The 2LIVES Foundation, a nonprofit organization formed in honor of slain journalist Steven Sotloff, was one of 13 local organizations to take part in the seventh-annual PhilADthropy over the weekend at the University of Miami’s School of Communication (SoC). Teams of SoC students were tasked with rebranding the organizations with entirely new advertising materials in just 25 hours.
Professor Meryl Blau started PhilADthropy in 2010. Blau wanted to create an imaginative way for students to learn what it was like to work for a company while simultaneously helping organizations that would otherwise be unable to hire an agency and pay for a complete rebranding.
“These nonprofits will get about $10,000 worth of work including advertising, print campaigns, social media, interactive and so forth,” Blau said. “Everyone had a great and successful time with the projects. The time and effort that they showed will be worth it.”
The students were introduced to each other on Friday morning and briefed by their assigned organization on its marketing goals. It was then up to the students to create a campaign by the next morning.
After the introductions, the 25-hour marathon began. Students worked tirelessly through the night, coffees in hand, to bring their teams’ concepts to reality by 10:45 a.m. on Saturday, when they presented the materials to their clients.
School of Communication Dean Gregory Shepherd said in the opening ceremonies on Friday that PhilADthropy benefits all groups involved by combining work experience with community service.
“It is the best of two worlds. Students get real-world experience building campaigns, and at the same time, campaigns are built for those who really need it,” Shepherd said.
One of the organizations that benefited from PhilADthropy, 2LIVES, was founded by Arthur Sotloff and honors the memory of Sotloff’s son, Steven Sotloff. Steven was a journalist from South Florida who was beheaded by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in 2014 while covering the plight of Muslims in Syria.
The foundation will offer scholarships to young journalists and provide safe training and grant support to help prevent others from suffering the same fate as Steven. Arthur said he feels that each scholarship would honor the memory of his son.
“This organization wants young journalists who want to have a voice to come back home safe and sound,” Arthur said.
Carlen Dickerson, a sophomore in the SoC, was awarded the first 2LIVES scholarship at UM in December 2015.
A group of nine students assisted 2LIVES in redesigning their logo, setting up a website, making promotional materials, revamping social media and creating a channel on the music-streaming service Spotify, among other things.
The team also made print ads for 2LIVES, one of which showed a masked photographer trying to take a photo while being pushed back by three figures with raised riot shields. The poster suggests a protest zone and the message reads, “If you are bold enough to provide a voice, we will be your shield.”
Mia Rafowitz, a senior on the team that worked with 2LIVES, said that she was touched by what the organization strives to achieve.
“It really resonated with us,” Rafowitz said.
Rafowitz, an advertising major, has taken part in PhilADthropy since her sophomore year.
Arthur said he was grateful that 2LIVES was selected for PhilADthropy. After finding out about the event through the Miami Herald, he was one of the 13 chosen organizations out of 120 nonprofit applicants.
“I feel blessed that we had this opportunity,” Arthur said. “We feel honored to be one of the orgs to be selected. This will help us spread awareness.”
The other foundations included Susan G. Komen of Miami and Fort Lauderdale, National Voices for Equality and the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame.