It’s always rewarding to see our work at work, raising money for a good cause. The Santa Monica Education Foundation has announced the results of its 2019 Wine Auction, their mouth-watering spring event, now in its fourth year.
Featuring tasty offerings by some of the areas top chefs, and award-winning wines from all over California, the event sold out weeks ahead of schedule. And it generated a record-breaking 1/3 of a million dollars over the course of about 4 hours.
Yes, our graphics have been part of its success. But most of it comes from the hard work of a dedicated and joyful staff, and proud volunteers who know they’re helping create a great education for thousands of kids.
That’s how much money we helped raise for scholarships at the seventh annual COPi Cup Invitational Tournament at Pebble Beach. ($223,785 to be perfectly accurate.)
The fundraiser was conceived by our philanthropic client Philip Frengs, the CEO of Legistics, Inc. (That’s Phil in the salmon-colored pants, driving one straight toward the green, just like he does with his charities.)
Named after his firm’s forerunner the COPi Companies, the COPi Cup is a 2-day event celebrating “Camaraderie, Competition and Charity”. It was created to fund scholarships for underserved kids who are often the first members of their families to attend college.
This financial assistance is provided by the SCGA Junior Golf Foundation, but eligibility is not about competitive performance or athletic scholarships. Instead, through their involvement with SCGA Junior, these high schoolers become eligible for aid based on their leadership skills, their academic achievement, their committed participation and their mentorship to younger golfers.
FreeAssociates handles the marketing and information materials, the physical event setup — signs, banners, audio-visuals, etc. — and helps coordinate the actual event. It’s exciting to be so deeply involved in creating the participants’ experience, especially for such a worthy cause.
And spending time in stunning Pebble Beach is pretty nice, too!
5.8 million Americans are victims of Alzheimer’s disease. That translates to about 24 million family members. Maybe more. One of those sufferers is Mimi Frengs, our client’s wife, who was diagnosed with the early onset form at 59.
Her husband Phil Frengs decided to do something about it. He thought maybe he could turn his and others’ love of car racing into something that could change lives.
His idea: for the race at Laguna Seca, California, take those giant sponsor logos off the car and replace them with the names of Alzheimer’s sufferers. At $250 to honor your loved one, it gives exposure to the problem while raising funds for both the care and the cure.
Racing to End Alzheimer’s now has 8,500 Facebook followers. We’ve gotten celebrity support from golf champion Rickie Fowler and CBS’s Jim Nantz. And we’ve raised over $140,000 so far. To add to the success, last year our BMW, covered with names, won the season championship, creating even more buzz.
This year we’re racing an Audi RS3, and the names will be added all season long, not just at Laguna Seca. Corporate co-sponsors are on board with matching funds, and we’re looking to add at least another $150,000 to the Racing to End Alzheimer’s Foundation — 100% of which is distributed to our charity partners.
You can learn more here.
Political divisions can run deep, and this local one has been festering for years.
Santa Monica and Malibu are part of the same school district, but the much smaller city of Malibu sees itself as a very different community. Many Malibu parents resented that the money they contributed to the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation went to help schools all over the district, not just those in its own city.
So on July 6, the Santa Monica-Malibu School Board (SMMUSD) decided that the Education Foundation, which supported both cities’ schools, would now be responsible only for funding programs within Santa Monica. And Malibu, that bastion of entertainment money, would form a new nonprofit to fund its own educational programs separately.
To that end, the Ed Foundation quickly needed to rename itself and create a fresh, new brand identity that would help announce and embody the change within the community. With our long history of supporting the district, they asked FreeAssociates to help.
Capturing the spirit
The new logo, which we’ve collectively dubbed “the flying pencil”, represents the creativity of the Santa Monica community, where kids can truly soar through support for programs in the arts, enhanced academics and competitive sports. In the SMMUSD, 80% of students are involved in some form of music program, teachers receive enhanced training, and athletics are encouraged and kept competitive. Alumni run from actors Maya Rudolph and Rob Lowe to baseball great Rick Monday to two astronauts: Randy Bresnick and Johnny Kim — all products of a long-time tradition of academic excellence and support for the arts.
The Ed Foundation’s new brand identity was officially “launched” at a Corporate Heroes Appreciation event on August 2, complete with posters and a fold-it-yourself paper airplane version of the flying pencil. Many more elements of the re-branding are in the works and will be rolled out between now and the start of the fall semester. Take a look. It’ll be fun to watch the redefined Ed Foundation soar!
What’s the first thing you think of when you see the word “Braille”? If you’re like me, you imagine someone’s fingers feeling their way across a page, reading. And that someone has dark glasses and a white cane.
All that’s great, and true. But Braille Institute — which was founded in 1919 to make braille books widely available — has grown far beyond that. They now offer a huge range of technology programs, job placement, life skills training and social interaction opportunities for people with all kinds of vision problems.
Seeing, like life, is not black & white. It works on a grayscale, from 20/20 clarity all the way to total blindness. As people age, for example, they may develop macular degeneration or cataracts or diabetes-related retinopathy. These folks are also at the heart of Braille Institute’s transformational work.
Communicating all this to the institution’s donors is the focus of Light, the organization’s annual report, which we designed for the first time this year. It’s a challenge. Many of our readers have the conditions Braille Institute helps support, so we worked with large text and high contrast, while still trying to provide a great reading experience for people with fully intact vision.
Photographer Joel Lipton, senior designer Kevin Consales and writer Lynne Heffley deserve kudos for helping to create a powerful piece that positions Braille Institute as the far-seeing organization it truly is, helping people face the challenges of visual impairment with fresh ideas and hope for the future.
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Two years ago we designed the publication as a semi-annual replacement for the Southern California-based non-profit’s annual report, and supplemented it with a second issue mid-year. We primarily targeted donors and corporate sponsors, so the distribution was narrow and the cost per issue was relatively high. It was well-received, but it always felt more like a corporate brochure than a “real” magazine.
A few months ago, AbilityFirst asked us to take another crack at it, to see if it could become more magazine-like and engage a broader audience. We were thrilled. We made the publication larger, suggested they incorporate their sponsors’ advertising, and energized the pages graphically. My colleague Ted Bickford pushed to make it more dynamic. Our wonderful designer Anat Rodan was inspired to make it even more beautiful and lively. And our client AbilityFirst let us run with it, encouraging our efforts and championing the result.
The first issue is about to hit the streets, exposing to a wider and more diverse audience the amazing work AbilityFirst does with developmentally disabled kids and adults.
But guess what? You get a sneak peek at the newly transformed AbilityFirst Magazine right now.
Let me know what you think.