ESPN, Discovery Education, Ketchum among the winners in Corporate Social Responsibility awards

Communicators showcased their ability to influence public opinion, tackle tough issues and give back to their audiences in PR Daily’s most recent awards program.

From campaigns around carbon neutrality and mental illness to road safety and transgender rights, this year’s winning organizations in PR Daily’s 2020 Corporate Social Responsibility Awards have a lot to take pride in.

More than 20 organizations were lauded as the best of the best.

Standing out from the impressive crowd are two Grand Prize winners. Kevin Martinez of ESPN is this year’s CSR Professional of the Year. As VP of corporate citizenship, he exceeded his 2020 goal of enabling 1 million kids’ access to sports by reaching 1.7 million by the end of 2019. Under Martinez, ESPN enhanced its relationships with sports leagues, sponsors and other business partners. ESPN has also built or refurbished 81 play spaces in underserved communities worldwide, and provided 219,000 coaches with training in an effort to remove the barriers to accessing sports.

Our second Grand Prize winner is Panda Restaurant Group for CSR Campaign of the Year. As part of its “Round Up” campaign, the restaurant chain asked customers to round up the cost of their order to the next dollar. Those small increments added up to millions of dollars for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and its educational charities. In 2019, Panda Express raised $51.4 million for its charity partners through its in-store fundraising program.

Multiple winners

There were several multiple award winners in this year’s program.

Discovery Education took home three wins this year, taking home the top prize for best Social Media Campaign, Public Health or Safety Initiative, and Video or Visual Design. Its Twitter takeover, in partnership with LG, on the International Day of Happiness won kudos best Social Media Campaign and for Video/Visual Design, it teamed up with USC Shoah Foundation to educate more than 2 million students about the history of genocide.

ESPN’s efforts around giving back to sports fans and encouraging more kids to get involved in sports landed top honors as best Cause Advocacy Campaign and Employee Volunteer Program.  In the summer leading up to its 40th anniversary in September 2019, it created “40,000 Acts of Service” to inspire employees to give back to sports fans through volunteer engagement. And it’s “Don’t Retire, Kid” campaign tackled the issue of kids quitting sports at an average age of 11. It generated hundreds of millions of impressions in less than a month and 500 media placements.

HLK with Acceleron’s #FarmStateofMind campaign won in two categories, Brand Activism and Community Affairs. Recognizing the mental health crisis in the heartland, HLK and Acceleron launched a cross-platform mental health initiative designed to break down the stigma surrounding the mental health of farmers and connect farmers to the resources they need. With next to no paid media, it landed coverage in nearly 50 publications, 4,500 shares and retweets on posts—compared to a previous average of 15—among its impressive results.

Ketchum for Mastercard’s #AcceptanceMatters campaign won for best CSR Event and Media Relations or PR Campaign. The two organizations created the “True Name” initiative to enable the transgender and nonbinary communities use their preferred name on their eligible credit, debit and prepaid cards, without the requirement of a legal name change. The initiative drew praise from the community and widespread national coverage.

Other organizations shined in this year’s program. To name a few, Landis Communications’ campaign, in partnership with Save the Redwood League, promoting the acquisition of one of the world’s last remaining groves of giant sequoias took home the award for Best Fundraising and Philanthropic Initiative; hosted an impressive charity hackathon, earning the company the Best Stakeholder/Employee Engagement award; Quicken Loans Community Fund helped Detroit families stay in their homes, winning kudos for Corporate-Community or Nonprofit Partnership; and so many more.

The most popular categories among entrants were Corporate-Community or Nonprofit Partnership, Cause Advocacy Campaign, Report (Annual or One-time) (Print or Electronic), Green and Environmental Stewardship and Video or Visual Design.

Here is a complete list of all winners where you will find more-detailed write-ups on their successes.

COMMENT Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive the latest articles from directly in your inbox.