Public Relations Society of America, Los Angeles Chapter (PRSA-LA)
Inviting Non-Profit Organizations to Apply for a Grant to Fund PR Programs
2016 Grant Amount is $10,000 – Application process will open June 2016
About the Grant
For more than 20 years, non-profit organizations in Southern California have received grants to help defray costs related to their public relations activities, thanks to a Community Service Fund created by an endowment from the late Don Perkins, a long-time Los Angeles public relations practitioner and journalist.
The Public Relations Society of America’s Los Angeles Chapter (PRSA-LA) administers the program and will present the annual grant to representatives from the chosen non-profit organization at the PRism Awards in November 2016.
Deadline to apply: Monday, October 10, 2016
Judging of the applications is conducted by a panel of LA-based senior public relations professionals who are members of the PRSA-LA Chapter. The panel makes a recommendation to the PRSA-LA Board of Directors.
The endowment requires that the applying charity be supported by a PRSA-LA member in good standing, or any counseling firm or agency that has at least one member holding current membership in PRSA, to conduct the public relations program. If an organization’s public relations representatives are not PRSA-LA members, the non-profit organization may still apply and the grant committee will recruit a PRSA-LA member to volunteer to oversee the public relations program. The appointment of this individual will be made, if needed, after the grant has been awarded.
Grant funds may be used to pay for relevant public relations activities, including:
- News/photo releases about the organization specifically promoting the PR campaign
- Production of materials used for public relations purposes (e.g., PSAs, videos and press kit materials);
- An audit of public relations needs by a PRSA-LA practitioner;
- Counseling fees for PRSA-LA practitioners for execution of the PR campaign;
- Compensation for a PR intern or temporary professional employee hired to support the PR campaign under the oversight of the PRSA-LA practitioner;
- Other appropriate expenses related to executing the PR campaign.
Non-profit organizations providing services or programs (except those of an exclusively religious nature such as churches and religious institutions) located throughout PRSA-LA’s chapter area are welcome to apply. This includes organizations registered as a 501(c)3 in the State of California that reside in these areas: Los Angeles County, Santa Barbara County, Ventura County and Kern County.
Applicants will be asked to provide a copy of their IRS tax-exempt qualifications letter, as well as their most recent annual report and a copy of their articles of incorporation.
Direct questions and mail or email application and supporting materials to:
Denise P. Ferguson, Ph.D., APR
PRSA-LA, Don Perkins Grant Committee
11271 Ventura Blvd., No. 376
Studio City, California 91604
Application process will begin in June 2016
2015 Winner: Aviva Family and Childrens Services
A social services agency that serves children who are victims of physical, sexual and emotional abuse or who have mental health issues got a big boost this month when it won the 2015 Don Perkins Community Service Grant. For more than 20 years, PRSA-LA has administered the annual $10,000 grant, created by an endowment from the late Don Perkins, a long-time Los Angeles public relations practitioner and journalist.
Aviva Family and Children’s Services, whose client base is 67% Latino, will use the funds to launch a six-week media campaign to increase awareness within the Latino community about the availability of mental health services. This campaign will reach out to those in the Latino community who have the ability to make a difference and de-stigmatize mental health treatment – parents, policymakers and community leaders.
Long-time PRSA-LA member Genevieve Haines, president of Haines & Co., will administer the grant on behalf of Aviva. She serves as vice chair of its Board of Directors and chairs its Public Relations Committee.
PRSA-LA presented the $10,000 check to Haines and Aviva’s President and CEO Reina Bette, LMFT at the PRism Awards Show on November 4 at The Taglyan Complex in Hollywood.
2014 Winner: Los Angeles Maritime Institute
Los Angeles Maritime Institute (LAMI) is a nonprofit organization that uses hands-on experiences at sea to provide an array of social, education and leadership development opportunities to at-risk middle school and high school students throughout the Greater Los Angeles Area. LAMI’s award-winning TopSail Youth Program is offered aboard the twin brigantines,Irving Johnson and Exy Johnson, 110-foot traditionally rigged wooden vessels named after experiential learning pioneers who sailed around the world seven times with young crews. The purpose-built vessels and their crews were proclaimed the Official Tall Ships and Maritime Ambassadors of the City of Los Angeles at their launch in 2002.
