A Tip of the Santa Hat to the Givers of Gucci Gulch

Angelina Jolie arrives for a news conference at the National Press Club in April, organized by Quinn Gillespie, calling for the United States to more than quadruple its foreign aid for orphans and early-childhood education.
Angelina Jolie arrives for a news conference at the National Press Club in April, organized by Quinn Gillespie, calling for the United States to more than quadruple its foreign aid for orphans and early-childhood education. (By Susan Walsh -- Associated Press)
  Enlarge Photo    

Network News

X Profile
View More Activity
By Jeffrey H. Birnbaum
Tuesday, December 25, 2007

When Global Action for Children, an advocacy organization for orphans and vulnerable children in developing nations, needed professional help to stage a Washington news conference this past April, it turned to Quinn Gillespie & Associates.

At the time, Global Action did not have enough staff to launch its new drive to increase U.S. funding for primary-school education in poor countries. So the lobbying and PR firm provided ample assistance free of charge.

Lobbyists don't get much respect from the public. But behind the scenes, lobbying and public relations firms such as Quinn Gillespie often do a lot of good deeds -- without pay -- to advance public and charitable interests.

In this holiday season, let's take note of a few of them.

Quinn Gillespie, for example, helped plan and manage the news conference, which featured actress Angelina Jolie, Global Action's honorary board chair; Kay Warren of California's Saddleback Church; and the group's executive director, Jennifer Delaney.

Quinn Gillespie staffers Rochelle Behrens, Catherine Goode, Virginia Hume, Sue Garman Kranias, Richard C. Powell Jr. and Ashley Prime drafted and sent out news releases, edited speeches, and managed the event's arrangements. Jack Quinn, an advisory board member, backed the effort.

"This was truly invaluable to GAC," Delaney said. "We could not have done it without them."

But Quinn Gillespie is not the only K Street Santa.

The McLean-based nonprofit Our Military Kids supports the children of deployed and severely injured National Guard and reserve troops. The law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld supports Our Military Kids. Akin Gump helped the charity lobby for federal funds from Congress.

Similarly, Collins & Company, an Arlington-based lobbying firm, has been providing pro bono consulting to the Yellow Ribbon Fund since the fund's inception in 2005. The fund offers assistance to injured soldiers and their families at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda.

FD Dittus Communications helped Friends of New Orleans raise more than $60,000 through a series of events this year, including a panel discussion at the Aspen Institute in Colorado and a reception for New Orleans leaders at the home of political consultants James Ca rville and Mary Matalin.

Rodney Ferguson, managing partner in Washington for Lipman Hearne, a PR firm, also helped collect money for New Orleans, in his case for the Friends of the Times-Picayune. With the help of Ferguson and his staff, the relief fund raised more than $30,000 at a Washington fundraiser, which is a lot of money for a small charity.


CONTINUED     1        >

© 2007 The Washington Post Company

Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity