NEW YORK — Mission North is expanding its Foster the Future program, which offers fellowships, sponsorship, and mentorship opportunities to encourage greater diversity and leadership opportunities within the PR industry.

The Foster the Future initiative — launched last year to provide organizations tools and resources to boost their teams’ diversity, while supporting BICOP students with scholarships and paid internships — has doubled in 2024 to include nine participating agencies.

The PRSA-backed program is designed to build a more progressive future for the PR industry by creating career paths for individuals who’ve been historically excluded from leadership positions.

Agencies participating in the fellowship program include Mission North, Method, LaunchSquad, Agean, Just Drive Media, The Bliss Group and PressFriendly Fellowship. The agencies will be providing more than $82,000 in scholarships and stipends to participants, as well as paid internships. Eligible students may apply now through March 8.

"To foster a diverse and dynamic PR industry, we must tackle the issue from multiple angles," said Tyler Perry, co-CEO of Mission North. "Fellowship addresses the early talent pipeline, and we are delighted to have doubled participation in the program this year. But we felt we could do more to accelerate representation at the senior level.”

To that end, the initiative now includes sponsorship and mentoring programs designed to accelerate the careers of mid-level leaders from underrepresented backgrounds. Those programs include internal coaching and access to mentors including comms leaders from companies such as Google, Nike, Okta, Threshold Ventures, Johnson & Johnson, and BlackRock. Joining Mission North in sponsorship are Praytell Agency and Jones-Dilworth.

"Adding sponsorship and mentorship under the Foster the Future umbrella accelerates career paths for those already established in their careers,” said Perry. “We are grateful to our original and new agency partners, as well as our mentors. Together, we hope to open doors for the next generation of communicators and ensure that our industry reflects the rich diversity of audiences we serve.”