2012 Nonprofit PR Awards: Public Affairs/Issues Management

Winner: American Society of Transplantation and Brownstein Group — Taking a Stand Against Arizona Medicaid Cuts

In October 2010, the state government in Arizona under Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) implemented changes to the adult Medicaid benefit package that included elimination of coverage for several non-experimental transplant procedures. This cost-cutting measure put at risk the lives of people waiting for transplants. In response, the American Society of Transplantation teamed up with Brownstein Group to get the AST message out to a broad audience via press releases, joint statements, proactive pitching to local and national media and a joint press conference with Arizona Democratic leaders and transplant patients. The result was top-tier coverage in the New York Times and on CNN and Fox News, which helped lead to the Arizona state government repealing its decision to eliminate Medicaid coverage of the procedures.

“Our biggest challenge was coordinating several voices under one coherent and powerful message in an extremely short time frame,” says Erin Allsman, VP, public relations and social media director, Brownstein Group. “We did it mostly through perseverance and a shared determination to make an impact. We knew lives were at stake, and we all felt very strongly that this was the right thing to do.” —SG

Honorable Mentions:

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace – Understanding the Arab Spring: Well before the Arab Spring, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace was deemed the most influential think tank in the Middle East. This gave it credibility during the Arab Spring itself as its face-to-face outreach with U.S. and Middle East policy makers enabled it to transmit its ideas and recommendations to the highest echelons of the U.S. administration.

Consumer Electronics Association – Declaration of Innovation:
CEA tied the U.S. Declaration of Independence to its campaign for government policies that support innovation. The centerpiece of the campaign was a July 4 media tour with CEA topper Gary Shapiro, which reached more than 6.4 million people.