Thursday, June 28, 2007

No Small Frey PR Effort

A long time ago, a certain vice president at a certain organization where I worked told me with great incredulity in her voice that a private foundation would never need PR. Her reasoning was simple, simplistic actually, and indicated a common misperception of what PR is.

She thought PR was only needed to attract donors, and a private or family foundation doesn't need to attract donors.

My response was lengthy and, I can assure you, profound. But it boiled down to the fact that a foundation has more publics than just donors, and more objectives than collecting money. The money is a means, not an end. Foundations want to affect positive change, which often means raising awareness, addressing attitudes, and sparking action.

So I was delighted to see the photo of Frey Foundation President Milt Rohwer adorning the current issue of MiBiz. I'm acquainted with Rohwer as a board member of a client, and have come to know him as someone with wisdom and insight, as well as a good balance of patience and boldness.

The MiBiz article shows all of the above. He boldly challenges conventional wisdom and action and prescribes action to ensure that Michigan can turn itself around economically in the new global economy. He's engaging the media, and through them a vast variety of publics, about a key issue of interest to the Frey Foundation board.

That's what foundations do. That's why they need PR.

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