CBS has hired an advisory firm to help guide the distribution of its $20 million charitable donation to women’s equality and anti-harassment organizations in the wake of the sexual harassment scandal that enveloped former chairman-CEO Leslie Moonves.
Los Angeles-based Rally will help CBS decide the organizations that will receive the funds, which were earmarked as part of CBS’ separation agreement with Moonves last month. The $20 million will be deducted from any severance that is due to Moonves, pending the outcome of an investigation into his behavior and the broader culture at CBS that was launched in August. Moonves was forced out after two explosive reports published by investigative reporter Ronan Farrow in the New Yorker. Moonves had been in line for a parachute of at least $120 million, but he may not receive anything if the investigation, handled by two outside law firms, uncovers credible evidence of wrongdoing on his part.
CBS said the grant recipients will be named by Dec. 14. That date may also be significant for the timeline of the investigation and its conclusion. CBS initially said it would disburse the funds within a month of the Sept. 9 announcement of Moonves’ departure. But the company decided to retain Rally to help advise on the donation process after making initial inquiries with a range of organizations. CBS and Moonves will make the final call on where the donations are made. Organizations looking to be considered for a grant are asked to contact CBS via the email address email@example.com.
“While we continue to focus on strengthening our own Company’s culture, it’s also important that we support the organizations that are helping to ensure safety and equity in our industry, as well as providing both prevention and assistance for victims of sexual assault, abuse and harassment in all workplaces,” said Joe Ianniello, CBS Corp.’s president and acting CEO.“Rally’s expertise will help make sure we are being as effective and impactful with these funds as we can be. Today’s announcement is part of a much larger undertaking by the Company, and I look forward to announcing more about our plans in that regard in the coming weeks.”
Rally is billed as an issue-driven communications firm focused on activism and a range of social justice concerns.
“This is a critical time in our country and in all industries and we are glad to see that preventing sexual assault and increasing equity in the workplace are becoming national priorities. Powerful companies have a responsibility to be leaders in changing workplace culture, and we are happy to bring Rally’s expertise to this conversation,” said Rally principal Lara Bergthold. “Rally has a longtime commitment to supporting women and diversity in the workplace, both in our own firm and in the work that we do. This is a difficult and important conversation, not just in the industry but in the country, and we are pleased to be supporting CBS in taking this critical step.”