Jennifer Smith, the fundraising associate for Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy, is presented with students' work on Saturday morning, February 19 at a PhilADthropy event. Her daughter, Madison, sufferes from SMA. Steven Levy//The Miami Hurricane

Students gathered in the courtyard of the School of Communication (SoC) late Friday morning to launch this year’s PhilADthropy day at the conclusion of the SoC’s annual communication week.

“As a freshman, you don’t get as many oppurtunites to dive into your major  and in this event it doesn’t matter what skills you have, whether your a freshman or a sophmore, you can just dive into it,” said participant Amilynn Soto.

During the 25-hour long marathon, advertising students provide free advertising and creative services to local non-profit organizations.  The products range from logos and brand identity to websites and brochures. The event is presented by AdGroup, the university’s organization for advertising students and PRADUM, the public relations agency on campus.

Non-profit organizations that participated included the Community Partnership for the Homeless, Food for the Poor, Sails for Sustenance, Environmental Coalition of Miami and the Beaches and Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Greater Miami.

Sails for Sustenance is a non-profit that donates sails to subsistent fishermen in Haiti. They used PhilADthropy to develop a brand identity and to appeal more to volunteers.

“I have a lot of confidence in the talent here. We’re very impressed and grateful for this,” said Sails for Sustenance representative Michael Caracaise.

Event coordinator Meryl Blau brought the idea to UM, and is confident about this year’s PhilADthropy event.

“We’re anticipating great success, we have over 100 student volunteers and we had more than 45 non-profit organizations apply for assistance,” Blau said.

For sophomore Stephanie Reyes, PhilADthropy presents a unique hands-on oppurtunity for aspiring ad majors.

“It’s the best opportunity for student to have real hands experience with real clients and for me I have never presented to a client and it’s a great experience to stand before my client and tell them all the work we ve done,” Reyes said.

In the end, PhilADthropy is a win-win for everyone. Students walked away with material to add to their portfolios and participating non-profits get new creative launching points and ads.

“It helps when you’re attached to the cause the non-profit represents, you get more passionate,” said Kate Festa, an art and advertising major volunteering at the event.

Carmen Rodriguez may be contacted at