Spreading the word

Organizations that do the most good often struggle for funds because it’s expensive to design and print the eye-catching brochures, publications and mailings needed to attract potential donors.

The James J. Roop Co., a Cleveland-based public relations firm, has done something to change that. Roop and his small team of account executives and graphic designers annually donate $40,000 in pro bono services to educational groups including Boy’s Hope/Girl’s Hope, Urban Community School and Care Alliance so their voices can be heard.

Boy’s Hope/Girl’s Hope puts about eight underprivileged children in foster home settings and assists with their tuition to private schools like St. Ignatius and Walsh Jesuit. In the new setting, students are often equipped to perform better in school and earn scholarship money to attend college.

Since 1991, 100 percent of the program’s high school graduates have gone on to college.

This year, Roop’s firm helped design Boy’s Hope/Girl’s Hope’s annual report and plan its strategic publicity and fund-raising efforts. Although Boy’s Hope/Girl’s Hope is a national program, Roop’s efforts and funds go to help students in the Cleveland area.

Roop says education is always a top priority when considering the dozens of organizations that solicit his firm every year. That’s followed by human services organizations and those committed to the arts.

“It’s not about just coming in and doing your job from 9 to 5, it’s also about looking at what else is out there,” Roop says. “I think the area we can be most effective is in the planning and the implementation of a graphic design program. Invariably, that is something they’ll have to end up paying for outside because it’s a specialized area that not everyone can do.”

Roop’s company has created promotional brochures and the annual report for Urban Community School, a private elementary school for inner-city Cleveland children.

“I think the school has a big impact,” he says. “It has had an excellent success ratio of taking kids from underprivileged neighborhoods and giving them a first-rate education.”

Roop also serves on the board of directors for Boy’s Hope/Girl’s Hope and the endowment committee of Urban Community School.

For Care Alliance, which provides health care services for the needy, Roop’s company coordinated, designed, edited and printed the 1999 annual report when another vendor fell through three weeks prior to deadline. Even though these groups don’t pay for services, Roop’s firm treats the charitable projects as if they were coming from paying clients.

“We do support a lot of groups that are near and dear to our clients, but most of those tend to be near and dear to us, too,” Roop says. “Big companies are basically not as able to carry as much of the ball as they used to, so if the smaller business don’t get involved, they’re going to be missing support.”

In addition to its pro bono work, Roop’s company has donated more than $15,000 to charitable organizations, including the Malachi House, the Center for Families and Children and the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. How to reach: James J. Roop Co., (216) 902-3800

Morgan Lewis ([email protected]) is a reporter for SBN.