Last month, in the wake of nationwide protests, each of the Big Three record labels – Warner Music, Universal Music, and Sony Music – established a multimillion-dollar social justice fund. Now, Warner has announced the board members for its $100 million initiative.
Warner Music Group (WMG) officials, in coordination with the Blavatnik Family Foundation – the charitable wing of billionaire Access Industries owner Leonard Blavatnik – revealed their venture’s inaugural board today, via an official release. Fifteen total directors (including five external members, seven Warner execs, and a rotating panel of three Blavatnik Family Foundation higher-ups) will utilize the $100 million fund to support “charitable causes related to the music industry, social justice, and education, as well as campaigns against violence and racism.”
The first of WMG’s external advisors, Tanya Coke, serves as the Ford Foundation’s director of gender, racial, and ethnic justice. Henry Ford and his son Edsel founded the Ford Foundation 84 years back, though the charity sold its stake in Ford Motor Company nearly half a century ago.
Live Nation President of Urban Shawn Gee has too joined the advisory board for WMG’s social justice fund, as has San Francisco Department of Police Accountability and former chief prosecutor Paul Henderson. Alencia Johnson, a former presidential campaign adviser to Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and the founder of social impact agency 1063 West Broad, is the fourth external member. Lastly, Mona Sutphen, a former deputy chief of staff in the Obama administration and current senior advisor at a Chicago-based private equity firm, has rounded out the external portion of the 15-member board.
The advisory panel’s internal board members include Warner Music Group execs Temi Adeniji, Mark Baker, and Camille Hackney; Atlantic Records UK EVP Austin Daboh; Atlantic Records SVP of A&R and Artist Development Riggs Morales; Warner Records legal affairs higher-up Julian Petty; and Warner Chappell President of U.S. Ryan Press. Additionally, Warner and the Blavatnik Family Foundation have tapped Snapchat chairman (and former Sony Entertainment CEO) Michael Lynton to chair the fund. However, it bears mentioning that the press release didn’t identify the Blavatnik Family Foundation professionals who will join the social justice fund’s board.
Warner Music Group’s social justice fund advisory board has yet to publicly announce which charities/causes it will immediately support, though one would assume that the decision is imminent. Yesterday, we reported that Universal Music Group’s Task Force for Meaningful Change had successfully campaigned to make Election Day 2020 a company holiday for stateside UMG employees. And one week back, leading concert promoter Live Nation promised to double the number of black executives it employs by 2025, as part of a broader series of “diversity commitments.”