These Are The 18 Women's Advocacy Groups CBS Is Sharing $20 Million Amongst

By Etan Vlessing 12/19/18 |

U.S. media giant CBS Corp. announced it will divide up the $20 million earlier promised for women advocacy groups to 18 organizations focused on eliminating sexual harassment in the workplace. The move stemmed from a recent decision to part ways with CBS' longtime CEO, Leslie Moonves, after he was accused of workplace sexual misconduct.

In a joint statement, the 18 recipient groups, which includes the Time's Up coalition, said "the contributions are a step to driving real progress toward ending the national epidemic of sexual violence and harassment."

"We thank CBS for these donations... We also recognize these funds are not a panacea, nor do they erase or absolve decades of bad behaviour," they added in their statement.

The 18 receipients are:  Catalyst, Collaborative Fund for Women’s Safety and Dignity (Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors), Free the Bid, Freedom Forum Institute – Power Shift, Futures Without Violence, Girls for Gender Equity, International Women’s Media Foundation, National Women’s Law, New York Women’s Foundation, Press Forward, Producers Guild of America Foundation,  RAINN, STRIVE      InternationalSundance Institute’s Momentum program, TIME’S UP Entertainment, TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund, Women in Film Los Angeles, and Women’s Media Center.

The money had been taken from Moonves’ severance package, which was to have been $140 million in total. That was before an investigation into allegations against the former CBS head concluded the media giant had cause to deny the ousted Moonves the remaining $120 million on his exit. 

Crucially, CBS said the groups, some long established and other newly-launched in the wake of the #MeToo and Time's Up campaigns, were chosen because they tackle sexual harassment and promote workplace safety in a number of ways.

"These organizations represent different critical approaches to combating sexual harassment, including efforts to change culture and improve gender equity in the workplace, train and educate employees, and provide victims with services and support. CBS’ support of these endeavours ties into the company’s ongoing commitment to strengthening its own workplace culture," the New York-based media group said in a statement as it named the 18 groups.

CBS in September 2018 first said it would direct $20 million from Moonves' exit package to #MeToo causes, and then hired Rally, a communications firm for social causes, to identify which groups could best use the funds.

At the end of that process, CBS will direct $20 million towardsgroups focused on leadership development for women, training, education and culture change to tackle sexual harassment and assaults in the workplace, and direct support for sexual violence victims.

One of those picked, Catalyst is a non-profit working with top global CEOs and leading companies to encourage workplaces “that work for women” through inclusion, in part through online training and workshops.

The Catalyst board of directors includes Deloitte CEO Cathy Engelbert, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, KPMG U.S. chairman and CEO Lynne Doughtie and the CEOs of CBC, Lockheed Martin Corp. and Xerox Corp.

CBS is also donating funds to the Women’s Media Center, which was founded in 2005 as a progressive women's media group by Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan and Gloria Steinem to get more women seen in the media, and in it top managerial positions.

The goal, according to the WMC website is being "directly engaged with the media at all levels to ensure that a diverse group of women is present in newsrooms, on air, in print and online, in film, entertainment, and theater, as sources and subjects."

CBS is in the news and entertainment business, so the media giant is also donating to groups focused on the media industry itself.

Time's Up Entertainment, a division of the Time's Up coalition, is to receive $500,000 to launch "Who's in the Room," an industry mentoring initiative to diversify Hollywood's producer and executive pool by encouraging people of colour and people from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds to join the top ranks of the entertainment industry.

"The fact is that young people are dropping out of the industry because they are not being provided the support to succeed — this program provides them that targeted support," Time's Up Entertainment executive director Nithya Raman said in a statement.

The Time's Up Entertainment initiative will also provide candidates with up to $10,000 each in financial assistance for professional development at film festivals and conferences, not least for travel expenses.

Elsewhere, the Producers Guild of America, which represents independent film, TV and digital content producers, is to receive $2 million for its foundation to establish an on-set, anti-harassment training program for the entertainment industry.

The PGA is to provide no-cost professional training to tackle unlawful harassment, discrimination, and retaliation on independent productions.

And the producers association will offer free legal consultation to independent film, TV and digital productions.

"We are grateful to CBS for supporting the Producers Guild’s efforts to combat sexual harassment in our industry,” PGA presidents Gail Berman and Lucy Fisher said in a joint statement.

There's also CBS funding for the Sundance Institute's Momentum fellowship program, which offers bespokecreative and professional support for film and TV writers, directors, and producers from underrepresented communities as they look to make their way up the ranks in Hollywood.

The one-year Momentum mentoring program also has financial backing from The Harnisch Foundation and Warner Bros. Pictures, and includes travel grants to the Sundance Film Festival, which was founded by Robert Redford.

"Our inaugural class of fellows bring such an array of unique talents and experiences to the creative table, and we are beyond excited for this year of collaboration and development,” Karim Ahmad, director of outreach and inclusion at the Sundance Institute said on Nov. 20, when unveiling the first eight Momentum fellows for the program.

A CBS looking to advance women in the entertainment space has also got behind Women in Film – Los Angeles, which looks to advance women in entertainment through mentorship, workshops and grants, with an eye to gender parity in the workplace.

