The John R. Lewis Racial Justice Case Competition (JLCC) began at Goizueta Business School in 2020, when Willie Sullivan 21MBA observed his peers looking for ways to make a difference while corporations pledged millions to address structural inequities and racism.
Sullivan saw an opportunity to bring these parties together: Corporations needed action plans, and students can bring fresh perspectives. Sullivan decided to honor the late Congressman John R. Lewis, a civil rights advocate and U.S. Representative from Georgia’s fifth district, by naming the competition after him.
Through JLCC, student teams have the opportunity to create real and meaningful impact at national and global companies. Not only do students grow as teammates and construct innovative ideas and initiatives (skills they can apply in their future careers), but they’re also able to network directly with global organizations.
A Legacy of Impactful Change
Since 2020, students from all over the country, representing more than 90 universities, have competed in the competition, pitching their ideas for change to leaders of Fortune 500 companies. The case competition has resulted in 36 corporate racial justice action plans to date.
“JLCC [attracts] amazing students who could eventually also be pipeline talent to your organization. It’s also a business lever you can utilize for your diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy. Then to have the actions actually result in meaningful, impactful change for your business,” said Katrina Thomton, chief equity, inclusion, and belonging officer of Taco Bell, one of the sponsors for the 2022-2023 case competition.
This year’s corporate sponsors will be announced in December. Past sponsors have included Taco Bell, Delta, Accenture, Moderna, UPS, and IBM.
“Given our location in Atlanta, Georgia, the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement, we draw inspiration from the history of social change driven by icons like U.S. Congressman John R. Lewis,” says JLCC Faculty Advisor, Lynne Segall, associate dean of Management Practice Initiatives and associate professor in the practice of organization and management.
This competition provides a platform for student leaders to influence how organizations think about their businesses in ways that can improve racial equality.Lynne Segall
The top three finalists win a cash prize that they split 50-50 with a nonprofit organization of their choosing that advances racial justice. These organizations have received over $100,000 since the competition’s inception. Past nonprofit recipients have included National Black Leadership Commission on Health, GirlTrek, Step Up For Students, and Opportunity Hub.
Applications are open from November 1 – November 17. All undergraduate and graduate students may apply, regardless of major or concentration. Learn more about the application requirements, and register your team today!
The semi-finals and finals will take place on February 22-23, 2024, in Atlanta.
Learn more about how you can get involved in the John R. Lewis Racial Justice Case Competition.