The article below appeared in the May15th edition of the Rochester Business Journal. Written by Kevin Oklobzija
Truth Collective has always believed it’s important to be a part of the greater good.
While very much a for-profit marketing agency, some of Truth Collective’s best work has been in collaboration with nonprofits.
There was the Slaying Giants campaign for Causewave Community Partners that won a national gold ADDY in 2018. Last year the creative minds at Truth Collective put together Breaking the Silence of Abuse, a campaign for Willow Domestic Violence Center.
“We’ve always believed we don’t need to be the biggest, but we need to be important,” said Bob Bailey, the firm’s firm’s CEO. “We wanted to find a way to be more meaningful in individuals’ lives.”
They looked at options in higher education with an emphasis on diversity.
Bailey and his fellow founders of the firm, chief strategy officer John Roberts and chief creative officer Jeremy Schwartz, settled on creation of a program to support one or two multicultural, third-year students at Rochester Institute of Technology.
They established the Truth Noble Ambition Scholars Fund, a multi-year investment with an initial commitment of $50,000. The goal is to eliminate possible roadblocks so selected students have a better chance to flourish.
“We wanted to make a difference with the lives and trajectories of a few,” Bailey said.
RIT officials will select the recipients from students in the creative or marketing field. The fund will provide financial support as well as an open door for mentorship at Truth Collective.
“In advertising, there’s a lack of diverse talent, and it’s been that way for a while,” Bailey said. “We thought maybe we can do something very specific. Even if students have a scholarship and their tuition is paid for, there are still things like books and transportation and fees.
“And then beyond the money, it’s access to our employees, our space. Our people will critique their work, help them build portfolios, help with a paper, however we can provide guidance.”
It’s quite possible the mentoring could lead to an internship, Bailey said.
Bailey said it made the most sense for RIT administrators to choose the recipients.
“They know the students, they know their aspirations and they know their situations,” he said.
Natalie Anderson, executive director of central development at RIT, said: “First-generation and underrepresented students often face barriers that can undermine their success. When awarded with funds to cover tuition, expenses and mentorship to guide their development, these students are more likely to stay on track.”
That in turn will benefit a field — and in turn clients — that needs to enhance diversity, Bailey said.
“We’re solving problems all the time, but when you have the same type of thinkers, you’re going to get the same type of solutions,” he said. “When we’re creating a campaign for a client, it has to work for a lot of people. It has to go out into a diverse world and strike a chord.”
Truth Collective is hoping this new fund will prepare students who can help agencies achieve that goal for clients.