CHICAGO – Gift of Hope, a leading organization that coordinates organ and tissue donation in Illinois and northwest Indiana, has selected San Jose Public Relations (SJPR) as its primary Hispanic agency of record for an integrated public relations program. The 2010 effort will consist of media relations, grassroots outreach and community relations and will aim to maintain a more constant awareness around Gift of Hope and its mission.

As an organ procurement organization, Gift of Hope is one of 58 non-profit agencies that make up the nation’s organ donation system. Through the United Network for Organ Sharing, these agencies work together to get donated organs to patients in need.

“We’re excited to extend the reach of our existing Hispanic programs to overcome misperceptions in the market and raise awareness around the need for organ donation,” said Raiza Mendoza, Hispanic coordinator for Gift of Hope. “I have the privilege of working closely with patients on the waiting list, the families of donors and those who have received a life-saving transplant, and I’ve already begun to see how this type of outreach can encourage more families to take steps toward becoming organ donors.”

The assignment follows an initial project that SJPR recently completed for Gift of Hope around National Donor’s Sabbath in November 2009. The annual weekend-long event focuses on churches and faith leaders around the country to help spread the word about organ donation. Through a Chicago initiative, SJPR helped Gift of Hope establish important relationships with Hispanic churches, reaching thousands of congregation members. This grassroots outreach leveraged an important touch point for the Hispanic community and helped dispel misperceptions around faith as an obstacle to donation. A media relations effort leading up to National Donor’s Sabbath broadened news coverage for Gift of Hope and reached nearly two million Hispanics.

“It was such a pleasure working with Gift of Hope on our first project and raising awareness about such an important issue,” said Jennifer Woods, executive vice president of SJPR. “We’re excited to continue this effort because we’ve seen the powerful emotion that these programs can evoke among not only our target audience, but our target media too.”

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