Monday, October 27, 2008

Rainn Wilson + P&P = local media for a great cause

Most of us on the team are big fans of NBC's “The Office.” Scratch that, HUGE fans of “The Office.” We’re constantly quoting scenes and we schedule after hours team events around broadcasts of the show. We all cringe at Michael Scott’s antics and laugh at Dwight Schrute’s egomaniacal geeky-ness. In addition to being an excellent actor and a super smart guy, Rainn Wilson, the guy who plays Dwight Schrute, is also a humanitarian. He’s a spokesperson for an international charity called the Mona Foundation and we met him this weekend.

On Saturday night, local organization ACTWomen hosted a benefit called Lotus Night on behalf of the Mona Foundation. The goal of Lotus Night was to raise money for one of Mona’s projects, The Barli Development Institute for Rural Women. The institute is in Indore, India and they teach women a gamut of relevant skills and important information about health care, sustainable living and so on. One of the guiding principles of the Mona Foundation is that if women in a community are given equal access to education, they effectively “pay it forward” and share their knowledge with their family and their entire community, thus benefiting generation after generation. This theory was bolstered when the UN conducted a study on what’s needed to end poverty around the world and the findings were two fold: 1) universal access to education and 2) gender equality.

In June, P&P was approached by the Mona Foundation’s Development Officer and local author, Gaellen Quinn, to do local, pro bono publicity for the event. We have experience promoting events through our partnerships with the Texas Book Festival and the Writers League of Texas, and with Rainn’s busy schedule, we knew we’d have to find some creative ways to pitch the event for local coverage. One of them was a pre-packaged e-interview that we pitched to local blogs and websites. We were also able to garner great print opportunities and local broadcast interviews on the day of Lotus Night. Rainn had a chance to talk about the event and the wonderful things that the Mona Foundation does around the world with local media.

We spent Saturday afternoon in our press room at St. Edward’s University, lining up reporters to talk with Rainn. He was funny, gracious and so down to earth. He kept us all giggling throughout the afternoon. We also met Dr. Mahnaz Javid, president of the Mona Foundation. Dr. Javid had just flown in to Austin after a whirlwind trip to Indore to visit Barli.

It was such a wonderful opportunity to meet one of our favorite actors and have an impact on women on the other side of the world. P&P can now add the Mona Foundation, ACTWomen and Dwight Schrute to our client list. Actually, Dwight Schrute would probably say he didn’t need a publicist.

Emmy-nominated actor Rainn Wilson and the P&P crew at Lotus Night's press event last Saturday (10/25)

To get involved with the Mona Foundation, please log on to their website. Also, check out ACTWomen's website here. A big thank you to Rainn Wilson, Mona and ACTWomen, and all the reporters who made it out on Saturday!

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