WIF-LA also operates a phone help line offering resources, including pro bono legal attorneys and therapists, and confidential emotional support to victims of sexual harassment in the entertainment industry.

Also set to receive CBS backing is Free the Bid, a non-profit working to give women directors equal opportunities to bid on commercial jobs in the advertising industry.

Supporters include Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer at Proctor & Gamble, Karen Kahn, chief communications officer at Hewlett Packard, and Andrew Robertson, president and CEO of BBDO Worldwide.

Elsewhere, CBS is donating $500,000 to the Freedom Forum Institute's Power Shift Project, which aims at combating sexual harassment among journalists and top management in the news industry through the use of trainers and video instruction.

"This generous support from CBS will accelerate the Power Shift Project’s important work and enhance capacity for industrywide delivery of these training resources,” Cathy Trost, senior vice president and executive director of the Freedom Forum Institute, said in a statement.

The Freedom Forum Institute, which usually campaigns for a free press and assembly based on the First Amendment, has institutional support from the Charles Koch Foundation, Hearst Foundations and Henry Luce Foundation, among others.

CBS will also donate to the International Women's Media Foundation, which supports female journalists, whether with fellowships or grants, to become experts in reporting in underserved regions or to bring critical issues affecting women to transform media organizations around the world.

The IWMF also offers safety training and emergency support for female journalists and photographers around the world.

"We also recognize badass female journalists and photographers whose courage sets them apart," the organization, which has major backing from The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Bank of America, Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Chevron and Hearst, says on its website.

Press Forward, another group working to tackle sexual harassment and assault in American newsrooms and formed in December 2017, said in a release that it received an “impactful gift” from CBS.

Among the advisors of Press Forward is Gretchen Carlson, who help lay a path for the #MeToo movement by making a historic2016 sexual harassment complaint against former Fox News head Roger Ailes.

"There needs to be a systematic change in newsroom culture," the group said in May 2018, after veteran TV news journalists like ABC News political reporter Mark Halperin, “CBS This Morning” and PBS host Charlie Rose and NBC “Today” host Matt Lauer were brought down by multiple sexual misconduct allegations related to their workplaces.

Another recipient, Futures Without Violence, campaigns for workplace safety and equity among low-wage workers retail, hotel, restaurant, hospital and clinic workplace settings, many of whom are considered vulnerable to violence, sexual assault, stalking and trafficking.

Futures, which already has a $7.5 million matching grant from the Ford Foundation, also has support from the U.S. federal government and the Blue Shield of California Foundation.

Elsewhere, CBS also donated to Girls for Gender Equity, which works with young students to help "change the culture of sexual harassment in schools," in part by helping young people identify what is offending behaviour.

"Through education, organizing and physical fitness, GGE encourages communities to remove barriers and create opportunities for girls and women to live self-determined lives," the group says on its website.

The CBS cited the work done by GGE senior director Tarana Burke, who is also the #MeToo movement founder, after recently launching an online community for sexual harassment survivors and advocates.

Also at the grassroots level, CBS is to give another $2 million to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), an anti-sexual violence organization that provides information and a 24/7 confidential hotline to help victims of sexual harassment or assault.

The grant from CBS will be specifically directed to RAINN's victim services programs.

"Ending sexual violence takes everyone working together. This generous support will make it possible for us to help tens of thousands more survivors," Scott Berkowitz, president and founder of RAINN, said in a statement.

And CBS donated funds to East Harlem-based STRIVE International, a not-for-profit that offers skills training and work placement for people from underserved communities seeking living-wage employment to get out of poverty.

The 5-stage program at STRIVE includes an initial job readiness workshop, ahead of more specific occupational skills training and case management to deal with obstacles in the way of meaningful employment.

STRIVE then places candidates in jobs, with the support of employers, and follow up over two years when alumni pursue additional job placements for higher wages.

And CBS has funding towards organizations that use the courts to bring about change.

That includes the National Women's Law Center, which works to protect and promote equality and opportunity for women and families, including through public advocacy and education,

The organization has a Time's Up Legal Defense Fund, which helps pay legal fees and costs for those caught up in cases involving sexual harassment and retaliation in the workplace.

"The generous support from CBS will further the National Women’s Law Center’s critical work to educate and inform the public debate around sexual harassment, and – through the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund – get justice for more survivors of sexual harassment and assault," Fatima Goss Graves, NWLC president and CEO, said in a statement.

"We are also grateful to the many survivors who took great risk to speak out about the abuse they endured at CBS. They join a chorus of a survivors who have transformed the way workplaces and our culture more broadly address violence and equity," she added.

Two other groups -- the Collaborative Fund for Women's Safety and Dignity (through Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors) and the New York Women's Foundation -- were picked to direct smaller grants to other organizations.

The New York Women’s Foundation said it received $2.25 million from CBS to in turn support its Fund for the Me Too Movement and Allies "to ensure that the movement is sustained beyond news cycles and hashtags" by investing in organizations led by and for survivors of sexual violence, including women’s community foundations.

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