2024 Winners Announced!

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The Impact, Need, and Importance of DE&I Programs

“By honoring and empowering individuals from diverse backgrounds and advocating for sustainable, ethical practices, we establish the groundwork for a future that champions equality, fuels innovation, and leaves a lasting, positive impact on our communities. It is through our unified commitment to DE&I and ESG that we construct a world where everyone has an equitable opportunity to thrive, our planet is safeguarded, and success is gauged not solely by financial gain, but by the meaningful, widespread change we bring about.” Trovon Williams: Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications, NAACP

Many have debated the proper title for Diversity Equity & Inclusion (DEI) programs. Should Equity come first (EDI)? Is Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) a better fit? What about the umbrella of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)? Where does Belonging fit in (DEIB)? 

However, no matter what you want to call them, these programs are under attack like never before. From the overturning of Affirmative Action to corporations quietly reversing their DE&I initiatives to more recent public debates around the effectiveness and legality of these programs. It is disheartening, frightening, and only highlights how far we still have to go. 

Each year, the Anthem Awards received hundreds of projects that beautifully display the need, impact, and importance of Diversity Equity & Inclusion programs. Included below you can see a handful of these projects honored during the 3rd Annual Anthem Awards, with additional thoughts from our judges. 

Today and every day, we are proud to have the opportunity to uplift this important work.

“The work establishes the connection between community and communication and how powerful this bridge is when leveraged to improve and inspire the lives that inhabit it. I applaud the projects that understand that equity and inclusion are not a political debate but our nation’s promise. Confronting the past is hard, but leaving out communities who have suffered marginalization throughout our country’s history continues the trauma of those communities and our nation. Thank you to the brave creators who stood up for all communities because you are standing up for what makes our industry and our country stronger and better for the next generation.”      – Deborah Riley Draper: Writer/Director/Filmmaker, Coffee Bluff Picture

Change the System: Building Black Wealth by Pacific Gas & Electric Company

2024 Gold Anthem Award Winner

In 2022, PG&E launched the Economic Equity and Financial Education Pilot Program to support Black wealth creation. The program provides a cohort of high school students in the Oakland area with personal finance focused courses at The Haas Business School Executive Education at the University of California at Berkeley. PG&E worked with Jason Miles, Amenti Capital Group, and Hass Business School Executive Education at UC Berkeley, to develop the instructor-led program. Students who complete the program receive a $7,000 scholarship to support their future college educations.

“This year’s DEI entries advocate for equity and justice by raising awareness and consciousness around critical issues, as well as centering voices that have historically and systematically been marginalized. By humanizing these lived experiences and points of view, projects of this sort drive the conversation forward, advance a social mission, and catalyze the important and pivotal change our world needs.” – Cynthia Pong: Founder and CEO, Embrace Change

PNC Project 257 Calendar by PNC Bank

2024 Bronze Anthem Winner 

According to the Economic Forum, it will take 257 years to close the economic gap between women and men. PNC Bank has committed to closing the cap within our lifetime through increased investment in women-owned businesses. They also created a 257-year calendar which includes annual advancements expected to happen in the next 257 years. The project highlights how crazy it is that we’re so far from equality, while also putting pressure on other regional banks to help change the future.

“The Anthem Awards provide an incredible platform to celebrate the world-changing work being done by hard-working heroes looking to make the world a better place for all. I am blown away by the results. Change is happening. The people and projects we honor are lighting the darkness.” – Wendy H. Steele: Founder & Chief Executive. Impact100

Mike Hess is a Trailblazer: Salesforce by Salesforce 

2024 Silver Anthem Award Winner 

Accessibility is an important pillar of inclusion at any company. Mike Hess is the Founder and Executive Director of the Blind Institute of Technology. 80% of the blind and visually impaired (BVI) community is unemployed or underemployed and Mike set out to change that. In collaboration with Salesforce, the Blind Institute of Technology offers accessible courses in Salesforce Administration and Digital Accessibility Analysis. The organization has already placed more than 600 professionals with disabilities into new careers and has helped many companies realize the potential within the BVI community.

