its $100m Social Justice Fund – Music Business Worldwide

 Warner names six initial recipients of grants from its $100m Social Justice Fund – Music Business Worldwide

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Warner Music Group and the Blavatnik Family Foundation have named an initial six grant recipients from the $100 million Social Justice Fund announced last year.


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The recipients include the Black Cultural Archives, Black Futures Lab, Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC), Howard University, REFORM Alliance and Rhythm & Blues Foundation.

The Fund’s Board will announce grant recipients twice a year with its second tranche to follow this fall.

The Fund was established in June 2020 in the wake of the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless other Black people and 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 organizations around the globe that build more equitable communities and create real change in the lives of historically underserved and marginalized populations – with heightened attention to Black communities.

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.

Moore will play a key role in the distribution of the funds.  The Advisory Board includes five external members whose counsel and expertise in social justice have been invaluable to defining the Fund’s mission and strategic direction.

The WMG/BFF SJF is one expression of Warner Music Group’s ongoing diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging efforts, which 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 executives to explore additional partnership opportunities.


One of the grant recipients (the full list can be seen below), Howard University, will receive a multimillion-dollar grant over the course of five years that will go toward the launch of a new music business center at Howard University School of Business.

Described as a “first-of-its-kind at any historically Black College or University (HBCU)”, the center will create curriculum development, internship opportunities, executive-in-residence and certification programs, as well as a new recording studio.

With the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, the funds have helped over 40,000 returning citizens (i.e., formerly convicted persons) become eligible to vote by paying their remaining legal and financial fees.

For the Rhythm & Blues Foundation, the grant will help provide financial and medical assistance to legacy R&B artists who have been confronted with unprecedented economic challenges due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

“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.”

Camille Hackney, WMG

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, said:  “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.

“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.”

“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.”

Tanya Coke, WMG/BFF Advisory Board / Ford Foundation

Tanya Coke, WMG/BFF Advisory Board member and the Director of Gender, Racial and Ethnic Justice at the Ford Foundation, added: “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.

“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.”

“The Fund’s commitment to a sustained effort to achieve change and results will have a lasting, positive impact.”

Len Blavatnik

Len Blavatnik, Chairman of the Blavatnik Family Foundation, said:  “Providing opportunities for underserved communities in education in the arts paves the way for equal opportunity and representation in the music industry and beyond.

“The Fund’s commitment to a sustained effort to achieve change and results will have a lasting, positive impact.”

Grant Recipients:

  • Howard University is a private, federally chartered historically HBCU, comprising 13 schools and colleges in Washington D.C. Students pursue studies in more than 140 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees.
  • Rhythm & Blues Foundation is dedicated to the historical and cultural preservation of R&B music. The idea for the foundation grew out of royalties discussions in 1987 between artists’ rights attorney Howell Begle, Atlantic Records artist Ruth Brown, and Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun.
  • REFORM Alliance aims to reduce the number of people who are unjustly under the control of the criminal justice system – starting with probation and parole. It leverages resources to change laws, policies, hearts, and minds.
  • Black Cultural Archives (BCA) is the home of Black British History, conceived in 1981 as a monument to hold space for the histories of people from across the African diaspora in British culture and history.
  • Black Futures Lab works to build Black political power and change the way it operates – locally, statewide, and nationally. The organization engages Black voters year-round, encouraging them to use their political strength to build a democracy that works for all of us. It combines culture change and policy change to put more power into the hands of more people
  • Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC) is a membership organization committed to ending the disenfranchisement and discrimination against people with convictions in the US. Made up and led by returning citizens (i.e., formerly convicted persons), FRRC works to create a comprehensive and humane reentry system that will enhance successful reentry, reduce recidivism and increase public safety.

 Music Business Worldwide

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