University of South Carolina

Nonprofits chosen for CreateAthon@USC

By Megan Sexton,, 803-777-1421

Six South Carolina nonprofits have been chosen to receive pro bono advertising and marketing communications support as part of the first CreateAthon@USC.

The Edgefield County Theatre Company, Federation of Families of South Carolina, Harvest Hope Food Bank, Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands, Sistercare Inc. and Tutor Eau Claire will receive an array of free creative services from the University of South Carolina community.

CreateAthon@USCStudents within the School of Journalism and Mass Communications will hold the 24-hour pro bono marketing event Oct. 25–26. The event will be orchestrated by the Creative Leadership class taught this fall by USC associate professor Karen Mallia.

"I am thrilled to work with all these deserving groups who contribute so much to our community, and help them achieve their communication goals,” Mallia said. “CreateAthon volunteers are going to help each one of them share their unique and powerful stories. I can't wait to see what ideas our CreateAthon team members come up with!"

The students enrolled in Creative Leadership class this fall will be CreateAthon Team Leaders, managing the communication strategy planning for the six clients as well as the event. They will recruit their peers in advertising, public relations, design, photography and video to help develop the nonprofits’ communications. Professional mentors from USC faculty and staff and the advertising and public relations community will work hand-in-hand with the students to bring ideas to life, Mallia said.

"CreateAthon is an amazing opportunity for students to gain real-world experience in developing marketing communication strategies and powerful creative work — and working under pressure,” Mallia said. “They will share their growing professional talents doing much needed community service. At the same time, nonprofits experience the benefits of effective marketing as a tool to help support their missions and the work they do in our community.”

Riggs Partners of Columbia, the founding organization of CreateAthon, will hold its 16th annual event the same week as USC.

Riggs Partners began CreateAthon began in 1997 as a new way to provide pro bono services to nonprofits. The program has achieved significant impact since its national launch in 2002, attracting more than 80 agencies, universities, professional organizations and corporate marketing departments throughout North America as CreateAthon partners. In total, the program has served more than 1,275 nonprofit organizations with pro bono marketing projects valued at more than $15 million.

USC is the fourth university in the country to integrate the CreateAthon marathon model into undergraduate curriculum for students in marketing and the communicating arts. Developed at Virginia Commonwealth University in 2008, the program has been adopted by University of Tennessee at Chattanooga as well as James Madison University.

Posted: 08/06/13 @ 11:00 AM | Updated: 08/07/13 @ 8:53 AM | Permalink

About CreateAthon@USC

  • These are the nonprofits chosen for CreateAthon@USC:
  • Edgefield County Theatre Company
    The group’s mission is to produce outstanding theatrical performances featuring local actors, to offer educational opportunities for youth and adults interested in the performing arts, to promote performances by traveling artists and actors and bring the joy of live theater to a historically underserved community.
  • Federation of Families of South Carolina
    The mission is to provide leadership in the area of children’s mental health through education support and advocacy for families of children with mental health disorders. The agency works to eliminate the stigma that surrounds children’s mental health issues and provide information and resources.
  • Harvest Hope Food Bank
    Harvest Hope provides hunger relief and emergency food to individuals and families across 20 South Carolina counties. It provides direct service through emergency food pantries, children’s and senior hunger relief programs, as well as partners with 450 other agencies that provide food in remote areas.
  • Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands
    The nonprofit provides support to survivors in recovery from the trauma associated with sexual assault and abuse, and educates the community to identify and prevent sexual violence. STSM staff and volunteers serve Richland, Lexington, Newberry and Sumter counties 24 hours a day, seven days a week, answering hotline calls or assisting victims at the hospital. It provides free and confidential counseling to help survivors and their families heal and works to put an end to sexual violence.
  • Sistercare, Inc.
    Sistercare provides services and advocacy for abused women and their children, and promotes prevention of domestic violence through community awareness and training. It is the only agency in Richland, Lexington, Newberry, Fairfield and Kershaw counties to address the specific shelter and support needs of battered women and their children.
  • Tutor Eau Claire
    Tutor Eau Claire is a literacy outreach program whose mission is to provide resources to help struggling readers and their families—from information about dyslexia to effective tutoring (at little or no cost) as well as volunteer tutor training.



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