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Bessie A. Winn-Afeku Headshot

Social Responsibility: Are You In?

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If you run, work for, or even volunteer for a nonprofit organization, then you know how challenging it can be at times to educate the community about your cause. As a director of a nonprofit organization, it is not very often that I encounter successful businesses to work with that have a genuine interest in "giving back" and investing in their communities. It's a remarkable and impactful thing when influential brands and businesses partner with organizations and social causes to bring about change.

Enter Nicole Garner, CEO of the Garner Circle PR, one of the premier PR firms in the Atlanta market. Some of her clients include Ne-Yo, Ciara, Janelle Monae, Keri Hilson, Chrisette Michelle, and Jaguar.In the fall of 2010 The Garner Circle Headquarters' [CREATIVE CLOSET] opened their doors to the "pop up agency" concept. Her agency granted two deserving non- profit organization an opportunity that would truly benefit from the industries of fashion/beauty/ entertainment, the opportunity to receive pro-bono PR and publicity services for their organization or community cause. The agencies "new talent" sought out non- profits who are making a difference but may not have the resources or the voice to get their efforts heard. The 2010 Creative Closet winners were the organizations Sole Plus and Beauty Recycled.

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Sole Plus is an organization that encourages students to present their own message for social change. Students are challenged to create their message thoughtfully as well as artistically using Converse All Stars as their canvas. Beauty Recycled is spreading the spirit of sustainability throughout the beauty world through a vast industry-wide initiative promoting environmental consciousness, landfill avoidance, and green growth opportunities.

Ms. Garner's personal philosophy on giving is that it is their due diligence to serve as a corporate neighbor in the industries that they serve, and the pop up agency concept will allows us to give back, utilizing their resources and expertise in a truly meaningful capacity. Garner's current community involvement include- Personal Growth High School Series, Alvin Ailey 50 member, Big Brother Big Sister, A Day In Her Shoes Shadow Day Initiative with the She Is Me Program, The Enchanted Closet, and Rolling Out's Female Success Factor.

When I asked Garner why she believes it is important for local businesses to "give back" to their communities she state simply... "Giving back is the rent we pay to live on this earth." And indeed it is. It is because of businesses like The Garner Circle PR that non-profits organizations can continue to grow and become a catalyst for social change.

To learn more about the Garner brand please visit http://www.TheGarnerCircle.com and http://www.TheGarnerBrand.com