WPP announces first successful applications to its Racial Equity Programme

23 Sep 2021

The projects promote racial justice and support Black and minority ethnic talent

WPP today announced the nine bold, audacious and creative new projects that have been chosen to help advance racial justice across the world as part of its Racial Equity Programme.

The initiative invites agencies from across WPP’s global network to apply for financial resources and support to run innovative programmes that will advance racial equity and bring about change. It forms part of WPP’s wider $30 million anti-racism commitment, announced in June 2020, to fund inclusion programmes within the company and to support external organisations.

The first round of applications, made in June 2021, was independently assessed by peers from relevant markets to account for cultural distinctions and differences, against a rigorous set of criteria. Proposals with the highest aggregated scores were then reviewed by a newly formed Commissioning Council made up of senior leaders from across the WPP network.

Successful applications include:

  • A pioneering research project driven by WPP Roots (WPP’s professional network championing greater ethnic and cultural diversity), Ogilvy Growth & Innovation and GroupM which aims to change the conversation with data-driven insights about Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic audiences in the UK and create meaningful inclusivity in our industry.
  • The Detroit Experience Studio, a commitment led by VMLY&R, UWG and GTB to increase the career opportunities for Detroit’s Black and brown students who are exploring a creative future, to bring awareness where there is no informed path, and to enable them to flourish among the best and brightest talent.
  • Online classes through AKQA’s SOMA+ platform to expand the professional knowledge of 1,000 Black, Indigenous, and low-income students in Brazil. Five students will subsequently be selected to work at AKQA’s office in São Paulo for nine months where they’ll have the chance to receive exclusive mentoring, as well as take part in a special project based on their personal ambition.
  • A 10-week WPP training programme to help underrepresented minority veterans in the US – who are up to 44% more likely to be unemployed following their military service than non-minority veterans – become extraordinary project managers, client leaders and more.
  • A partnership-driven project spearheaded by Wunderman Thompson Health, working with the Health4Equity Centre of Excellence (COE) to help address the needs of multiple racial segments experiencing a disparity in health outcomes. The project team will establish partnerships with various Inclusion, Equity and Diversity organisations to formalise a process for thought-leadership and develop innovative solutions to advance progress towards health equity.
  • For a full list of the successful projects and their individual goals, visit wpp.com.

    Mark Read, CEO of WPP, said: “These bold and creative ideas from our agencies were chosen because of their potential to create meaningful and lasting change. They reflect the passion of the project teams involved, and a collective sense of determination right across WPP to deliver our commitments to promote racial justice.”

    Stacie Graham, Global Racial Equity Programme Director of WPP, concluded: “The projects really show how we can build on existing initiatives at WPP that will not only change our internal landscape but also positively impact members of society who have been historically overlooked and underestimated. Racial equity and, more broadly, inclusion and belonging are not problems to be solved, rather they represent a shifted lens through which creative transformation becomes possible.”

    WPP’s Racial Equity Programme team is now preparing for the next round of applications, which opens in January 2022.

    Further information
    Niken Wresniwiro, WPP
    +44 (0)20 7282 4600 / +44 (0)7876 005 489
    [email protected]

    About WPP
    WPP is a creative transformation company. We use the power of creativity to build better futures for our people, planet, clients and communities. For more information, visit www.wpp.com.