Minnesota Keystone Featured Member - August 2016
This month’s featured member is PadillaCRT, the tenth largest independent PR firm in the U.S. Founded in Minneapolis in 1961, PadillaCRT has been a Minnesota Keystone member since 1977. In 2008, they were recognized as an honored company.
Why does your company value charitable giving?
Because we value the place we call home.
When Don Padilla and Dave Speer founded Padilla Speer Beardsley back in 1961, they envisioned a company that not only helped clients achieve their purpose; but also helped our community become the best it could be. They saw charitable giving as the price of admission for the privilege of doing business here. When 23 like-minded companies created the Minnesota Keystone program in 1976, Padilla Speer Beardsley was among the first to join.
We value charitable giving not just because of our legacy, but also because giving back enriches lives on so many levels. Whether it’s helping feed the hungry, provide shelter to the homeless or improving access to education and the arts, our employees want to be part of the solution to the challenges our neighbors face. We want to extend the reach of charitable organizations so they can help more people. We want to contribute to a greater good that builds a better future for all.
We also value charitable giving because it helps us attract bright, talented employees who want to be part of something larger than themselves; and because working on pro bono projects gives employees the chance to stretch beyond their daily work and contribute to other things they’re passionate about, be it the arts, alleviating hunger, providing health care or raising awareness about social injustices. It keeps our minds fresh, and humble.
How has your program changed since you first joined Minnesota Keystone in 1977? How has it stayed the same?
The one thing that has not changed is our desire to give back. Yes, our leaders have changed over the years, and we have more people, more locations, and more capabilities. But that fundamental commitment to charitable giving has not wavered. What has changed is what our charitable partners need from us, and how we deliver our value.
Years ago, our ability to work with the news media was our value, and “publicity” was the outcome. The digital age changed all that, opening up a new world for companies like ours to help our partner organizations build, grow and protect their brands via multiple strategies, tactics and channels. The “More Than a Race” campaign we created for the Twin Cities Loppet involved traditional news media, as well as a heavy emphasis on social media and other digital communication strategies. Renaming a growing area of the city, like “East Town,” requires different expertise, as does rebranding an organization to make it more reflective of its rich offerings and achievements (“Artistry at Bloomington Center for the Arts.”). From website design to event support, our charitable giving has expanded to meet the needs of the organizations working to help the community.
Our program has also changed in terms of its structure. To ensure we can serve as many organizations as fairly as possible, we accept applications every October for pro bono work. Based on their needs and our capabilities, we select three to four that we will support the following year. If an urgent need comes up outside of the application window, we are able to consider it; but in general, we find we’re able to make the most difference by focusing on a few projects every year.
In terms of structure, we’ve also added two half days of paid employee volunteerism. Twice a year, employees across all six of our locations volunteer their time with organizations they feel passionate about, to give back in ways that require helping hands, not just dollars.
Why does your company continue to be members of Minnesota Keystone?
We continue to be members for the same reason we joined Minnesota Keystone nearly 40 years ago: we believe in its mission. We also believe in the message Minnesota Keystone conveys about our businesses and people here in Minnesota: that giving back matters, and it’s the right thing to do.
Tell us about a meaningful partnership you have formed with a charitable organization.
Because of the way we structure our giving – helping 3-4 different organizations every year – our meaningful relationships are many and diverse. Our senior leaders serve on and lead many community boards, including the American Heart Association, the Make a Wish Foundation, the United Way, University of Minnesota Foundation, and many others. Our employee owners volunteer with scores of non-profit organizations. Together with our annual pro bono work and United Way fundraisers and food drives, meaningful partnerships are not in short supply!
In summary, we believe every organization has an opportunity to make the world a better place; and we are honored to be among so many Minnesota companies for whom giving back is part of doing business here.