I had the opportunity to attend one of the more than 350 sessions that were part of the 2017 Denver Startup Week. Now in its sixth year, Denver Startup Week is the largest free entrepreneurial event of its kind in North America, and is one of the best resources in the nation for those looking to start or grow a business, or in my case, to learn from the best in business.
One of the sessions I attended, “Chinese Rockets and Disco Dance Lessons: The Art of Reinvention – A Night with Startup Visionaries Charlie Ergen, Mark Cuban and Brad Feld,” was highly entertaining and included a candid discussion with successful entrepreneurs.
While admittedly I’m not an entrepreneur, I’m in awe of gutsy business leaders who just go for it and live their dream. Charlie Ergen is the co-founder of Dish Network; Brad Feld runs the Foundry Group, a Boulder venture capital fund; and Mark Cuban is the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks and star of “Shark Tank.”
Rosie in A PLACE AT THE TABLE, a Magnolia Pictures release. Rosie is from Collburn, Colo. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.
I’m one of those people. I see a documentary, get excited about the cause, swear I’m going to do something to help, and then move on to the next item on my to do list and forget to spread the word about the issue. Not this time…
Thanks to Hunger Free Colorado, I had the opportunity to preview the documentary, “A Place at the Table,” which opened nationwide on March 1. It was alarming to learn that while the United States is one of the wealthiest nations in the world, 50 million Americans do not know where their next meal is coming from.
As someone who is passionate about healthy eating and active living, the real eye opener for me was the link between food insecurity (hunger) and childhood obesity. But when you stop to think about it, it makes perfect sense. Children who don’t have access to food – especially healthy food – are likely to eat unhealthy food without proper nutrients. And the childhood obesity rates in the U.S. are alarming! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: more than one third of American children and adolescents in 2010 were overweight or obese. Something has to be done to stop this epidemic.
Lauren Cook is attending this year’s The Colorado Health Symposium “Health Equity: Bridging the Divides.” In the first discovery session about Food Deserts, a correlation was drawn between a community’s access to healthy food options and its overall health.
Not surprisingly, there’s a direct connection between the type of food being sold in a neighborhood and the neighborhood’s health. Access to fresh, diverse, and healthy food is a challenge for many Americans. With better access to healthy food comes better eating, better health and a critical lowering of our country’s obesity rate.
Did you know that 170,000 Colorado children do not have basic health care? GroundFloor Media’s Amanda Brannum recently sat down with Deb Federspiel from Children’s Hospital Colorado’s Children’s Health Advocacy Institute (CHAI) to talk about our partnership, funded by The Colorado Trust, working together to reach mothers and families throughout Colorado to inform, educate and encourage families to speak up for better access to health care in Colorado. Learn more about the program and how you can get involved at www.childrenscolorado.org/speakup
GroundFloor Media’s own Jim Licko and Alexis Anderson just returned from St. Louis where earlier this week they kicked off the 2011 Make A Splash tour on behalf of client the USA Swimming Foundation. In addition to working with Olympic swimmer Cullen Jones and engaging with amazing kids at the local Mathews Dickey Boys and Girls Club in St. Louis, the team secured fantastic media coverage and are looking forward to future tour stops.
Watch this video for an overview of the story and some highlights from the St. Louis trip!
Corporate giving, corporate social responsibility, community relations – we hear about these important issues all the time. It’s supposedly essential for companies to give back to their communities – to help solve the ills that plague society. But is it really the role of business to address issues like hunger, natural disasters and poverty – or to support causes such as higher education or the arts? Shouldn’t business just be about customers, revenues and the bottom line? Considering that I personally spent six years in an organization dedicated largely to encouraging corporate philanthropy, I have to say that forward-thinking businesses should do more than care about their bottom line. And I’m happy to report that Denver – and our nation – is chock full of business leaders and employees who truly care about their community.
