Eleven leading non-profit organizations from South Florida were chosen to participate in the Ninth Annual PhilADthropy at the University of Miami School of Communication, where students create vibrant campaigns and other advertising materials in one 25-hour, coffee-fueled marathon for some of the most deserving local non-profits.

Meryl Blau, lecturer in the Department of Strategic Communication at the School of Communication and the founder of PhilADthropy, says one campaign from last year’s event that really stood out was focused on Shake-A-Leg Miami (SALM). SALM works to improve the health, education, and independence of children and adults with physical and developmental challenges in an inclusive and diverse setting for families to have fun and create memories.

According to Blau, students were inspired by the organization’s mission and realized what a great story there was to tell.

“Our students quickly realized that there was an opportunity for an onsite photo shoot.  They grabbed their cameras and went down to the marina. Next thing we knew – they were on a boat, took their shots, came back, and built a campaign. Incredible what they can do in one night,” said Blau.

This year the list of chosen organizations covers a wide range of well deserving causes from the LEAPlete Foundation, which provides athletic opportunities to disabled students to the Resource Depot, a nonprofit working to turn almost 200,000 pounds of reusable supplies into classroom and alternative art materials equipping educational programs and public workshops.

From aiding in the fight against drug and alcohol addiction, to providing advocacy for the South Florida mental health community, the list of organizations also includes: Crime Stoppers of Miami-Dade and The Florida Keys, The Sandler Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Education, NAMI Miami-Dade CountyEmpowered Youth USA, Active Divers Association, Inc., Ear Peace: Save Your Hearing FoundationThe Home Team-Miami, LLC, The Melissa Institute for Violence Prevention and Treatment, and Wines for Charity.  

Every year since PhilADthropy’s inauguration, 10-16 nonprofit representatives come to the School of Communication to discuss with their teams what their creative needs are. Each team is then given 25 hours to create everything from logos to full blown campaigns with photo shoots, designs, copywriting, and more to really bring the organizations’ messages to life.

Over the event’s nine-year history, PhilADthropy has created campaigns for local organizations helping causes including the fight to clean up our oceans, bringing art to students across Miami-Dade, finding a cure for cerebral palsy, and encouraging women to pursue a STEM career.

Students from all majors are encouraged to participate and put what they learned in class to the test, working with real life clients under tight deadlines. They meet their clients on the first day of the event, and finish in a day what would normally take a month in class. Students are provided with meals, snacks, and lots of treats from local sponsors such as LIME Fresh Mexican Grill, Sergio’s Family Restaurants, Evos, Distraction Magazine, UM’s Division of Student Affairs, Hurricane Productions, HipPOPs Handcrafted Gelato Bars, Merrick’s Pizza, U RAWK Energy Inc., and our charter sponsor Markham & Stein, to keep them moving and thinking throughout the entire 25 hours. 

This year, PhilADthropy takes place on Friday, Feb. 23, beginning at 11 a.m. and finishing on Saturday, Feb. 24, at noon.

Interested students have until Feb. 19 to volunteer and are encouraged to get excited and come prepared to experience something like they never have before.

“It’s an incredible experience and a great story to tell in an interview. PhilADthropy is also a great way to meet students and work with professionals you would never have the chance to otherwise. It’s a great team building, portfolio building opportunity and, most importantly, students get to help their community by using their classroom skills. it’s a win-win-win-win-win,” said Blau.