It’s tough to say what the staff at Berlin Productions is more passionate about: its innovative work as a marketing and promotions agency, or its efforts on behalf of charitable organizations.
Rick Berlin started the company in 1982 to help companies develop websites, software applications, and video. Back then, it was “based on illustration service,” says Steven Klapow, the agency’s vice president of creative and communications services. “We’ve evolved into a full-service agency.” Berlin Productions has provided everything from print advertising to video presentations to TV spots for clients in such fields as healthcare, education, and the hotel industry. It typically has about 50 clients at any given time, Klapow says.
“What makes Berlin unique is their ability—and willingness—to truly immerse themselves in not just our projects, but the big picture in terms of our organization’s short- and long-term objectives,” says Michael Tartaglia, director of marketing for the Blue Book Building & Construction Network, which has worked with Berlin for more than a decade.
Berlin Productions displays that same thoroughness in its charitable work for foundations like the American Red Cross, which received an illuminated sign from Berlin that hung in the Westchester County Airport for years. Berlin has also done extensive work for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), which raises money for research to fight blood cancers. All together, the company has completed about $10,000 worth of pro bono work for LLS, including designing full-page newspaper advertisements and preparing signage for the foundation’s charity walks.
But Berlin doesn’t just save these nonprofits money—it also helps raise it. Klapow is in his third year on LLS’s Light the Night Walk Executive Leadership Committee, and created the Rock for a Remedy concert series, which is usually held at Vintage Lounge & Restaurant in White Plains and raises about $1,500 per concert for LLS.
“I was really impressed by how much of every dollar actually goes toward providing patient services and research,” Klapow says, “because there are a lot of nonprofits who really don’t dedicate a good part of every dollar to the cause that way.”
The folks at Berlin “all individually have our things that we were doing,” says Dylan Wood, the company’s chief operating officer and interactive creative director, who’s raised about $8,500 for LLS through triathlons as part of LLS’s Team In Training program, which specializes in endurance-sports training for charity.
“Top executives at the firm have not only actively fundraised as participants in these campaigns, but also have served as high-level volunteers,” says Barbara Gallagher, senior campaign director for LLS. “Dylan Wood served as a Team In Training mentor to new participants. Steven Klapow has helped us to recruit new teams to Light the Night and initiated fundraising.”
Klapow estimates that Berlin’s employees spend a few hundred hours per year on charitable work. “Regardless of the project we pull them into,” Tartaglia says, “Berlin pulls up a chair and gets fully engaged, from start to finish—without fail.”
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