“Today, DEI initiatives are being attacked at many levels. Whenever you change the status quo, there’s a backlash. There’s always a perception that someone else’s progress is at my expense. If that’s the narrative we need to do a better job of articulating why progress is a good thing and more importantly why it’s a good thing for the people who think they are losing something. That the advancement of one group doesn’t mean the replacement of another.” – Charles Beal: President, The Gilbert Baker Foundation

Citi and the Citi Foundation – Action for Racial Equity Initiative by City 

2024 Bronze Anthem Winner 

Citi CEO, Jane Fraser, is quoted saying, “It’s not enough to see racism, we have to root it out. It’s not enough to declare support for equity, we have to lead.” The bank is investing $1 billion in strategic initiatives to help close the racial wealth gap and increase economic mobility in the United States. From expanding banking and access to credit, to increasing investments in Black entrepreneurs, and doing work internally to become an anti-racist institution, Citi is continuing its 2020 commitment to making a difference.

“It’s only through a collective effort to drive human and planet impact, that we solve the most pressing and oftentimes neglected, problems in the world. The Anthem Awards 2023 entries are testament to this.” – Amy Dick: President, SheSays

theSkimm State of Women 2023 by The Skimm 

2024 Bronze Anthem Award Winner 

In partnership with The Harris Poll, theSkimm surveyed 4,500 for their 2023 State of Women report. Results showed that women are exhausted and still recovering from the difficult changes that came from the pandemic, but are taking agency and making decisions to best support themselves and their families.

“I found the entries this year were littered with empowerment for people which is crucial for organizations that are wanting to leverage DEI efforts.” – Ashley T Brundage: President & CEO, Empowering Differences

Thriving in Intersectionality: Immigrants, Belonging, and Corporate America by Immigrants In Corporate, Inc. 

2024 Bronze Anthem Award Winner 

DE&I leader, Lola Adeyemo, wrote “Thriving in Intersectionality,” to help minority corporate employees, leaders, and DEI experts who want to examine belonging and inclusion at work. She also founded Immigrants in Corporate, an organization that helps guide individuals to overcome inequities in the corporate workplace, create a flourishing career, and amplify their voice, so they can perform authentically and find valuable connections.

“Seeing all of the creative entries into the awards, and the diversity not just of creators themselves or the communities they are serving, but also of the ways they are choosing to effect change gave me so much hope for how we will be able to solve social, environmental, and governmental change in the future. Using their unique and innovative voices, they have all found ways to out their individual marks on the world and approach commonly seen issues in uncommon ways.” – Anjali Bhimani: Actor & Author

Megan Rapinoe, Chief Equality Officer by Boxcat Creative Communications

2024 Silver Anthem Award Winner 

Megan Rapinoe helped the US Women’s Soccer Team fight for equal pay and is now partnering with Trusaic as their Chief Equity Officer. Trusaic’s PayParity service analyzes compensation at the intersection of gender, race/ethnicity, age, disability, and more to ensure that companies are providing equal pay across roles. Together, their goal to end gender and racial wage inequality, once and for all.

“Recent events have seen an EDI backlash with many roles and budgets being reduced. It’s precisely during these moments that we need to stand strong and persevere with our work. EDI, at its core, is about addressing systemic inequities and creating a more just and equitable society. The projects featured in the Anthem Awards embody these principles and offer society opportunities to learn, reflect and grow.” – Emily Horton: Founder, More Diverse Voices

Patagonia – Don’t Buy This Jacket

Patagonia has put social impact at the core of their brand mission and values from the start, and their iconic Don’t Buy This Jacket campaign demonstrates how brands can use their platform to make an impact — or better yet, to help reduce our impact. This 2011 ad ran in the New York Times on Black Friday, making a lasting impression for its bold message addressing the issue of consumerism head on and asking readers to take the Common Threads Initiative pledge to reduce, repair, reuse, recycle, and reimagine a world where we take only what nature can replace.

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NEWS & ANNONCEMENTS

Ad Council’s Love Has No Labels Movement

Love Has No Labels is a movement by The Ad Council to promote diversity, equity and inclusion of all people across race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age and ability.

Read our Q&A with Heidi Arthur, the Ad Council’s Chief Campaign Development Officer on the team behind LHNL collaborates with partners to combat implicit bias—from crafting PSAs to driving viewers to take action, to how brands and companies should approach corporate social responsibility with authenticity.

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