In this Dumpster Fire of a Year, We’re Grateful to Have Partnered on Meaningful Projects

December 28, 2020

The metaphor of 2020 as a dumpster fire is already cliché, but not so much when we worked with Hannah Miller last summer to create a pitch deck for Opportunity Port—an Ohio State University, Columbus City Council and Legal Aid Society of Columbus-sponsored initiative to help people seal their criminal records and move forward in their lives. Hannah's passion for the project and fantastic presentation skills netted a whopping $500,000 philanthropic investment from Schmidt Futures. And this is just one of our favorite projects to have worked on during this otherwise $#@!*& year. 

Other contenders?

Can you say Dolly Parton? Okay, so while Dolly herself did not hire us to do communications for the Ohio version of her Imagination Library, the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library did. And we could NOT HAVE BEEN MORE THRILLED to create fundraising materials for an initiative that puts free, high-quality books in the hands of Ohio children ages 0-5. Seriously folks: $25 is all it takes to have great books show up in the mailbox for kids each month. Why wouldn't you invest in Ohio's youngest citizens? And if you're an Ohioan with a small child, sign them up right now! This program is for everyone. 

Coming in first place in the least-likely-thing-for-us-to-fundraise-for category is...a new football field for Shadyside High School. That's right! We were honored to work with veteran fundraiser Nancy Marzella as she went back to her Shadyside, Ohio, roots to help the Shadyside Football Boosters raise money for a new turf and field. Nancy's late husband, Nick, had been a star player for Shadyside when they were high school sweethearts. The Shadyside Tigers had a great season, from what we've heard. Go Tigers!

2020 has been a year of food. As in, lots of it being eaten, if you're like us. But for our client InFACT—The Ohio State University’s Initiative for Food and AgriCultural Transformation—the COVID-19 crisis shined a spotlight on the larger-scale issues in our food system they were already working to address. (Think back to those heartbreaking images of perfectly good milk being dumped because the pandemic closed off dairy markets, for example). We've been privileged to help InFACT share stories of how they're working to transform the food system, especially during COVID. The successful FarmsSHARE pilot program they participated in with the Ohio Farmers Market Network and Columbus Public Health is a perfect example. You can read more about the pilot and its successful wrap-up here and here.

Another Ohio State client making a big impact this year? The Translational Data Analytics Institute (TDAI), who has their finger on the pulse of multi-disciplinary COVID research as well as in-demand tech like artificial intelligence. We created a daily internal communication that helped TDAI coordinate the enormous wave of response to COVID among Ohio State researchers. And, as the ethical implications of artificial intelligence become increasingly important, we organized an ongoing discussion group for data scientists on the subject of racial and gender bias in artificial intelligence technologies. 

No list of ours could be complete without mention of Hope Hollow and the indescribable joy of helping this small but mighty nonprofit continue to raise funds to help cancer patients traveling to Columbus for care—despite the cancellation of their annual signature fundraising event. Whether helping them secure CARES Act funding, creating materials that reminded their supporters to give, or cheering on their $25,000 win from State Farm’s crowdsourced fundraiser, we’re thrilled to help Hope Hollow continue in their very important mission despite a mountain of challenges this year.  

We’re grateful to all clients who hired Gifted Communications this year. Thank you!

Also, Dolly—if you're listening? Call us in 2021.


Illustration by Eric Lee

About the Author, Alice Duncanson

Alice Duncanson is a principal at Gifted Communications

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