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Inside Sony Music

  • Impact Report: Checking In With Seven Global Social Justice Fund Beneficiaries
  • May 10, 2021

The Global Social Justice Fund evaluates individual needs for every beneficiary, fostering long-term partnerships.

Part of the Sony Music Group (SMG) $100 million Global Social Justice Fund’s mission is make an impact on communities in as many places as possible. There are a number of ways to measure the Fund’s real-world impact.

“We have a responsibility to be good stewards of this Fund which means that we need be intentional and careful about how the Fund is utilized,” says Towalame Austin, Sony Music Group’s Executive Vice President of Philanthropy and Social Impact. “One hundred million dollars is a significant amount of money; you need to develop a strategic plan that will help you reach your goals and objectives. At the same time, we knew we wanted to begin making an impact in communities around the world immediately.”

(Read the full interview with Austin, here.)

The Fund, which aims to build multi-year programs in support of social justice and anti-racist initiatives globally, is entering its third round of funding to a new cohort of local and national community organizations in countries across the globe.

“The majority of organizations selected connect SMG to meaningful programming and allows the Company to make a real impact beyond the financial commitment we make,” continues Austin. “Whether it’s a grassroots organization in a local community or a global initiative spanning continents, we are committed and dedicated to supporting this work.”

Support means something different to each organization that SMG partners with and we are committed to maintaining our relationships with each organization to evaluate their evolving need and impact. Below, we check in with a few of our community partners to see what programs they’ve developed and results they’ve seen after working with the Global Social Justice Fund.

Organization: Fondo Guadalupe Musalem
Home Base: Mexico
The Fondo Guadalupe Musalem is a non-profit civil association with 25 years of experience. It is a charitable organization authorized by the laws of Mexico. Its objective is to promote access to education for young women from rural, indigenous and/or Afro-Mexican communities in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico, by providing financial support for the three years of their high school education.

“Sony Music Group’s donation will allow the organization to continue supporting Oaxacan women each year to pursue high school and university studies, most of whom speak their indigenous language. In addition to the monthly scholarship, the scholarship recipients receive advice mainly in subjects such as physics, chemistry, mathematics and biology, and participate in workshops and courses on topics such as prevention of dating violence, sexual and reproductive health, leadership, gender equality, community participation and human rights. They also receive medical and psychological care, tutoring from a mentor and have the opportunity to receive support to start studying at university.” Beatriz X. Ávila Chairman 

Organization: Pour 3 Points
Home Base: Canada
The Pour 3 Points organization has an exponential effect: the coaches it trains work with approximately 12 young people per year. They become agents of change within the sports community and the education sector. Lastly, the youth participating in the program have a positive impact themselves on their environment.

“Our partnership with Sony adds a brick to the foundation of the vision and the mission of our organization. Sony realizes that we play a role in the community supporting under supported youth in the community and the coaches that we train. The impact to ensure social equality is important. Our partnership is the start of a conversation that demonstrates what can be done in the community when corporate companies partner with organizations such as ours.” – Erick Alneus, Pour 3 Points

Organization: Key4Life
Home Base: U.K.
Key4Life dedicate their efforts towards crime prevention and rehabilitation. Key4Life turns around the lives of some of the most disaffected men in Britain.

“The money from Sony Music will help to fund the charity’s ‘At Risk’ rehabilitation programme which supports young ex-offenders to build resilience, unlock negative behaviours and fast track their employment, through a powerful blend of music, football, equine therapy and mentorship.

The life-changing funding we’ve received from Sony Music has enabled us to help more young men who have been to prison or are at risk of going to prison go through our seven-step programme. Ultimately, we aim to help them onto a positive path and into employment, which we know is the single most effective route to break the cycle of reoffending.” – Eva Hamilton MBE, founder of Key4Life

Organization: Young Urban Arts Foundation
Home Base: U.K.
Young Urban Arts Foundation (YUAF) has worked with more than 17,500 young people since 2009 to create a world where marginalised young people are seen, heard and celebrated, no matter their background or circumstances. We use creativity and culture to empower young Londoners aged 13 – 19, to raise their aspirations, build strong relationships and take a lead in shaping their futures.

“Funding from Sony Music UK and Sony/ATV UK supports the extension of workshops and masterclasses alongside the black curriculum programme developed and hosted with Doctored Sound.

