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.
Erin Dieterich is Director of Corporate Citizenship at NetSuite, helping to oversee the NetSuite.org portfolio with a focus on designing and implementing global employee volunteerism initiatives – including the signature SuiteVolunteer pro bono and SuiteImpact Team community service programs. Previously, she was the manager for Corporate Social Responsibility at Discovery Communications, where she spent eight years developing and facilitating programs for the Discovery Impact brand, creating award winning employee volunteerism programs and coordinating charitable giving, cause marketing, disaster relief and public-private partnerships.
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.
Armin Piálek is a Project Manager at the BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt, where he works to advance the growth of professional pro bono services in Germany. He began his career with BMW Foundation in the Asian Relations Department, where he was a Fellow from 2010 until 2012. Armin has been instrumental in supporting the growth of pro bono services on a global level, having served as a fellow with the Taproot Foundation in New York and San Francisco. To this end, Armin has been key in the development the Global Pro Bono Summit, now in its third year. Armin also manages the relationship with Mitost in Russia, in support of the BMW Foundation’s international expansion of activities.
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.
Peyton Rowe was named Executive Director of CreateAthon in fall 2013, shortly after the organization achieved its 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. Making things and working with people, while having a laughing good time, is how Peyton has spent her workdays for years. Discovering that she could use her super powers of design and creative thinking to help her local community was icing on the cake. In 2004, while teaching at the University of South Carolina, Peyton worked with CreateAthon, and three years later launched CreateAthon onCampus at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), an academic model of the program, while continuing to develop the national CreateAthon program and organization. In addition to serving as CreateAthon’s Executive Director, she is an associate professor of design and creative advertising at VCU.