I’ve had solid, diverse experience in corporate responsibility, individual philanthropy and community outreach programs. I’ve managed strategic planning, tactical operations and organizational processes in that realm.
Sounds of Recovery – When Yankee Candle founder Mike Kittredge suffered a serious stroke in 2012, music therapy helped his recovery process profoundly as he fought to re-connect with family, friends and his world.
Observing this, his then-wife Lisa Kittredge sought my help as we created a new foundation called Sounds of Recovery. The foundation was dedicated to 1) advocating for music therapy practitioners themselves and 2) assisting organizations and individuals to build awareness of music therapy among those in the health-care community and among families of clients with need.
I was honored to be named to the organization’s first Board of Directors and I also served as the Marketing Communications lead for the new entity. In addition to creating the organizational marketing communications plan and all written and video content for the sites, I was responsible for producing SOR’s 2015, 2016 and 2017 fundraising events, which included multiple live musical performances and TED-style talk by world-class music therapy authority Kathleen Howland Ph.D.
- SOR Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/soundsrecovery/
The Kittredge Foundation – Mike and Lisa Kittredge established their own foundation in 1998 to support worthy causes and organizations. As the Administrator of the foundation since 2004, my duties included assessing grant proposals, working closely with grantee organizations, managing strategic communications and scheduling related events and appearances for the Kittredges related to the foundation.
I have been honored to have served the Kittredge Foundation with creating grant programs aiding respected organizations including:
- The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
- Cooley-Dickinson Hospital
- Brigham and Women’s Hospital
- The Nantucket Cottage Hospital
- Holyoke Community College
- The Bement School
- The Amherst Montessori School
- …and many others.
Kringle Candle Company – As a new and growing company, Kringle Candle and The Farm Table’s initial stance was to demonstrate their respective corporate responsibility values, which began with assessing and communicating a host of core sustainability initiatives. They included:
- Geothermal heating and cooling system for The Farm Table and the Kringle Christmas Barn, which creates zero CO2 emissions.
- A devout focus on locally-sourced foods, which preserve agricultural lands and minimize emissions related to transport.
- Low-temperature candle manufacturing technologies which require substantially less energy consumption.
- Re-uses for candle glassware, emphasized through video presentations, take-away brochures and customer-education in-store.
- Plans to develop the farmland adjacent to Kringle Candle for truly local food sourcing.
I also solicited and hosted site tours by educational groups seeking to learn about the entrepreneurial aspects of Kringle Candle.
I also co-developed Kringle Candle’s Fundraising Division, allowing schools, clubs and other not-for-profit organizations to purchase products at a discount.
The Kringle Candle Company also supported the fundraising efforts of qualifying causes and organizations within Franklin County MA, Windham County VT and Chester County NH with gifts of candle products for raffle.
Yankee Candle Company – As Yankee Candle’s first dedicated marketing communications specialist, I developed a host of policies, partnerships and programs that helped to create a cohesive corporate responsibility posture for the company. Some of the highlights of that effort included:
- Ongoing relationship with the USMC Reserve annual “Toys for Tots” toy collection program.
- On-site employee blood drive partnership with the American Red Cross.
- Collections of coins from the many fountains on the Yankee campus donated to the Dakin Animal Shelter.
- Car shows on the campus were presented in collaboration with Mothers Against Drunk Driving and all admissions revenues were donated to MADD.
- Revenues from pumpkin carving contests were donated to UNICEF.
I wrote Yankee Candle’s first Giving Guidelines document, to help the executive team in their assessment of the many charitable requests received by the company annually. Later, I was asked to take on the duty myself as part of my Corporate Communications Director role.
I developed a Charitable Giving policy and procedures program that helped Yankee Candle’s many satellite store managers to become semi-independent of the corporate office in terms of local giving. This boosted community visibility (and local sales) for the Yankee brand, elevated esprit de corps in the field and eliminated much extraneous communication, while still providing responsible home-office oversight.
Following Mike Kittredge’s first recovery from cancer, I co-wrote an original rock opera entitled “Jimmy – A Human Interest Story” which was performed to a sellout audience and raised over $150,000 for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in one evening.