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Johnnie Walker unveils First Strides grant scheme

Diageo-owned Johnnie Walker has partnered with musicians Brittany Howard and Tia P to reveal its First Strides initiative and grants.

Johnnie Walker
L-r: Musicians Tia P and Brittany Howard have collaborated with Johnnie Walker

By Alice Brooker

First Strides has been launched to celebrate people and organisations taking steps to ‘move culture forward’.

The whisky brand marked the release of the programme with LA-based women’s football club Angel City, teaming up with musicians Howard and Tia P to create an anthem for the sports team.

The song, called Running with Angels, is the first original anthem for a professional US women’s sports team, and is now the official anthem for Angel City.

“This anthem is a celebration of women, of Angel City Football Club, of the city of Los Angeles, and of everyone around the country doing bold things to create positive change in the world,” said Howard.

“I’m proud to continue creating meaningful work with Johnnie Walker that hopefully inspires people to keep walking together towards a more equitable future.”

A series of grants has also been launched by the brand across three categories: First Strides for Women, First Strides for Black Creators, and First Strides for All.

The First Strides for Women grant supplies funding to women-owned businesses, in partnership with I Fund Women. Meanwhile, the First Strides for Black Creators, in collaboration with global streaming platform Blacktag, is available for Black creators looking to ‘inspire cultural change’ through their content. Finally, First Strides for All looks to empower cultural innovators aiming to make a positive impact on the world.

The grants are available for those aged 21 and over, and can be applied for at

“Progress is the core of Johnnie Walker’s DNA, which is why we are committed to celebrating and propelling the people and organisations taking bold steps to move culture forward,” said Sophie Kelly, senior vice-president of whiskies at Diageo North America.

“Our partners at Angel City FC, I Fund Women and Blacktag are doing just that – breaking the mould and creating more equity – and we are proud to continue partnering with them and others to fund and toast First Strides.”

Earlier this month, Johnnie Walker teamed up with charity Equal Measures to support marginalised groups in the on-trade.

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