As grassroots movements for racial and social justice swept the nation in 2020, individuals and organizations alike were forced to have tough, long-overdue conversations about systemic racism. We at Hiebing were no different. We asked ourselves: Are we doing enough to solve racial inequity in our organization and across the industry?
Upon self-reflection, the answer was “no.” But with that realization, we were inspired to take action—and today we’re proud to announce the creation of two scholarships to support underserved students in Madison.
A Vessel for Opportunity & Equity
At Hiebing, we’ve long found it challenging to recruit Black talent to our teams. And although the latest Race to Equity report states that less than seven percent of Dane County’s residents are Black, we decided to explore the ways we can stop hiding behind statistics and start working to change them. One channel for progress quickly rose to the top: education.
We have a steadfast belief in the power of education as a pathway to opportunity. It’s why we have longstanding relationships with Boys and Girls Clubs of Dane County and the Austin Area as well as United Way of Wisconsin and Dane County. And it led us to choose scholarships benefiting underrepresented populations as a clear first step to attracting and supporting aspiring professionals of color in the marketing industry.
Partnering With Madison’s Leading Institutions
In order to maximize the impact of the scholarships, we found it crucial to tap into the power of Madison’s higher education institutions. The first of two endowed scholarships, valued at $40,000, will benefit Madison College students seeking degrees in graphic design, visual storytelling, web and digital media design or web and interactive design. The second, benefiting UW-Madison students, is a Chancellor’s Scholarship for the School of Journalism & Mass Communication. Hiebing’s contribution of $150,000 was matched for a total scholarship of $300,000.
Each year, a percentage of the total endowments will be gifted to individuals from underrepresented groups. Our hope is not only that these scholarships will create opportunities for students who otherwise may not be afforded them, but that they will inspire others in Madison’s business community to use their resources and influence to do the same.
Like everything worth pursuing, creating a world with greater racial equity will not be achieved overnight, but we take this step with belief and optimism that it will be the first of many on a journey toward a more equitable future—in the Madison community and beyond.