LAMI plans to use the Don Perkins Grant toward a PR initiative to increase community awareness about the benefits of adventure education at sea, produce a short promotional video, create a media kit, and design a more effective social media engagement strategy.
2013 Winner: All Peoples Community Center
All Peoples Community Center is a nonprofit organization providing an array of social, education and economic development support services to residents of South Los Angeles. APCC serves a neighborhood that stands out statistically for being one of the poorest, most educationally-disadvantaged, and underserved communities filled with families who share the same aspirations as you and me—to live healthy and meaningful lives.
APCC was selected from a competitive group of applicants based on the organization’s mission and its plan for the grant money. The organization’s mission is to transform into a state-of-the-art community and family resource center that provides “safety net services” including a weekly food bank and domestic violence counseling, as well as education and health services such as preschool and day care, tutoring programs, parenting classes and an annual health fair.
2012 Winner: SCORE Los Angeles
SCORE Los Angeles is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground and grow by offering its membership the information and resources they need to succeed. Thanks to support from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and volunteers with diverse business experience, SCORE provides Los Angeles businesses with mentors; business counseling; tools, templates and tips; and workshops and webinars. Its parent organization, the national SCORE Association was founded in 1964 to educate and grow small businesses nationwide.
SCORE Los Angeles was chosen from an impressive applicant pool of nonprofit organizations working to provide services or programs to the PRSA-LA chapter area. In its application, the non-profit said it planned to used the Don Perkins Grant toward a PR initiative to increase awareness of SCORE in Los Angeles, recruit qualified SCORE mentors and localize the benefits of the national SCORE Fast Launch program, which helps veterans and their families start and grow small businesses. SCORE believed it could service at least one-and-a-half times the number of clients it had served upon applying for the grant.
2011 Winner: Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice
For 40 years, LACLJ has fought for the rights of families facing the greatest barriers to justice. Located in Boyle Heights, LACLJ provides a range of free legal services, advocacy and education to low-income families in the most underserved areas of Los Angeles. LACLJ’s current programs focus on family and housing law, with a priority for victims of domestic violence and their children. Examples of our work include assisting victims of domestic violence in obtaining restraining orders and custody rights, helping tenants facing eviction to stay in their homes, and representing victims of crime who have cooperated with law enforcement to access immigration benefits. With special programs designed for teens, young parents and undocumented families with children, LACLJ is dedicated to providing culturally competent, bilingual and holistic services to empower clients to become agents of change
LACLJ believes that justice should not be determined by wealth, citizenship, language, or age, and serves all of its clients with the dignity that they deserve. The long-term results of our services are decreased homelessness, increased family stability, and safe, violence-free homes for children. To learn more about our work, visit www.laclj.org.
2010 Winner: The Volunteers of the Burbank Animal Shelter
Since 1994 this non-profit animal service agency has been devoted to providing medical, social, behavioral and financial care for animals at risk. The shelter is determined to eliminate animal homelessness in the Burbank community. Their volunteers are committed to educating the community about the benefits of spay/neuter, proper pet care and pet adoption. The volunteers have also set up a successful medial program, senior pet therapy program and kitten foster program.
The Volunteers of the Burbank Animal Shelter grant proposal was selected among all the applicants based on its merits, which included a clear public relations strategy with measurable goals and purpose, a time plan sufficient for achieving its objectives and its budget was deemed cost-effective.
The PRSA-LA Don Perkins Grant will allow the Animal Shelter to refresh and improve the quality and effectiveness of its outdated Website, www.thevbas.org, to make it user-friendly which is a key driver of fundraising, increasing the volunteer corps and awareness for the organization.
2009 Winner: Grandparents As Parents
Grandparents As Parents (GAP) is a grassroots organization founded in 1987 in response to the rising tide of abandoned children created by the drug epidemic and other societal issues. The organization was launched by a dedicated clinical social worker who recognized the need for support services targeting kinship families, when her own family was impacted. GAP offers a successful diversion program that keeps children out of the foster care system by providing cost-free, community-based support programs that meet the physical and mental health and financial needs of these families while serving as an educational and informational resource for government institutions and officials on the needs of caregiver-headed families.
