Reed Exhibitions is donating $1 million over the next five years to selected not-for-profit organisations around the world who are committed to promoting racial equity. Meet the organisations we will be working with in Brazil, South Africa, the UK and the USA!
The unequal treatment of Black people, and especially the killings of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and others left many people around the world shocked, angry, devastated, and broken-hearted.
Black Lives Matter protests took place in many cities and communities where our employees and customers live and work. Reed Exhibitions is privileged to have a strong foundation in working with diverse communities through our global events portfolio. Our first response was to listen to our colleagues. Our second was to act - to do more to fight systemic racism and injustice.
In July 2020 our CEO, Hugh Jones, signed the Business in the Community Race at Work Charter and announced the launch of our Global Race Committee (GRC) with responsibility for driving greater diversity and inclusion in three key areas: our people; our business, including our exhibitors, attendees, partners and vendors; and our communities, including charitable outreach.
Five months later, in January 2021, we pledged to donate $1M over the next five years to selected not-for-profit partners around the world who are working to improve inclusivity and diversity in their local communities by supporting social change, fighting injustice and fostering development.
Nine organizations in Brazil, South Africa, UK and the USA will share the Reed Exhibitions 2020 fund of $200K. We share their stories below.
Instituto Adus (The Adus Institute)
In the past two years, the number of refugees and asylum seekers who have entered Brazil has increased significantly, especially Venezuelans, Colombians, Haitians, Democratic Republic of Congo and Syrians.
Many seek the city of São Paulo, where the Instituto Adus serves refugees and victims of forced migration to reduce the obstacles they face and help them integrate into society. The institute offers Portuguese classes, access to professional qualification courses and helps to enter the job market. They have also created a language school made up of refugees who teach English, French and Spanish (Project Unno).
Since its creation in 2010, more than 125 volunteers and more than 9,000 people have benefited from Instituto Adus' programs. Our donation will help the Institute to provide guidance and training for refugees, aiming at greater qualification and inclusion in the labor market so that they can begin to rebuild their lives in Brazil. The institute also assists with legal advice. Another important front in this partnership will be to bring refugee candidates to our internship program, support workshops and develop job opportunities in the event industry.
Iniciativa Empresarial pela Igualdade Racial (Business Initiative for Racial Equality)
Despite accounting for almost 60% of the country’s 210m population, Black Brazilians occupy less than five per cent of executive positions and five per cent of seats on company boards (Financial Times, 23 December 2020).
The Business Initiative for Racial Equality (IEIR) unites more than 70 large companies in Brazil who are committed to bridging the gulf between Black and white professionals by promoting racial inclusion and overcoming racism. Together they represent 900,000 employees, and have a combined revenue of R$1.2 trillion.
As a sponsor signatory to the IEIR, Reed Exhibitions Brazil has pledged to adhere to 10 commitments on the inclusion, promotion and enhancement of racial diversity within our organisation. To track our progress, Reed Exhibitions Brazil will participate in the IEIR’s annual Index on Racial Equality in Companies to understand how we are performing against other signatories.
Iniciativa Empresarial pela Igualdade Racial (Business Initiative for Racial Equality)
Alongside our funding, we will be working with the IEIR to support the development of their African Brazilian candidates’ network through workshops and career opportunities in the events industry. Twenty of our employees are also being trained as mentors to African Brazilian university students to help accelerate their careers and prepare them for leadership positions.
Zumbi Dos Palmares University
Zumbi Dos Palmares University (also known as Unipalmares) is the only university in Brazil dedicated to the college education of Black students. It is named after Zumbi dos Palmares, a 17th Brazilian resistance leader who led a community of runaway slaves in what is now the Brazilian state of Alagoas. “There is no freedom without education” the university’s sign declares.
Founded in 2003, Unipalmares offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses in business administration, law, education, communication, information security and more to over 1,800 students from a low-income background.
Zumbi Dos Palmares University
Our donation will support projects focused on leveraging Afro-Brazilian entrepreneurship and not-for-profit organisations dedicated to the Black community. Reed Exhibitions will also provide funding for students to organise job fairs, and support career development opportunities in the events industry.
Supporting local disadvantaged communities in Benoni on the East Rand, Oliver’s House (also known as Oliver’s Village) is an NGO focusing on education, early childhood development, food security and enterprise development. Their mission is to provide a caring and supportive environment where young people are inspired to learn and are empowered through education and skills training.
Originally founded in 2001 as a soup kitchen, this vibrant and ambitious organisation has expanded to incorporate four social projects: an Early Childhood Development Centre, a Maths and Science Centre, a Computer Training Centre, and a community food programme. Together they cater for the needs of more than 600 local beneficiaries every day. All their activities are centred on Oliver’s Village in Putfontein, an off-grid, self-sustainable community which generates its own solar power and water (via boreholes and rain harvesting), and grows its own food.
Reed Exhibitions’ donation will contribute directly to the running of the Computer Training Centre. This offers grade 11 and 12 students, as well as underemployed and disadvantaged people, free access to computer skills training in order to increase their chances of finding employment. Through Oliver’s House, young Black South Africans will also be offered the opportunity to gain work experience at events organised by Reed Exhibitions South Africa.
18twenty8® is an award-winning, women-led non-profit organisation that empowers young women, aged 18 to 28, by developing strategies for their educational and personal development.
The idea for the organisation came in 2008, when founder and director, Refiloe Seseane, then aged 28, reflected on what she had accomplished in the previous 10 years of her life. “I felt like I would have gone a lot further if I had someone mentoring and supporting me,” says Seseane.
In consultation with Life Orientation teachers, 18twenty8® facilitate life skills workshops for girls in Grade 11 and Grade 12 in marginalised communities. They also provide mentors for undergraduate young women through their Big Sister Network; Leadership Development Camps to hone undergraduates’ leadership skills; and financial assistance towards their higher education expenses.
Our donation will be used to support many of the above-mentioned initiatives, with a particular focus on providing opportunities in the events industry. Carol Weaving, Managing Director of Reed Exhibitions South Africa, will also lead an Entrepreneur Mentorship Programme.
Heritage Corner is a Leeds based education and community engagement project which blends creativity with Black history as a way to deliver anti-racism and diversity training and arts projects.
They focus on exposing and sharing narratives on the African presence in Yorkshire, through their award-winning Leeds Black History Walk (LBHW); targeted youth work and teacher training; as well as through creative collaborations with top artists and leading cultural experts. A growing number of public sector and private organisations are also engaging with their in-person and online safe space workshops to discuss ideas around race and identity.
Heritage Corner’s vision is that future generations are armed with historical facts and knowledge to celebrate the hidden contributions of the African diaspora in the UK. The project received unprecedented demand for their services in 2020 and our donation will support them in reaching out to new audiences through the development of their website, expansion of their LBHW programme, and support for new and ongoing research projects.
Heritage Corner will also be supporting our own journey towards greater inclusion and diversity through staff workshops and training.
“Africa’s rich and ancient heritage and its many valuable contributions have been excluded from the canons of history. If your heritage is excluded so is your humanity. It is so pleasing to see young people of all persuasions engage with and embrace our services.”
Joe Williams is a Creative Associate of the Geraldine Connor Foundation and the Foundation works to amplify his voice and ideas, providing support and guidance to assist in the process of sustaining Heritage Corner into the future.
The Geraldine Connor Foundation (GCF) was established to continue the work and vision of Geraldine Connor by bringing people together through arts and culture. GCF is an ambitious arts organisation that nurtures new work and talent and celebrates cultural forms from across the world in a collaborative and supportive environment. GCF values all forms of artistic practice from all cultures as equally interesting and distinctive.
GCF projects layer talent and expertise, providing a space for mutually beneficial learning for all involved. The Foundation works with children and young people to introduce them to art and culture, mentor young artists (18 - 30 years) and supports Creative Associates from culturally diverse backgrounds to flourish.
The Racial Justice Network
The Racial Justice Network brings together individuals, community groups and organisations from across West Yorkshire and beyond to proactively promote racial justice and address legacies of colonialism.
The Racial Justice Network is a lived-experience led and informed anti-racist organisation whose work is informed by a critical intersectional approach that is sensitive to the impact of gender, sexuality, disability, social class, migration status, religion, and other such intersections, seeking to work from the position of the most marginal in our communities. As a grassroots, bottom-up, network, RJN strives to tackle racial injustice by influencing and shaping public discourse/advocacy through community building, training, research, campaigning, mobilising and organising.
Reed Exhibitions will help the network to fund key initiatives such as their 'unlearning racism programme', collective conversations in the community at large and media documentation. Working in partnership with Heritage Corner, the Racial Justice Network will also provide support to our employees in the form of inclusivity, anti-racism and anti-oppression training.
Founded in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, Ally2Action is a not-for-profit whose mission is to accelerate racial reconciliation by transforming fear of participating into courageous engagement. They carefully curate content and resources to educate and inform people about race relations and Black history in the US, and teach them how to be supportive allies to the Black community.
In July 2020, Ally2Action launched their ’21 Day Program’ ‒ an anti-racism journey which aims to dismantle the underlying fears of doing or saying the wrong thing that keep many silent and inactive. Those who sign up for the free course receive daily communications via text or email, with links to inspiring, educational and empowering content.
Our donation is supporting Ally2Action in their work, and in their goal of working with corporations to make a significant impact at scale. Recognising our own need to promote inclusion and diversity at Reed Exhibitions, we will be piloting their 21 day programme in our US organisation with the aim of rolling it out more widely.
"We at Ally2Action collectively recognize the movement to create more equitable societies is not an overnight one; requiring leaders in all communities. Our programs and content serve as resources which create spaces of understanding; equipping those who aim to guide themselves, their friends, families and organizations in the journey of anti-racism. We are emboldened by the support of Reed Exhibitions' African Ancestry Network and look forward to working with their communities for positive change."
A Better Chance (ABC) in Darien
A Better Chance (ABC) is a national programme that recruits academically promising and motivated students of colour from underserved areas around the country and places them in high schools that nurture their talent. Their mission is to help well-educated young people of colour pursue their dreams and assume positions of responsibility and leadership in American society.
Darien High School is located close to our Reed Exhibitions Norwalk office. Each year, ABC in Darien supports eight young female scholars, allowing them to realise their academic and social potential while living in Darien and attending the High School. The girls live in supported accommodation and are cared for one weekend each month by host families. All of the graduates have gone on to competitive colleges including MIT, Amherst, Syracuse, George Washington University, UVA, UNC, Franklin and Marshall and Cornell, among many others.
ABC’s programme in Darien is entirely funded by donations. Over the next five years, our contribution will help to run the programme, maintain the supported accommodation and enrich the learning programmes, for example through summer trips. We are also working with the ABC Board to develop career mentorship opportunities for current students, and internships for programme graduates, creating a pipeline to future employment opportunities.
"The mission of A Better Chance in Darien is to provide scholarships to academically talented girls of color from underserved communities allowing them to realize their academic and social potential while living in Darien and attending DHS. Your incredible donation to this program will have enormous impact on these students."