Columbus, Ohio-based marketing agency The Shipyard is gifting Association of National Advertisers (ANA) memberships to college students attending Ohio State University. The donation marks the first time an agency has made a financial contribution to the ANA on behalf of an academic institution.
The Shipyard’s commitment serves as an extension of its ongoing partnership with OSU’s The Black Advertising and Strategic Communication Association (BASCA) internship and advocacy program.
The gifted memberships will provide BASCA students access to all of the ANA’s membership benefits, including ANA content, conferences, and training opportunities. In fact, the Shipyard intends to involve them in “every ANA event as possible,” states The Shipyard's CEO Rick Milenthal.
Students of color historically have not had access to resources such as the ANA, and this gift from The Shipyard – along with its current BASCA internship program – will help accelerate diversity, equity and inclusion in the industry, notes Dr. Osei Appiah of the OSU School of Communication, who created the BASCA student organization with Milenthal over a decade ago. “There is a pressing need for companies in partnership with academic institutions to rectify the underrepresentation of Blacks at advertising and marketing firms.”
Milenthal adds he personally felt the need to
accelerate his agency’s diversity initiatives after 2020’s Black Lives Matter protests and related awareness efforts. This latest project follows the agency’s commitment to train,
mentor and cultivate 30 new professionals over the next five years.
“We hope together to inspire and train hundreds of young Black students for a long future in this industry,” he says. “It is our hope to inspire other agencies and marketers to do the same – together we can positively affect the talent composition of our industry. Quite frankly, it’s long overdue.”
The Shipyard expects to duplicate this ANA initiative with other universities and launch the mentorship program in the agency’s California markets in 2021.