McDonald’s USA® Partners with Keke Palmer to Surprise “Future 22” Change Leaders with $220,000 to Continue Positively Impacting Communities Nationwide

From a STEM educator leveling the playing field for black and brown kids in IT to a financial literacy champion closing the financial divide in inner cities, these visionaries are breaking ceilings and breaking down barriers to create change. meaningful in communities across the country. Since February, their stories have been told through an integrated marketing campaign that includes Instagram videos on @wearegolden and McDonald’s YouTube channel, as well as TV and radio spots voiced by Keke, and more.

“It is an honor to join McDonald’s in recognizing and celebrating these tremendous leaders, while supporting their work and mission,” Keke said. “They are creating a bright future for themselves and for the next generation – and, really, for all of us – and the excitement on their faces at the McDonald’s surprise gave me joy.”

At the celebration event held at Essence Fest this past weekend in New Orleansthat McDonald’s sponsored for the 22n/a year, Keke and Marissa Fishera second-generation McDonald’s owner/operator in New Orleansparticipated in a fireside chat moderated by McDonald’s Senior Director of Cultural Engagement, Elizabeth Campbellto inspire Future 22 leaders and provide guidance on staying true to its mission, finding balance while changing the world, and leading the way for others, among other topics.

“The theme for this year’s Essence Fest was Black Joy, and we were excited to celebrate the 22 leaders and bring them to New Orleans, in honor of their accomplishments,” said Campbell. “We certainly could have surprised them virtually, but bringing them into our Essence Fest moment meant unlocking the additional community of supporters that are the owners/operators of McDonald’s and the Essence Fest family, to celebrate them more and demonstrate our faith in their work. It was more special than imagined, representing our commitment to nurturing and fostering the communities we serve.”

McDonald’s has sponsored Essence Fest for over 20 years to help shine a positive spotlight on Black community, culture and youth. All weekend, the Arches d’Or celebrated and animated “Black Joy”. This included impactful booth experiences such as stunning performances by R&B singer Jacquees and award-winning gospel artists Sir the Baptist and Jekalyn Carr who premiered the 16e The annual Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour kicking off (in person) this fall. The booth guest was also treated to a celebrity meet and greet lineup featuring Toya JohnsonReginae Carter, Uptown Angela and actor and musician Jacob Latimore.

McDonald’s also reaffirmed its commitment to supporting Black media and communities of color by bringing together some of the leading voices from marketing, media, business and technology for panels that offered advice and resources to create opportunities and break down barriers.

McDonald’s Future 22 and the Essence Fest partnership are two of the company’s many initiatives that celebrate black excellence. For more than 65 years, McDonald’s and its owner/operators have awarded scholarships to HBCU students, created impactful partnerships with community organizations such as the National Urban League, NAACP, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and more. And this year, McDonald’s is proud to congratulate the National Black McDonald’s Operators Association for 50 years of entrepreneurial and community excellence.

For more information on McDonald’s Future 22 or to follow McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden at Essence, follow @wearegolden on Instagram.

About McDonald’s USA

McDonald’s USA, LLC serves a variety of menu options prepared with quality ingredients to millions of customers every day. Ninety-five percent of the 13,500 McDonald’s restaurants in the United States are owned and operated by Independent Business Owners. For more information, visit, or follow us on Instagram at @wearegolden, Twitter @McDonalds and Facebook at


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