Harlem Grown partners with VML and BIC for Social Impact Lab

7/29/2018 Unknown 0 Comments


What did you do this summer? Thanks to BIC's Social Impact Lab, a select team of BICsters can say they made a difference in the lives of nature-deprived children in Harlem.

The brain-child of VML's God-is Rivera, the Social Impact Lab is a one-credit collective that uniquely brings together BIC students, the full-service agency of VML, and Harlem Grown, a community-based organization. Working together, they will spend six weeks building a sustainable brand identity and communications campaign. The intimacy, intensity, and real-life purpose of this course gives students a chance to operate as a mini-comms team during the summer months and into the fall semester. After a final pitch in late August, this super-charged team of ten BICsters will be more fully prepared for the BIC non-profit capstone in the fall.


The lab partners with VML, a mid-town agency that thrives on moving brands forward by inspiring human connection. Its client partner for this project, Harlem Grown, a non-profit that helps children and teens find their true potential as it exposes them to new experiences that teach them how to develop a healthy lifestyle. Harlem Grown has selected a partnership with VML to create campaigns that drive awareness and donations in order to expand their program.

Starting in late July, students began meeting weekly at VML’s offices at Columbus Circle where they work with God-is and her VML colleagues Eddie Velez and Cassandra Ondich as well as other agency mentors to define goals and present progress updates. They are also expected to complete client work-sessions at local locations which will designated by the Harlem Grown management team. This course is structured as an interactive lab so that students can engage directly with Harlem Grown and Director Tony Hillery alongside mentorship from VML.

ABOUT VML: VML is a global marketing agency that transforms brands through a connected consumer experience. Through every touch point it creates, story it tells and relationship it builds, VML strives to inspire meaningful connections. Its clients include Bayer Animal Health, Bridgestone, Colgate-Palmolive, Electrolux/Frigidaire, Ford, Microsoft, NAPA AUTO PARTS, New Balance, PepsiCo, Sherwin-Williams Consumer Brands Group, Tyson and Wendy's.

 Founded in 1992 and headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, VML has more than 3,000 employees with principal offices in 33 locations across six continents, and are proud to have been included on Ad Age's Agency A-List in 2016, 2017, and 2018.

ABOUT GOD-IS RIVERA: Born in the Bronx, God-is has built her digital career holding lead channel strategy roles at global agency iCrossing and Austin-based T3. In early 2016, Ms. Rivera joined Ad Age A-List Global Agency VML in their New York office to lead channel strategy as an Associate Social Strategy Director. After helping to establish VML’s expanding diversity efforts and inclusion and diversity council, God-is was named Director, Inclusion & Cultural Resonance for VML in 2017 where she leads internal diversity efforts and is implementing Cultural Resonance, a methodology she created that fuses the importance of internal culture and representation to creative work outputs, and promotes the use of a diverse supplier base.

ABOUT HARLEM GROWN: Harlem Grown is an independent, non-profit organization whose mission is to inspire youth to lead healthy and ambitious lives through mentorship and hands-on education in urban farming, sustainability, and nutrition. Founded in 2011, it operates local urban farms, increases access to and knowledge of healthy food for Harlem residents, and provides garden-based development programs to Harlem youth.