BMI will give $25,000 to nine different groups specializing in voting rights, underserved communities and social justice reform. An additional $25,000 will be divided among a group of smaller, locally focused organizations in the cities where BMI has offices. In keeping with the spirit of BMI and its mission, the remaining $25,000 will be donated for the creation of the Black American Music Walk of Fame in Atlanta, GA, to preserve, protect and promote the legacy and future of authentic Black American music.
“As a company founded on the principle of inclusion, we are committed to taking comprehensive action in the fight for social justice within and outside of our community,” said Mike O’Neill, President and CEO of BMI. “We are proud to support these important organizations and their tireless work to help advance inclusion, tolerance and promote social and racial change. While we are pleased to make these donations, we also recognize that monetary contributions alone are not enough, and we remain steadfast in our continued efforts to combat systemic racism, uphold our core values and drive real and meaningful change within our company.”
The donation recipients have been thoughtfully selected by the company’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion task force, established in June to counsel BMI in its objective to be more inclusive and diverse as a company. Led by Catherine Brewton, Vice President Creative, Atlanta, the task force has been charged with advising and recommending ways BMI can further its efforts to combat racism and promote equity and inclusion throughout the company. The group is also helping shape and foster the right forums for better understanding and education and is advising the CEO on the hiring of the newly created position of Vice President, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Social Responsibility for BMI.
“In these challenging times, I accepted the role as Chair of the task force with the knowledge and understanding that there is still much work to be done. With the full support of our CEO, Mike O’Neill, I am extremely honored to work with this dynamic and multicultural group of individuals in the continued push for systemic change within the company,” said Brewton. “I am motivated by the work we have done in identifying the organizations that will receive donations. The committee felt strongly that BMI could make a significant impact in challenging injustice and racism by addressing voting rights, underserved communities and social justice reform. Each of the selected institutions works tirelessly in the advancement of racial equality.”
Brewton continued, “We are also proud to be an early supporter of the Black American Music Association and its mission to uphold the legacy of Black American Music. We recognize the importance of this necessary and historic venture to celebrate the black creatives, executives and the industry at large who continue to uplift and inspire, even in times of social unrest.”
In addition to the Black American Music Association, BMI has pledged financial support to the following foundations:
“Positive American Youth would like to thank BMI for its support. Our food pantry has seen record numbers in those needing to be served during this pandemic,” said Gordon M. Swiney, Jr., Executive Director, Positive American Youth Incorporated. “Your contribution will replenish much needed school supplies, grocery and household staples for families in need. We are incredibly grateful for your donation in these difficult times.”
“The Buried Alive Project works to free people sentenced to life without parole under outdated federal drug laws that disproportionately impact people of color. With every freedom we secure, we are pushing forward a movement of power, dignity, and human potential,” said Brittany K. Barnett, Attorney and Co-Founder of the Buried Alive Project. “We are grateful for BMI’s generous investment and are proud to link arms with BMI as we continue to provide pro bono legal representation to this marginalized population of people.”
In addition to the company’s monetary contributions, BMI also recently announced that each team member will receive four designated volunteer days to focus on giving back to their local communities. The company will also institute a dedicated day of volunteering within the cities where it operates offices for BMI team members to engage in volunteer work together.
BMI has also created a resource center with a working list of educational material and racial equality initiatives for those interested in learning more or wanting to take action that will be updated as needed.
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