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Boston PR firms join forces to support bombing victims

More than 30 Boston-area PR firms are coming together for a late May charitable event to raise money for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.

The agencies will support The One Fund, which was established by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Tom Menino. The “Boston PRoud” event is scheduled for May 29 at the Back Bay Social Club and Lir.

Ken Peters, SVP at Text 100 in Boston, reached out to a small group of friends at Fama PR, March Communications, Shift Communications, and PAN Communications. They began planning “Boston PRoud” happy hours at the Back Bay Social Club and Lir, which are both located on Boylston Street near where the bombings took place. The happy hours will also help companies that lost income from shutting down after the terrorist attack.

Each firm participating in the event is paying about $1,000 as a co-host, and each individual who shows up will be asked to donate $20 to get in. More than 500 people have RSVP’d. Those who want to attend can register here.

“Boston may be a big city, but it’s also like a small town in many ways. The marathon bombing is very personal thing for everyone, everyone knew someone who was either running in or watching the event,” Peters said. “We wanted to find a way to help.”

Corporate interest in participating in the event “has grown monstrous very quickly,” said Joel Richman, a VP at Shift, adding that the planners will likely need to add a third venue. “It’s really exciting to drop all the competition for one night for a really good cause.”

Jason Ouellette, VP of communications at PAN, said he succeeded in getting PR Newswire as a sponsor to cut down on food costs. Sam Whitmore’s Media Survey has also signed on. Ouellette said he can’t recall a time when so many PR firms came together for a cause.

“No single amount of money will be able to bring back [what was lost] that day, but what we can do is contribute to the fund,” he said.

March Communications is overseeing a raffle, signage, and T-shirt design for the event. Each firm will be able to order shirts in their agency colors to wear the night of the happy hours, explained Cheryl Gale, managing partner at the firm. She is also helping to recruit other shops.

“As individual companies, we may not be able to do a lot, but all of us combined could make a difference,” Gale said.

Other firms that have agreed to get involved include SchwartzMSL, Porter Novelli, 360 PR, Burson-Marsteller, Edelman, Weber Shandwick, and FleishmanHillard.

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