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29.10.2020 By Amy Colton, North America General Manager, Current Global

Taking the Moment to Help Others

Polling booths decorated with graffiti art in Chicago.

Uncertain. Unprecedented. Volatile. Stressful. Harrowing. Every pundit in the world has tried to describe what it’s like to be living through 2020, from both a business and personal standpoint. But words can’t begin to describe how people feel. Not for our clients, employees, families or friends. That is why in recent months we have let our actions speak for us as we increased our commitment to help others.

Current Global has always valued supporting important causes, from education and empowerment for underserved youth to promoting diversity and employment opportunities around the world. Using our marketing expertise to help others is part of our culture – local offices earmark time to help local causes and as an agency we support campaigns on a national level annually.

But this year is different. With emotions running high and patience running low, we talked as a team: What can we do? How can we make a difference? We did what all motivated PR professionals do – we sprang into action. Even as client work kicked into gear with fast deadlines and lots on the line, we funneled our energy into making a difference. It felt like the boost of adrenalin runners describe at the end of a long race, and it has continued to motivate us to do more.

We recently helped the City of Chicago and When We All Vote encourage people to register to vote with our partners at FCB. Artists from neighborhoods throughout the city painted striking messages of hope and calls for change on the plywood that barricaded storefronts and buildings following the murder of George Floyd. What could have been a painful reminder was put to positive use to promote change through the power of voting, with the murals and messages turned into artistic voter registration booths that travelled to neighborhoods with typically low voter turnout. Making headline news in Chicago and trending on social from Mayor Lightfoot’s feed, we also generated national attention with a feature on the NBC Nightly News.

The following week we launched ‘me too. Act Too’ with FCB/SIX and other IPG agencies. Three years ago, the ‘me too.’ Movement gave rise to a new wave of stories of sexual violence, powered by empathy and seeking healing for generations of survivors. The organization debuted the next chapter with a digital platform that continues the fight to end sexual violence and gives survivors, advocates and allies tools to make a difference. The new campaign has already generated 249 stories for 1.5B impressions, including coverage in Good Morning America, HuffPost, Mashable and The Chicago Tribune. ​

And soon we will support the Chicago Public Library’s Reading for Change initiative, which aims to provide e-reader versions of the most popular anti-racist titles for free. It is launching with the Chicago Public Library Foundation Awards and fundraiser, where celebrated journalist and nonfiction writer Isabel Wilkerson will receive the 2020 Carl Sandburg Literary Award for her newest book, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents.

Looking ahead, we will continue our work with Ryan Banks Academy, which opened its doors in September 2018 as a day school with the goal of soon becoming Chicago’s first urban and tuition-free boarding school. In New York and San Francisco, our teams will be supporting Start Small, a non-profit business that supports local, under-resourced entrepreneurs who are of color, women, members of disadvantaged groups, and/or low-income. We are providing marketing support to raise awareness of the amazing work this organization does to help empower more than 3,000 small businesses on both coasts. And in Detroit, we are providing pro bono services to the Marygrove Conservancy,  an initiative to create a cradle-to-career (P-20) educational campus on the former site of the historic Marygrove College.

Current Global is committed to using our talents as communicators and problem-solvers to influence and change culture for the better now and in the future. We believe that no moment is more important than this moment to take action. We will continue to invest talent, time and resources to support NGOs focused on societal change, specifically those addressing racial inequality and injustice.

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