In many ways, diversity has become more important than ever in our industry, not just in terms of diversity of staff but also diversity of thought, ideas, and service offerings.
The 4A’s continues to develop and support programs that foster diversity. In its 36th year, the Multicultural Advertising Intern Program (MAIP) maintains its mission of introducing college students of color to the advertising agency business. During the summer of 2008, the 4A’s placed 147 students in paid advertising internships at 75 4A’s member agency offices across the United States. These students began their job search at the annual MAIP Diversity Career Fair held following graduation from the program in August. More than 2,000 racially and ethnically diverse students have participated in MAIP since the program’s inception in 1973; many are active in the MAIP Alumni Association, an organization established in 1996 to provide professional development assistance to MAIP graduates.
In addition, Operation Jump Start entered the third year of its third round of scholarship funding in 2008. The program provides financial assistance to aspiring multicultural art directors and copywriters; each Jump Start scholar receives a $10,000 scholarship—paid in two annual installments of $5,000—for tuition assistance. Since the scholarship was founded in 1997, 188 scholarships, totaling nearly $1.9 million, have been awarded. The program continues a successful track record, with nearly every graduated scholarship recipient now working in our industry. Operation Jump Start is funded by charitable donations from 4A’s member agencies. By the end of phase three, a total of $2.5 million will have been raised for the scholarship program.
The GeneratioNext Scholarship Fund, created by the 4A’s New York Council Board of Governors, is helping New York City high school students discover career opportunities in the advertising. In 2008, a one-time grant of $187,000 was provided to the High School for Innovation in Advertising and Media in Brooklyn, NY. The funds were used to purchase computer equipment for the school’s media lab and to partially fund an individual to serve as a liaison between the industry and the New York City Board of Education. Going forward, funds will be used to award scholarships to promising multicultural high school seniors who have participated in the Advertising Futures program. GeneratioNext is funded by monies raised from designated Advertising Week events.