Working with Sony artists and Sony staff in our online programme, Thrive & Connect, added so much value to what we are doing and opening doors of aspiration that YUAF can offer our young people. The panel sessions will help them broaden their perspectives of working in the industry, by discovering new ways they can work in a record label or in publishing, rather than just going down the artist route. Working with Doctored Sound delivering education on Black History is also hugely beneficial to everyone learning the crucial history that undeniably shaped music.” – Kerry O’Brien, founder of YUAF

Organization: Advancement Project
Home Base: U.S.
Advancement Project is a next generation, multi-racial civil rights organization. Rooted in the great human rights struggles for equality and justice, it exists to fulfill America’s promise of a caring, inclusive and just democracy, by using innovative tools and strategies to strengthen social movements and achieve high impact policy change.

“Advancement Project works to transform our criminal legal system on all fronts: changing laws and prosecutorial practices that criminalize race and poverty, shutting down jails that bleed communities of resources and their people, and reinvesting into true community supports. Through this, we support communities of color in dismantling the systems that criminalize and incarcerate them in the name of ‘safety,’ and help those communities re-imagine how safety is pursued. With the support we received in 2020, we grew our efforts in this area and are able to expand and amplify our message of building power in communities going forward.” – Judith Browne Dianis, Advancement Project Executive Director.

Organization: Campaign Legal Center
Home Base: U.S.
Campaign Legal Center (CLC) advances democracy through law, fighting for every American’s right to participate in the democratic process. CLC uses tactics such as litigation, policy advocacy, communications and partnerships to win victories that result in a more transparent, accountable and inclusive democracy. Its long-term goal is a government responsive to the people.

“Democracy works best when all people are able to participate without barriers. Unfortunately, up to 17 million people with past felony convictions are de facto disenfranchised due to complicated laws, misinformation and poor administration. Thanks to Sony Music Group, Campaign Legal Center’s Restore Your Vote initiative has been able to expand and deepen its work with 14 grassroots partners in 9 states. By providing funding, training and legal support, Restore Your Vote is helping our partners provide rights restoration services to thousands of individuals in their communities. With Sony Music Group’s support, we are advancing the movement to end felony disenfranchisement in America.” – Trevor Potter, President, CLC

Organization: Race Forward
Home Base: U.S.
Race Forward catalyzes movement building for racial justice. In partnership with communities, organizations, and government sectors, Race Forward builds strategies to advance racial justice in our policies, institutions, and culture.

“With the support from Sony Music, Race Forward has been able to: Expand their Government Alliance on Race and Equity Network from 200 members to 350 city and county members nationwide; build out an affiliate training team to meet the demand for Building Racial Equity (BRE) trainings; 3,500 people attended BRE trainings in 2020, a 69 percent increase over 2019; produce a national racial justice conference, Facing Race, completely remotely (with 4,200 attendees); provide caregiver support to Race Forward staff who are directly impacted by Covid-19; and hire 10 staff across the organization to meet the increased demand for our work.” – Race Forward

Organization: Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
Home Base: U.S.
Throughout the 2020 primary and General Election season, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a national non-profit based in Washington, D.C., helped ensure that all voters and in particular Black voters and other voters of color had an equal opportunity to participate in the political process. Because of the pandemic and the historical high voter turnout, the strain on the election process was unparalleled and the barriers to vote were often high. Election dates, polling places/drop box locations and overall election administration processes were constantly changing, at the same time there was widespread misinformation and delays with receiving voter registration forms and ballots. 

“With the generous support of the Sony Global Social Justice Fund, and because of our experienced staff and historical background addressing civil rights issues, the Lawyers’ Committee was able to quickly rise to meet the extraordinary challenges this past election cycle presented when record numbers of voters went to the polls or voted by mail. 

We were able to organize and successfully implement the Election Protection Coalition which includes the national, non-partisan 866-OUR-VOTE hotline and field programs in target states. This included quickly and successfully pivoting to a virtual hotline infrastructure and working closely with state and local partners to engage election officials on how to effectively reduce barriers to the vote. Overall, we received over 246,000 calls to the hotline while filling over 45,000 legal volunteer shifts. In addition, we supported over 40 field programs where on-site volunteers helped voters with in-person voting. We also conducted rapid response litigation during the 2020 election season when needed to seek extension of poll hours and registration deadlines, litigating over 30 cases alone before Election Day. Through these efforts, we identified and removed barriers to voting, including educating voters about and striking down barriers to vote by mail which voters used in unprecedented numbers in response to the pandemic.” – Marica Johnson-Blanco, Co-Director of the Lawyers’ Committee’s Voting Rights Project

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