Our global movement began with a simple question.
“What if we actually worked around the clock, for charity?”
Such was the initial exchange between Teresa Coles and Cathy Monetti in the summer of 1998. As principals of Riggs Partners, an advertising agency in Columbia, South Carolina, the pair put plans in motion to make their idea of pulling an all-nighter for charity a reality. Soon after, CreateAthon was born.
To hear Teresa tell it, her biggest concern wasn’t if they could get all the work done—it was whether or not Riggs Partners’ rag-tag crew of volunteers could even stay awake for 24 hours. Turns out, they did just fine.
In 2002, Riggs Partners expanded their program to create a national CreateAthon network. Twelve years, 100 partners and more than 3,500 projects later, CreateAthon sought 501(c)3 status. As a nonprofit organization, CreateAthon works every day to recruit more professional and student-led marketing teams into service for nonprofits. In doing so, nonprofits gain access to the marketing and communications skills they need to help advance their work.
We are an active participant in A Billion + Change and member of its national Pro Bono Collaborative, which works to advance skills-based volunteerism.
CreateAthon has worked with Taproot on multiple projects and participated in the Global Pro Bono Summit for the last two years.
After meeting Net Impact at Taproot’s Summit, CreateAthon has worked with them on how to expand pro bono marathons to their membership.
Board of Directors
Board Chair and CreateAthon founder Teresa Coles is a career brand strategist who leads branding and consumer engagement initiatives for corporations, governmental agencies, and nonprofit organizations. Teresa has spent more than 20 years advocating the importance of skills-based volunteerism in the marketing industry. She has coached CSR and marketing professionals from leading corporations such as Discovery Channel, Altria and BMW Foundation on how their organizations can embrace the marathon model as an engaging employee/community service initiative. She led Riggs Partners to become a charter pledge company of A Billion + Change in 2011, where she and her colleagues have been an active voice in encouraging small businesses to create or expand skills-based, pro bono service programs. To that end, she currently serves as a member of the Small Business Advisory Group for A Billion + Change and as a member of the Leadership Faculty for the Corporate Institute at the Points of Light Foundation.
Liza Billington, CPA, is a Manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP. As a member of the PwC assurance practice, she performs financial statement and internal control audits of publicly traded companies. Liza currently serves Fortune 500 and Fortune 1,000 companies based in the Richmond area.Liza has five years of public accounting experience serving U.S. and foreign based public companies in industries including retail and consumer, industrial products, energy, pharmaceuticals and asset based finance. Liza is a Certified Public Accountant in Virginia and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Julia Bishop is an associate attorney at Troutman Sanders LLP. Julia focuses her legal practice on intellectual property law and protecting and enforcing her clients’ valuable trademark and copyright interests. Julia represents large domestic and international companies, small business, nonprofit organizations, and individual contractors and artists. Her clients are in a variety of industries, including the apparel and consumer goods, professional services, pharmaceutical, banking and insurance, logistics, IT, education, and healthcare fields. Julia serves on the board of directors of the Greater Richmond Intellectual Property Law Association and is a Co-Chair of the Virginia Lawyers for the Arts, an organization dedicated to providing a pro bono referral service and education services to Virginians in creative fields. Julia was selected as a “Rising Star” in Intellectual Property by Super Lawyers Magazine in 2015 and 2016.
June Bradham is the president and founder of Corporate DevelopMint, a fundraising consulting firm. Under her leadership, the company has served more than 200 nonprofits, directing campaigns of $2 million to over $1 billion. She is an internationally sought after speaker whose recent engagements have included plenary and keynote addresses at such prestigious conferences as AFP – International, AHP, CASE, CASE Europe and Blackbaud’s Conference for Nonprofits. June’s groundbreaking and insightful book on board dynamics, The Truth about What Nonprofit Boards Want: The Nine Little Things that Matter Most, was released by Wiley in June 2009 and is fast becoming one of the nonprofit industry’s most talked about books.