According to the 2009 State of Corporate Citizenship in the United States survey from the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship and The Hitachi Foundation, “In a strong signal that corporate social responsibility has earned a place alongside the bottom line, a survey of nearly 800 companies found most senior executives believe business should take a greater role solving problems in health care, product safety, education and climate change.” The survey results go on to show that “corporate citizenship is weathering the recession and is increasingly being integrated into business strategy and operations.”
I am proud to report that even though we are a small business, we believe in walking the proverbial walk. In addition to helping clients identify nonprofit partners and develop strategic corporate giving plans, GroundFloor Media donates up to 15% each year to nonprofits. Several years ago, GroundFloor Media chose Tennyson Center for Children, one of the Rocky Mountain region’s leading treatment and education centers for abused, neglected and at-risk youth, as its nonprofit partner and began providing pro bono PR services to the organization. Through its Get Grounded program, GroundFloor Media also allows its employees to get paid time off for volunteering and provides matching grants to organizations about which employees feel passionate.
And, GroundFloor Media is not alone. For instance, in 2008 Qdoba Mexican Grill adopted Starlight Children’s Foundation as its national charity partner, to which it donates funds, employee volunteer hours and food. Denver-based St. Mary Land & Exploration Company has sponsored the building of a Habitat for Humanity house each year for the past several years, sending employee volunteers to help with the construction, and in 2009, Pinnacol Assurance awarded more than $250,000 in scholarships to students through its foundation. And this is just a small sample of the many businesses doing great things in their communities and around the world.
But with all of the potential causes and issues out there, how does a company know which one (or ones) to support? A couple of tips to keep in mind:
In order to ensure buy-in – and even enthusiasm – for the program among employees, it’s a good idea to survey them to identify causes that matter them. If a majority of your employees believe strongly in the need to help bolster public education, then that might be the way to go.
It can also help give a company direction to consider what causes are most closely related to their product or mission. What can your company offer that others can’t? Take Tide’s Loads of Hope campaign for instance – by providing mobile laundry services to victims of natural disasters, they are building incredible good will through a very unique offering.
And don’t forget to give employees ways to support their own personal causes, in addition to an overall cause for the corporation. This is a wonderful way to build employee morale and help ensure employee retention.
And, finally – because we would be remiss as a corporate citizen if we didn’t include a plug for our nonprofit partner in a blog post about corporate giving… For more information on how you can help Tennyson Center, be sure to tune in to 9NEWS in Denver on Thursday morning, March 4. Tennyson Center’s president and CEO will be on the 5:30 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. newscasts, and members of the Tennyson Center team will be taking calls about how individuals and groups can get involved.
With the Colorado Garden & Home Show kicking off this Saturday (Feb. 13 at 10 a.m.), it only seems appropriate to give a shout out to Denver’s media outlets. Recently, much of my work at GroundFloor Media has been handling crisis communication, social media and national media relations. But, I must admit that I have enjoyed rekindling my relationships with some of Denver’s long-time reporters and producers. In January, PRSA Colorado hosted an event called “A Media Roundtable: Breaking the News in 2010.” It was the perfect event to kick off 2010 and really helped our team get a jump start on the local media relations opportunities for this show. If you missed the event and are interested in learning “the most important thing PR people need to know about the media in 2010,” watch these videos.
We all witnessed social media hitting the mainstream in 2009; however, traditional media still plays an important role in communicating our clients’ news and events. While we developed a Twitter and Facebook strategy for the show and created a hashtag (#garden2010), we knew we needed to execute a strong local media relations campaign. Even with all the changes we have read about at The Denver Post and the merging of KDVR FOX31 and KWGN The Deuce, it was very refreshing to work with reporters/producers who are passionate about their work and most importantly, are committed to our community – as I have witnessed in working with so many of them over the years.
As the media landscape continues to change, my advice to any local business is to read and watch your local media. Follow the news outlet on Twitter. Become a fan on Facebook. Listen to the reporters/producers. Invite them to coffee for a “get to know you” session. Understand their interests and passions. And be aware of the beats/topics they like to cover. Then pitch story ideas that you know they will want to report on because it is the perfect fit. Media relations is all about the “relations” part. Start here and you are sure to have better success at garnering media coverage!