The Grandparents As Parents grant proposal demonstrated the necessity of a comprehensive public relations program as an integral part of an organization’s strategic growth plan. The Grandparents As Parents grant proposal also presented a compelling case for the need to provide a more formalized and consistent stakeholder outreach effort in order to support an expanding infrastructure, consequently allowing them to build further client capacity, a key component of their strategic growth plan.
To learn more about Grandparents As Parents, visit online at www.grandparentsasparents.org
2008 Winner: House of Ruth, Claremont
Established in 1977, House of Ruth grew out of the dissertation project of a Claremont Graduate University student who advertised a telephone “hotline” to provide information and referrals to victims of domestic abuse. Operating from her kitchen table, she evoked an immediate and overwhelming response. From that modest beginning, House of Ruth has emerged a significant provider of shelter, community education, and a range of supportive services for battered women in eastern Los Angeles County. Their scope of services is broad. Trained personnel operate a 24-hour Hotline to provide crisis intervention, information, and referrals.
The House of Ruth grant proposal demonstrated the power of selling management on the importance of conducting public relations research. Although few will disagree that the use of research, measurement and evaluation is essential to effective public relations practice, surveys of practitioners routinely show most don’t know as much about research as they might like, particularly in today’s world of results-oriented management. The House of Ruth grant proposal was focused on a strategic desire to create a measurable public relations effort to advance their organizational objectives. Their plans for effective research including measurement and evaluation tools, including surveys and focus groups. To learn more about House of Ruth, visit online at: www.houseofruthinc.org.
2007 Winner: Step Up On Second
One in five families are affected by mental illness each year. Located in Santa Monica, Step Up on Second involves individuals with severe and persistent mental illness in developing opportunities to reintegrate into the community. Step Up is dedicated to long-term support of people in recovery and their families, offering quality housing, educational, social and work experiences. Their winning Don Perkins grant entry and public relations strategy is to increasing public understanding and acceptance of mental illness. Their approach will be to dispel the myths and fears about the mentally ill living in the community and to reduce the stigma of mental illness. They will use success stories centered around a few of their diverse members by putting a human face on the mentally ill individual. They further desire to change community attitudes and misconceptions regarding community housing for persons with mental illness and provide a more welcoming environment for mentally ill individuals who reside in their neighborhoods. The results will be to improve the public understanding of mental illness resulting in a shift in public awareness, increased funding and collaborative efforts with the community.
2006 Winner: Child Care Resource Center
The 2006 $10,000 grant was awarded to San Fernando Valley-based Child Care Resource Center (CCRC) for its “Matter of Minutes” campaign. The Matter of Minutes campaign is designed to protect children and save lives by reminding parents and caregivers about the danger of leaving kids unattended in automobiles. The risks include heatstroke, abduction, carbon monoxide poisoning, hypothermia, physical injury and death.
The campaign was awarded the grant because the juding committee of seasoned public relations professionals reviewed the 35 entries and ultimately judged the top application because its goals are clear, its execution plan is sound and its budget was deemed cost-effective.
The Child Care Resource Center is a private, not-for-profit agency dedicated to the promotion of higher standards in child care and early education through the quality, support, development and education of children, parents, providers and the community.
2005 Winner: Familia Unida Living with Multiple Sclerosis
The 2005 grant was awarded to Familia Unida Living with Multiple Sclerosis . Since 1998, Familia Unida was the first bilingual Multiple Sclerosis non-profit providing programs and support services targeted to Latinos diagnosed with the debilitating disease. The organization has served over 13,000 multilingual and multicultural individuals in the greater Los Angeles area with the goal to enlighten, educate, and unite families affected by Multiple Sclerosis and other debilitating diseases in culturally diverse communities.
Familia Unida is the first non-profit to win the PRSA-LA Don Perkins Grant twice. They won previously in 2000. A judging committee comprising seven seasoned public relations professionals reviewed 38 outstanding proposals.
2004 WomenShelter of Long Beach
2003 Foothill Family Services
2002 United in Harmony/Camp Harmony
2001 Valley Community Clinic
2000 Family Unida Living With Multiple Sclerosis
1999 Hollygrove Home for Children
1998 Western Region Asian Pacific (WRAP) Agency
1997 Dramatic Results
1996 Etta Lee Home
1995 Mar Vista Family Center
1994 L.A. Shanti
1993 The Serra Project
1992 The Sycamores
1991 St. Vincent Meals on Wheels
1990 Angels Flight
1989 Options House