MADISON, WI—Feb. 16, 2021—The grassroots movements for racial and social justice that swept the nation over the spring and summer of 2020 forced individuals and organizations alike to have tough conversations about systemic racism and biases. When the leadership team at Hiebing, Madison’s largest marketing agency, reflected on whether the organization was doing enough to solve racial inequity within its four walls and across the industry, the unanimous answer was no.
Historically, Hiebing has found it extremely challenging to recruit Black talent. While the latest Race to Equity report states that Black residents make up less than seven percent of Dane County’s total population, Hiebing decided to stop hiding behind the statistics and start working to change them.
Evidenced by longstanding relationships with Madison-area organizations like Boys and Girls Club of Dane County and United Way of Dane County, Hiebing believes in the power of education as a pathway to opportunity. As such, scholarships benefiting underrepresented populations were a clear first step to attracting and supporting aspiring professionals of color in the marketing industry.
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 by anonymous donors to UW-Madison, bringing the total scholarship amount to $300,000. Each year, a percentage of the total endowments will be gifted to individuals.
“We are very excited to work with Hiebing to create opportunities for racial and social justice within the School of Journalism and Mass Communication,” said director Hernando Rojas. “This Chancellor’s Scholarship will help us attract, retain and contribute to the professional flourishing of underrepresented groups in the communications field. We are thankful for the support and happy to take this challenge to the next level.”
Hiebing’s hope is that these scholarships will create opportunities for students who otherwise may not be afforded them and will inspire others in Madison’s business community to use their resources and influence to do the same.
“The Black Lives Matter movement showed that it’s not enough for businesses like ours to be a welcoming environment for people of color,” said Dave Florin, CEO of Hiebing. “As the largest agency in Madison, we need to attract Black talent to our city and provide them paths to success within our organization. We hope supporting underserved students on their higher education journey will lead to fundamental change in the professional makeup of our own agency and Madison’s professional community as a whole. If other businesses across the city join us, we can make real, lasting change in our industry by granting Black talent the same access to opportunities that we’ve been fortunate enough to experience.”
Hiebing is a full-service marketing communications agency that creates measurable brand momentum through the marriage of data and artful storytelling. The agency has offices in Madison, Wisconsin, and Austin, Texas, and offers a suite of services, including brand strategy, research, creative, media, PR, social, digital, marketing science and production. Hiebing’s client roster includes Culver’s, ABC Supply, the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, Schneider, Summit Credit Union, Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County and the Austin Area, Chuy’s Tex-Mex, United Way of Dane County and many others. Learn more at www.hiebing.com.