While reading The Denver Post on Saturday, I came across an article titled “Save me… ideas for doing more with less.” (In case you missed it, it was featured in the “In & Out” section; click here to read the story). At first glance I was thrilled to see our client, The Children’s Hospital, included in the article, yet as I read the hospital’s tips to “keep the vacation lazies at bay,” I realized I needed to take note of one particular tip…
I must admit that I love holiday cookies. My family and I bake cookies – sugar cookies, fudge, thumb prints, toffee and spritz – the day after Thanksgiving. During the holidays, I leave a plate of cookies on the counter for our family and friends to nibble on. As I read this article and was gently reminded about the severity of child obesity (the rate of severe obesity among U.S. children and teenagers more than tripled over the past three decades, according to a study in the journal Academic Pediatrics), I decided it was time to put the plate of cookies away.
As you enjoy the last few days of 2009, take the advice of the experts at The Children’s Hospital. Challenge yourself to be active – go skiing or snowshoeing; enjoy a walk or run; or build a snowman.
On another Denver Post-related note, I finally met “In & Out” editor Elana Ashanti Jefferson. While we have worked together to tell our clients’ stories over the years, we have never met face-to-face. It was a delight to finally sit down over a cup of coffee and hear more about her editorial interests. She works from a three- to four- week editorial deadline, so keep that in mind when pitching her!
The first-ever Colorado Fall Home Show took place this month at the Colorado Convention Center offering more than 6,000 visitors a variety of ways to renovate, remodel and renew their homes. But what interested attendees the most was the variety of companies emphasizing sustainable living products and services. Walking the floor of the show, it was obvious to see that if you apply yourself, you can incorporate green living products into every inch of your home!
In addition to the 300 exhibitors, two demonstration theaters were busy with experts showing do-it-yourself ways to bring sustainability and energy efficiency into your home, as well as eye catching interior design and remodeling tips. The cooking demonstrations (and samples) were a special treat!
Similar to the Annual Colorado Garden & Home Show, a percentage of the proceeds generated at the Colorado Fall Home Show will further extend grants and scholarships for Colorado’s horticulture industry. CGS has awarded a record breaking amount of more than $500,000 in horticulture grant projects and scholarships for 2008 – 2009 including grants to more than 40 organizations and seven substantial scholarships including a four year, full-ride scholarship.
We are looking forward to the Colorado Garden and Home Show in Denver on February 13-20, 2010.
Last night was the 2009 PRSA Colorado Awards celebration. This year’s event was a little different than recent years (kudos to CSU PR students for a super creative auction and to Andrew Hudson and Bruce Goldberg for adding their unique humor to the emcee honors), but the purpose was still the same – recognizing amazing PR campaigns and the people who execute them.
At GroundFloor Media, we were honored for five our clients’ campaigns to be selected as Gold and Silver Pick winners. Here’s a snapshot of the awards breakdown:
Gold Picks 2009 Events and Observances (7 days or fewer) – Association/Nonprofit Organizations “The Children’s Hospital Makes 111 Miracles Happen” GroundFloor Media and the Children’s Hospital
2009 Media Relations – Associations/Nonprofit Organizations “Celebrating 20 Years of Financial Education” GroundFloor Media and Young Americans Center for Financial Education
Silver Picks 2009 Reputation/Brand Management – Business Qdoba Builds Brand Through Creative Q-dentity Profiles and Taste Bud Politics GroundFloor Media and Qdoba Mexican Grill
2009 Media Relations – Business-to-Business CH2M Hill Sheds Light on Solar in 25 American Cities GroundFloor Media and CH2M Hill
2009 Blogger Campaign Leveraging the Influence of Top Consumers Technology Bloggers to Launch Fuser.com GroundFloor Media and Fuser
Our heartfelt congratulations to our clients and to every one of last night’s winners. We feel very blessed to work in a city that is home to so many smart and creative PR professionals.