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UMG Launches $25 Million "Change Fund" & Task Force To Fight For Equality, Justice & Inclusion
Universal Music Group (UMG) has announced a new dedicated "Change Fund" as well as the formation of its Task Force for Meaninngful Change (TFMC) to fight for equality, justice and inclusion. The announcement comes shortly after the music industry's "Black Out Tuesday" and widespread protests against racism and police brutality following the recent killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.
Co-chaired Jeff Harleston, Executive VP, General Counsel, UMG and Interim Chairman and CEO Def Jam and Ethiopia Habtemariam, President Motown Records & EVP Capitol Music Group, the TFMC has identified six areas of focus and plans, "“to be both a resource and ally to our internal and external community.”
“The problems we are addressing are not new and they certainly do not have easy solutions, but we are dedicated to fighting for real, lasting change,” they wrote in a letter obtained by Rolling Stone. “As Lucian [Grainge, Universal Music Group’s Chairman and CEO] wrote, UMG has committed resources and empowered us to create a task force to be both a resource and ally to our internal and external community."
Among the six areas of focus, Aid/Charitable Giving will fund charities with grants to support business development, legal services bail, mental health resourses and more. The first round of grants will benefit Black Girl Ventures, Black Lives Matter, Black Mental Health Alliance, Colin Kaepernick Foundation, Color Of Change, Equal Justice Initiative, National Association of Black Journalists, Silence the Shame, Sickle Cell Disease Foundation of California, The Bail Project, and When We All Vote, according to the letter.
“We know our community, colleagues, artists and partners are suffering,” the letter said. “We feel it and we’re living it but we’re also energized to fight for change. We’re asking for you to lock arms with us — we want to hear your voice. Now is the time to be heard!”