May 3, 2022

Small Firms Pledge $1.5m In Services For Equal Opportunity Initiative

SourceCode, Cheer Partners, Social Studies and Superbolt, along with VC firm Harlem Capital, will provide $1.5m in pro bono marketing services to help women and minority-owned startups succeed.

NEW YORK — Four small agencies — SouceCode, Cheer Partners, Social Studies and Superbolt — have banded together to provide minority and women-led businesses with $1.5m in marketing support, one of the largest pro bono pledges to come out of the industry in response to recent racial strife.

In partnership with venture capital firm Harlem Capital, which specializes in investing in startups with diverse owners, the Diversity Marketing Consortium will provide the pro bono services over two years as a means of boosting the businesses' success, the group said. Recipients will include startups backed by Harlem Capital as well as other applicants.

The consortium was formed in response to women and minorities not having equal access to opportunities, cited by the organization as a “structural reality in our country that has been highlighted by continued racial injustices.”The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the problem, the organization said. Between February and April, women-owned businesses declined by 25%, while Black and Latinx-owned businesses decreased by 41% and 32% respectively, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.

“It’s our duty to do better and be a part of the change to narrow the race and gender gap in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. While there is still a lot of work to do as a society to ensure that diverse founders are given more opportunities, the Diversity Marketing Consortium is committed to using our skills and resources to help level the playing field,” said SourceCode Communications managing partner Greg Mondshein, who founded the consortium. “We’re honored and humbled to partner with Harlem Capital, Cheer Partners, Social Studies, and Superbolt to further empower women and minority founders.”

The consortium’s move is in keeping with steps agencies have taken to support diversity and employees during heightened racial strife, as they step up efforts to eradicate the systemic racism that plagues industry, including PR.

The value of the commitment, however, is notable, given the size and scope of the consortium’s members. Edelman and Weber Shandwick, the world’s largest PR firms, each pledged to provide organizations with $1m in pro bono marketing services in addition to other efforts to fight racial inequality.