St. Baldrick's Foundation names MWWPR AOR

FleishmanHillard previously had the account for 10 years.

Screenshot via St. Baldrick's website
Screenshot via St. Baldrick's website

MONROVIA, CA: MWWPR has been named PR AOR for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the charity famous for its head-shaving events to raise funds for victims of childhood cancer.

A St. Baldrick’s representative said the charity issued a formal RFP in July and narrowed down the list to four firms at the end of that month: MWW, Maroon PR, Edelman, and Walk West. MWW was selected in August and began working for St. Baldrick’s on September 1. 

"It’s a one year contract as of right now," said St. Baldrick’s CEO Kathleen Ruddy. "We’ll reassess it then and decide as we go forward. But I certainly hope it will not be one year and instead becomes a long-standing relationship."

Ruddy said her organization is paying $14,000 per month for MWW’s services. 

St. Baldrick’s previous AOR was FleishmanHillard. Ruddy said the foundation decided to look for a new firm after completing its new strategic plan late last year. 

"We had been with them for 10 years and FleishmanHillard had done wonderful job for us over that time," Ruddy said. "But we realized we need kind of a fresh approach."

FleishmanHillard declined to comment on the matter.

Tactically, Ruddy said, MWW will be helping the foundation coordinate its messaging and capitalize on advocacy wins it’s had in Washington, DC. The firm will also help Ruddy become a more effective spokesperson.

"We needed a team that understood how to take a nonprofit leader who isn’t a Jeff Bezos or a Steve Jobs and get her out there in way that really serves the organization," Ruddy said.

Strategically, Ruddy is asking MWW to help St. Baldrick’s reposition itself as more than the charity that asks people to shave their heads.

"Throughout our history, we were very much known for how we raised the money and not as well known for what we did with the money," she said. "That’s a fundamental shift for us that we really need our PR team to be at the forefront of."

St. Baldrick’s is the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants and has raised $253 million in research grant funding since 2005, according to a release.

The charitable ranking site charitynavigator.org, said in fiscal year 2017, St. Baldrick’s reported total revenue of $37. 9 million. Charity Navigator gave St. Baldrick’s one-out-of-four stars for its financial performance and four-out-of-four stars for accountability and transparency.

Separately, MWW announced it hired Sara Ghazaii as VP of corporate communications and marketing. Ghazaii had previously served as VP and director of communications for the PR Council.

Prior to the PR Council, Ghazaii worked at New York Genome Center, the MSL Group North America, and Lou Hammond & Associates. She started her public relations career at iHeart Media New York & Novartis Corporation.

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