Cathy Howard is Vice Provost, Division of Community Engagement, at Virginia Commonwealth University. An associate professor of psychology, Dr. Howard assumed the Vice Provost position when VCU identified community engagement as a central theme in its strategic plan. She also serves on the Executive Committee of the Association of Public and Land-Grant University’s (APLU) Council of Engagement and Outreach. She has received the Distinguished Service Award from the College of Humanities and Sciences, the Grace E. Harris Community Engagement Leadership Award from the School of Social Work, the Mentor of the Year Award from the Grace Harris Leadership Institute, and the Richmond YWCA Woman of the Year Award for Human Relations.
Matthew Manos is an advisor and author dedicated to disrupting the economic models of service-oriented business. He is the founder of verynice, a global design and innovation consultancy that gives half of its work away for free to nonprofit organizations. Named one of “Seven Millennials Changing the World” by The Huffington Post, Matthew’s work has been featured in more than 250 venues, including Forbes, The Guardian, Inc., GOOD, and MTV. He is the author of How to Give Half of Your Work Away for Free (2 editions), a documentation of verynice’s 50% pro-bono business model and the subsequent “Give Half Movement” that has attracted over 5,000 readers across 1,500 cities.
Jack Martin is president of J. Fitzgerald Group Marketing Communications, located on the historic Erie Canal, where he oversees client services and business development for clients all over the world – from Korea to Ireland to France and all points in between. He also is partner in The Space Between, JFG’s innovative new venture allowing companies to solve internal corporate challenges through team building, creative problem solving, strategic planning, guiding brainstorming and more in JFG’s onsite workshop space. Prior to co-founding JFG in 2002, Jack worked as a reporter/wire editor, press secretary for a New York state assemblyman, PR supervisor and spokesperson for Fisher-Price Toys, advertising manager at Ford New Holland, and senior copywriter and business manager at a Toronto-based advertising agency. He graduated from SUNY at Buffalo with a bachelor’s degree in English and marketing.
Jessica is president and founder of Trio Solutions Inc. (TRIO), a full-service marketing communications agency whose corporate philosophy is grounded in: “Work hard. Enjoy life. Make a difference.” TRIO works with small and medium-sized businesses – including many nonprofit organizations – to develop and implement strategic marketing plans. The TRIO team has served as the CreateAthon agency of record in South Carolina’s coastal Lowcountry for 11 years, delivering more than 150 projects to area nonprofits. Jessica has worked in the marketing field for more than two decades and enjoys developing brands, plans and relationships in order to achieve her clients’ business goals. She received a master’s degree in healthcare administration from MUSC and a business management and marketing degree from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. Jessica is also an adjunct professor of marketing at the College of Charleston, where she currently teaches social media marketing.
Associate Professor, Design & Creative Advertising
CreateAthon@VCU Founder & Director
Pro Bono Advocate
Peyton thrives on using her superpowers of design and creative thinking to help her students learn how to produce powerful work for clients and their local community. She has taught at the college level for over 20 years and continues to learn each year how to do it better. Rowe has taught design, art direction and campaigns as well as capstone leadership courses. The common theme of her classes and work is social design and how to use communication skills to serve the community. And she can spot an unkerned word in a heartbeat.
Through her work as Executive Director of CreateAthon and Founder of CreateAthon@VCU, Peyton has focused her energy on inspiring, motivating and teaching as many creative groups as possible how their advertising and marketing talents can serve their local nonprofits. At VCU alone, Rowe has mobilized 847 volunteers to serve 103 Richmond nonprofits with over $1.9 million in pro bono marketing work in the past ten years. Pro bono service is the social change tool that has been a quiet partner in key social movements and will be critical in nonprofit capacity growth in the next 20 years.
Rebecca Wang is Senior Manager of Corporate Affairs at Hewlett-Packard, where she serves as a member of the Community Engagement and Global Experiences team. She oversees the company’s award-winning employee engagement strategy — from hands-on/team-building activities to skills-based and pro bono volunteering — for HP’s 300,000 employees around the globe. Her work in corporate social responsibility began at Cisco, where she was hired to scale the company’s global volunteer program and to manage the Cisco Systems Foundation matching gift and disaster relief programs. Rebecca has her professional roots in the nonprofit sector, spending 10 years as a fundraiser and volunteer manager at organizations such as the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and YMCA.