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Case Study: Community Foundation For Southeast Michigan


Martin Luther King High School Marching Band Grant / Press Conference

Nonprofit public relationsThe Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan is committed to bettering the lives of residents in and around the six counties encompassing metropolitan Detroit. It supports a wide range of activities benefiting education, arts and culture, health, human services, community development and civic affairs.

This leading non-profit organization sought assistance from Marx Layne & Company to help it both publicize its donation and inspire charitable giving from the community at large. The goal was to raise enough money to send the Detroit Martin Luther King High School Symphonic and Marching Band to the Beijing Olympics.

However, the total price tag in order to accept the invitation was $350,000, and just three weeks remaining before the deadline.

To announce the $75,000 seed grant donated by the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, in partnership with The Skillman Foundation and The Kresge Foundation, and raise awareness for the need to collect additional donations, Marx Layne organized the world's first marching news conference.

With the director conducting the band in the background, representatives from all three foundations announced their combined grant and the need for the community to come together to lend their support. The event concluded with these speakers leading the band in a march out of the school.
The Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News, FOX 2, WXYZ-TV, WDIV-TV, WWJ-AM, WDET-FM, WMXD-FM/WJLB-FM and tellusdetroit.com all attended the news conference, generating extensive coverage throughout the day.

We were able to secure additional post-conference interest from several outlets, including interviews on three programs broadcast on WJR-AM, "The Big Story," "The Paul W. Smith Show" and "The Mitch Albom Show;" and the "Steve Harvey Show" on WMXD-FM.

In fact, news of this fundraising effort carried throughout the state and garnered donations from the general public to business and community leaders, including Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, and Detroit Lions offensive lineman Edwin Mulitalo.

In just two short weeks following the conference, the school had raised more than $400,000, allowing them to accept a more lucrative invitation to perform at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and experience the country and its culture for nine days.


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