Ogilvy wins Gates grant for developmental project

SAN FRANCISCO: Ogilvy Public Relations has won a $100,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support a global development project aimed at Millennials.

SAN FRANCISCO: Ogilvy Public Relations has won a $100,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support a global development project aimed at Millennials.

Ogilvy is the only PR firm among the winners of the “Grand Challenges Explorations” program, an initiative funded by the Gates Foundation. The initiative awarded 58 grants this year, nine of which were projects addressing a communications challenge of developmental aid. Other communications winners included advertising agency Leo Burnett, consulting firm Coxswain Social Investment Plus, and nonprofits such as Plan International USA.

The name of Ogilvy's project is “Cause Generation: A Platform to Define a Generation's Cause.”

More than 1,200 candidates from 85 countries applied to the Grand Challenges Explorations program. Applicants were charged with coming up with an idea to solve a global health or development problem.

Ogilvy's idea was that, unlike past generations, Millennials do not have a central cause around which to rally. However, agency research found that Millennials are the most engaged and willing to give their time to a developmental cause, said Eddie Fernandez, SVP of sustainability unit OgilvyEarth.

With the grant, Ogilvy will create a platform for Milliennials to define the cause of their generation, he added. The agency can use the funds for research or third-party support to create a plan and social platform.

Ogilvy and other winners will have the opportunity to apply for an additional grant of $1 million next year, which would help to implement the project on a global scale, Fernandez said.  

“Anytime we can align with an organization like the Gates Foundation, it's a dream come true,” Fernandez said, adding that the project had attracted interest from agency staffers around the world wanting to get involved.

Launched in 2008, the Grand Challenges Explorations program has awarded grants to more than 800 people in over 50 countries.

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