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Keeping Your Head Above Water: Lessons from the Flint Water Crisis

  • University Club 111 Lyon Street Northwest Grand Rapids, MI, 49503 United States (map)

A disaster unfolds in your hometown, the effects of which are devastating. Your community quickly becomes the leading story in national news. The outpouring from people all over the world wanting to help is completely overwhelming, consuming nearly every aspect of your organization. This was the experience of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint in 2015. 

For this luncheon, we'll be joined by Mary Jo Herbig, APR, Director of Communications and Alexandria Dawson, Development and Program Associate from the Community Foundation of Greater Flint to hear how they responded to the Flint water crisis. They'll share what it was like building PR capacity during a crisis, managing the media mania, and helping guide donors to make the best possible impact. Mary Jo and Alexandria will also share some of their lessons learned. 

    About our speakers:

    Mary Jo Herbig, APR, serves as Director of Communications for the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, a public charity serving Flint and Genesee County, Michigan. She joined the staff in 2007 as the Foundation’s first communications professional responsible for public relations, marketing and executive communications. Her prior experience includes 20 years as a marketing communications professional for two Michigan-based health care systems – Trinity Health and Spectrum Health.

    She began her career editing weekly newspapers in Nocona, Texas and Roscommon, Michigan. Mary Jo earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Michigan State University. She holds accreditations from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. Mary Jo served on the Community Foundation National Standards Board for six years, and is a member PRSA and the Communications Network.

    Alexandria Dawson is on a mission of working towards the common good in Flint and Genesee County, her hometown. For the past three years as the Development and Program Associate of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint she has had the pleasure of working with next generation donors, cultivating online giving campaigns, creating and managing digital content and coordinating special events.

    Prior to working at the Community Foundation, Alexandria honed in on her love of community by serving as a neighborhood liaison to the Northside Development Corporation of Spartanburg, SC. She also launched and implemented successful fundraising campaigns which led to an increase in donations for Wofford College for three years. 

    Alexandria earned a bachelor of arts degree in sociology from Wofford College. She currently serves on the YWCA of Greater Flint Board of Directors and on the Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy Michigan Chapter Steering Committee.