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Special Project

Special Project
From the 8th Annual Shorty Impact Awards

Shifting the Conversation Around Racial Equity: Multi-Channel Campaign for WKKF

Finalist in Nonprofit, Multi-Platform Campaign, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Gold Honor in Youth & Family


In recent years, there’s been a rapid acceleration of racial tensions throughout the country and around the world – we’ve witnessed a wave of highly visible acts of hate against vulnerable communities, a flood of heated rhetoric meant to inflame conflicts between groups and the reversal of policies that support equitable opportunities to success. The causes of these are varied – from the long-term pressures and impact of the pandemic to the economic downturn and growing political divides.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) recognized the difficult work of keeping people motivated to continue the fight for racial equity in increasingly tumultuous times would take far more than a single act or moment in time.

To invite people to consider how they can face uncomfortable truths and heal together from the ills of racism, WKKF led a year-long, integrated campaign across multiple platforms – from media partnerships, influencer engagement and creative content to global, national and local PR and events, underpinned by social media.  

WKKF partnered with Porter Novelli and Ketchum to achieve several primary goals throughout this journey:

  1. Tell the stories of community-based racial justice leaders, promoting their work and creating awareness of their organizations.  
  2. Leverage WKKF CEO and President La June Montgomery Tabron’s 35+ years in philanthropy and racial justice, positioning her as a thought leader and passionate visionary in achieving racial equity.
  3. Empower individuals with the tools, knowledge and resources to spark movements of change and healing in their communities.

Strategy and Execution

Telling a different kind of story about racial equity – one that uplifts and empowers historically marginalized people – takes different kinds of storytelling.  Together, Ketchum, Porter Novelli and WKKF launched an integrated, multiplatform campaign mobilizing earned media, digital storytelling, thought leadership and media partnerships to shed light on the interconnected and compounding effects of racism on children, communities and culture and provide platforms and resources to people who are making a difference.

Our strategy involved: 

This strategy allowed us to engage broader audiences through cultural touchstones while tapping WKKF’s President and CEO, Montgomery Tabron, to lead national discussions around racial healing and racial equity. 

Our three primary “tent pole” moments, which were underpinned by social amplification, national media and op-eds included: 

  1. The “Racial Equity 2030” announcement in October 2022, which introduced winners a $90M prize created by WKKF that supports organizations striving to build a future where racial equity is realized. Awarded to five organizations from 1,500 submissions across 72 countries, the Racial Equity 2030 recipient announcement was the first step in a series of activations intended to move racial equity and healing from conversations happening in individual communities to those happening in every community. Partnering with GMA3, program host Rocsi Diaz travelled to WKKF’s headquarters in Michigan to interview WKKF CEO, Montgomery Tabron, where she announced the winners. To amplify the announcement, we partnered with NowThis, Vox’s social media-focused news platform and launched a content series where new videos were deployed weekly for three months. To ensure we reached additional key audience targets, we also partnered with The Washington Post, bringing awareness of WKKF’s equity initiatives to WaPo’s 3M daily readers.  
  1. The National Day of Racial Healing in January 2023, the day after MLK Day. In partnership with NBC Universal, we developed an activation that included nationally televised townhalls on MSNBC and Telemundo and hundreds of local events, where communities came together to talk about racial equity. This was the 7th annual event, but the first time WKKF leveraged the power and influence of an integrated campaign.   

  1. The Essence Festival of Culture in New Orleans in June 2023, where Montgomery Tabron and Tyler James Williams, a current star on ABC's Abbott Elementary, discussed the importance of equitable early care and education in supporting a child’s life trajectory. The discussion kicked off a summer-long storytelling series which spotlighted the educators, caregivers, communities and organizations working tirelessly to break down systemic barriers that disproportionately affect children of color and children from low-income families. Coverage for this event focused on tapping mainstream outlets like People and leveraging extensive digital content to engage younger and diverse audiences online.   


WKKF’s journey to shift and elevate the conversation around racial equity and racial healing has achieved powerful results.

Our earned media efforts resulted in more than 1 billion impressions and 200+ placements through the campaign across agenda-setting outlets like the Associated Press and The Guardian, culturally relevant publications like BET, Complex and Essence as well as mass media outlets like People Magazine and USA Today.

Our multiplatform paid partnership with GMA3, The Washington Post, and NowThis/Vox Media, exceeded all expectations. In addition to an average live television viewership of 1.8M, WKKF’s feature with GMA3 garnered a further 10K viewers across IG and Facebook. Our series with Vox earned a combined 571K video views and 229K video completes, for an overall view completion rate of 40%. And finally, our feature in the Washington Post reached 2.7M subscribers, attracting ~18K online readers with 2-min average visit, surpassing benchmarks by 28% and 56% for pageviews and visitors respectively.

According to a post-campaign study, WKKF’s video partnership with NowThis/Vox Media proved especially impactful, with 80% of respondents reporting that they gained new insights from the content. The videos also significantly improved perception of WKKF's commitment to equity and systemic change, with 2 in 3 respondents acknowledging WKKF's positive impact on racial equity and healing.

In an age of armchair activism, WKKF’s campaign transcended mediums – inspiring individuals and communities to engage both digitally and through live connection; nearly 1M people reported participating in the campaign’s live activations either through local events and townhalls.


Video for Shifting the Conversation Around Racial Equity: Multi-Channel Campaign for WKKF

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Porter Novelli & Ketchum, W.K. Kellogg Foundation