2010 NonProfit PR Awards: Event PR

Winner: Kent State University - Commemorating the 40th Anniversary of May 4, 1970, Shootings at Kent State University

Kent State staff were charged to orchestrate the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the campus shootings that alarmed a nation on May 4, 1970 (memorial at left), with the goal to engage and educate the public through special events. Kent State prepared two special events—a dedication ceremony for the site’s listing on the National Register of Historic Places in conjunction with a new but permanent walking tour; and a Democracy Speaker program featuring local U.S. Representative John Lewis, who was a leader in the Civil Rights movement. The dedication event and inaugural walking tour attracted more than triple the attendance of the stated goal, and the speaker program opened to a standing-room-only crowd in the Student Center Ballroom. —Richard Scott

Honorable Mentions:

Eric Mower and Associates - “Turner to Cezanne” at the Everson Museum of Art

Drumming up interest for a rare, 12-week art exhibit featuring works from some of the biggest names of the 20th century, the PR team at Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, N.Y., imprinted their very own masterpiece. Through steady word-of-mouth and grassroots outreach, as well as more traditional means, Everson exceeded its attendance numbers by more than 50%, generating over $530,000 in tickets sales alone—for a show that marked the first time the museum charged admittance.

Hillsborough County - 2010 Tampa Bay Hurricane Expo

With a conference looming over the horizon, the Tampa Bay Hurricane Expo Steering Committee stormed the local community with a steady stream of campaign efforts that spanned channels—radio ads and programs, television ads, website hosting, live interviews and news stories in local publications. In a tough environment for events, the work of the committee maintained its number of attendees compared to the year before and achieved its goal of capturing baseline data to make the effort more streamlined in future years.

Legacy - truth Orange Fall Tour 2009 and Summer Tour 2010

To achieve its goal of reducing the number of young adults who take up smoking, Legacy continued its outreach efforts through its “truth” campaign, embarking on a 60-city tour to educate about the perils of tobacco use. It recruited 14 crew members to travel across the country and supplemented the on-site presence with vibrant social and traditional media initiatives, ultimately contributing to its ongoing success of keeping thousands of teens away from the deadly habit.

The Optical Society of America (OSA) - LaserFest: Celebrating 50 Years of Laser Innovation

Like the many uses of laser technology, the celebratory LaserFest campaign was a dynamic and event-filled seven-month journey of scientific appreciation and awe. Officially unveiled in connection with the Optical Society of America’s annual meeting in October 2009, the campaign introduced several on-site events, including a tribute gala at the National Museum of American History keynoted by Secretary of Energy Steven Chu.