WHAT ROLE DOES PHILANTHROPY PLAY WITHIN THE PR INDUSTRY?

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Do philanthropy and PR seem a bit counterintuitive? In today’s media savvy nonprofit environment, a multitude of foundations are proving that the two seamlessly go hand in hand.

Many innovators within the PR Industry have the foresight to align for advocacy, as made evident by events such as the ‘Leading Women in Media’ luncheon held in the spring of 2015 in New York City. The business roundtable was hosted by the New York based David Lynch Foundation, with the participation of eight highly esteemed women within the media industry who have discovered the benefits of meditation in their own lives, and were eager to share the techniques with 500 professionals.

This particular symposium of New York’s leading women in media was held to benefit the nonprofit David Lynch Foundation, or DLF, established in 2005. Since its inception by the famous film director, DLF has become a beacon of hope for adults and children alike through its revolutionary practice, Transcendental Meditation.

All proceeds from this particular event were donated to the funding of teaching meditation techniques to women in New York City who have fallen victim to violence or abuse. Notable participants included Robin Roberts, host of ABC’s Good Morning America as well as Arianna Huffington, editor-in-chief of Huffington Post Media Group; highlighted at DLF. The luncheon panel offered validation that when influential members within the industry unite for such a cause, the collaboration manifests to spread awareness for the practice.

Cultivated as an outlet for thought and consciousness-based stress relief, the institution endeavors to promote education and peace in countries all over the world. Providing a means for individuals to harness internal power and to truly transform one’s life from within, is the mission the DLF steadfastly pursues via its dedicated director Bob Roth.

For example, an internship program sponsored by the David Lynch Foundation as part of its annual fundraising initiative was financially supported by individuals such as Courtney Lukitsch, the founder of Gotham PR. Coming full circle, the PR practitioner inherently values the role that PR plays within the philanthropic community.

As an illustration of the impact this kind of opportunity can have on individuals, DLF intern [sponsored by Gotham PR], Alexandra Silverman spoke about the monumental impact the foundation has had on her life. Offered the paid position at the New York based David Lynch Foundation, she jumped at the chance to work with their multifaceted mission and audiences. As a result, she plans to seek a permanent position with the organization upon graduation from Bucknell University in 2016.

“After going through some personal struggles last year, I decided to learn TM through the Transcendental Meditation Center of Long Island. Since I was also looking for a summer internship opportunity at that same time, I asked the Transcendental Meditation Center if they hired interns.”                                                         -Alexandra Silverman, intern, David Lynch Foundation

In this thought piece published by media industry giant Cision, giving back has been dubbed the “gateway” to countless effective PR campaigns. How is this activity measurable? The article underlines the four critical ways in which PR can support communities, from providing time to contributing expertise. When all elements flow in a cohesive manner, companies are spreading the word and generating buzz without even being consciously aware.

PR dynamos in New York actively also support vital organizations that include The Bowery Mission, devoted to providing help to the homeless and impoverished, as well as the American Cancer Society.

As philanthropy continues to play an expanding role within the PR Industry, it is advantageous for companies to position themselves as active members within their respective community. This idea of being a good neighbor is also explored at The Examiner.

In continuation of the “good neighbor” mantra, The O’Hara Project, a marketing and PR firm specializing in integrated communication and media is granting a year of pro bono PR for a national nonprofit organization in 2016. The firm is encapsulating what it means to truly be engaged within the community.

By remaining involved and “present” in the community, business and brand entities also remain current in member’s minds. Furthermore, donating one’s time is indisputably one of the most beneficial things any individual or company can do.

In this Harvard Business Review, corporate philanthropy is posed as giving a “competitive advantage” to the companies who embrace it. Using the formerly mentioned charities, companies may choose to incorporate civic duty and shareholder responsibility. Binding these two philosophies irrefutably maximizes company potential both financially and socially as well as philanthropically.

Aside from the PR community, numerous celebrities have joined together in supporting the DLF campaign to help distressed communities and individuals alike. November 4th in New York City, the likes of Katy Perry, Sting and Jerry Seinfeld will perform at the “Change Begins Within” concert at Carnegie Hall, a night exclusively dedicated to benefit the David Lynch Foundation.

Philanthropy in PR has become a part of the job description. Many within the world of media and agencies are passionate about using their status to promote goodwill around the globe, both in terms of awareness and funding.

The relationship between philanthropy and PR will certainly continue to flourish. Doing the right thing has the potential to yield invaluable results not only for your community but for business as well.

Visit https://www.davidlynchfoundation.org/message.html for additional information about the foundation.

Note: A version of this article will appear in The Philanthropy Journal in January of 2016. At this time photos from the Change Begins Within Benefit Concert will be featured as well as any new and relevant information pertaining to the foundation.

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