This global movement began with a simple question.
“What if we actually worked around the clock, for charity?”
As Teresa Coles and Cathy Monetti debated the concept one summer evening in 1998, a light came on. The principals of Riggs Partners, an advertising agency in Columbia, South Carolina, soon put plans in motion to make pulling an all-nighter for charity a reality. That’s when CreateAthon was born.
Looking back, their biggest concern wasn’t all the work; it was whether or not Riggs Partners’ rag-tag crew of volunteers could even stay awake for 24 hours. Spoiler alert — they did.
In 2002, Riggs Partners expanded their CreateAthon event into a national network by sharing their expertise and tools with those seeking to host their own events. In 2014, CreateAthon sought designation as 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. In 2023, a free toolkit was made available to those considering or planning pro bono marketing marathons.
During that time, we worked with pro bono leaders including:
- US Pro Bono Summit
- European Pro Bono Summit
- Points of Light Conference
- Billion + Change
- Pro Bono Lab
- BMW Foundation
- Public Relations Society of America
- American Advertising Federation
CreateAthon served as an inaugural member of A Billion + Change and the resulting Pro Bono Collaborative, designed to advance pro bono work in corporate America.
CreateAthon was honored to participate in the US, European and Global Pro Bono Summits as panelists, workshop facilitators and keynote speaker.
After meeting Net Impact at Taproot’s Summit, CreateAthon has worked with them on how to expand pro bono marathons to their membership.
CreateAthon has served as roundtable leaders and panelists at conferences led by the champion of corporate, group and individual volunteerism in the US.
Headquartered in Paris and recognized as an early leader in international pro bono, CreateAthon helped the team implement the marathon service model.
When it was time to introduce a global celebration of professional services for the public good, who gets called to do the brand identity? CreateAthon, naturally.
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.
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.
Matt King is Chief Marketing Officer at SFW, an insights, strategy and activation agency that has been helping brands win since 1984. Headquartered in Greensboro, NC, SFW is one of the fastest growing B2C & B2B marketing companies in the Southeast. SFW’s client experience includes national and global companies such as includes Channellock, Kohler, Char-Broil, GE, Johns Manville, Bellota, Ekornes and Lowe’s.
Featured recently in Shopper Marketing Magazine, Matt is known as a hands-on creative marketer who likes to get his hands dirty when learning about a client’s business. His expertise in retail strategy and the customer path-to-purchase helps companies gain and grow retail distribution. Currently SFW has a W-L record of 111-8 in product line reviews for clients selling into the big box and mass channels.
Matt graduated from NC State University with a degree in Business Management/Marketing, is a proud father of three beautiful girls and has a passion for golf, cycling and music.
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.
Rebecca Perez is a graphic designer, illustrator and artist who’s work is rooted in social change. After a 15+ year career in magazine design in New York City and marketing in Washington, DC, Rebecca opened her own studio in 2015. She works closely with art directors, policy specialists, and marketing teams to create visuals, documents, and publications that reach new audiences, tell their story and drive change. Some of her past clients include Human Rights Foundation, Zero to Three, and AARP Foundation. In addition to client-focused work, Rebecca creates art products including cards, prints and T-shirts, focused on connection and healing, as well as serves on the board of AIGA DC.
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.
Brittany is a CPA and Partner of Strategic Accounting Outsource Solutions, LLC (SAOS), a boutique outsourced accounting firm. SAOS provides Accounting, Controller and CFO services for organizations who want an innovative accounting department with an entrepreneurial spirit. Brittany’s prior life was with Pricewaterhouse Coopers, performing audits of publicly and privately held organizations. Brittany changed paths to scratch her entrepreneurial itch and be able to make a greater impact on society.
Brittany received her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Lehigh University.