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Introducing the Nation’s Most Generous Scholarship Program

 

Situation:

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation asked Potomac Incorporated to launch a media and public outreach effort announcing its generous educational scholarship programs, which are financed by a one-half-billion dollar trust derived from the sale of the Washington Redskins, the Chrysler Building and other properties belonging to the late Mr. Cooke. With an approaching application deadline for scholarships aimed at senior undergraduates who were planning to attend graduate school during the upcoming fall semester, the pressure was on.

 

Our Approach:

Potomac planned a press conference and reception at the National Press Club for 150 friends and family of Jack Kent Cooke, along with media representatives from The Washington Post and WTOP Radio, among others. This event showcased the Foundation’s new Executive Director and former college president, Dr. Matthew Quinn. The program featured presidents of George Washington University, University of Maryland, Shenandoah University, and Montgomery College as well as U.S. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton.

 

Hundreds of press releases were sent electronically to education reporters, trade and general publications, and websites to announce the Graduate Scholars Program providing scholarships of up to $50,000 a year for up to six years for residents of Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia who are college seniors with a B average.

 

Next, Potomac put together two direct mail packets, each with a personal letter and a four-color brochure, “Creating A Future,” highlighting the Foundation and calling for scholarship applicants. One packet was mailed to College Presidents in Mid-Atlantic States and Washington, D.C.; the second packet was sent to a Potomac-crafted list of education, political, business and community leaders. Altogether, close to 3,000 pieces were mailed.

 

As students returned to campuses after the New Year, Potomac ran half-page ads in select college newspapers.

 

Outcome:

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation received about 700 high-caliber applications. And the Foundation began to be established as a formidable, prestigious organization.

 

As a result, Potomac was asked to produce media events to announce the winners of the graduate scholarships. We selected the University of Maryland (with 6 graduate scholars among 50 so honored) and the Virginia State Capitol (with Governor Mark R. Warner as host) for the sites, which drew national and international coverage.

 

Potomac was then retained to announce two additional and national scholarship programs: the Young Scholars Program for eighth-graders through high school seniors who are also eligible to receive financial aid and educational counseling through graduate school at a potential investment of up to one half million dollars per child; and a unique Undergraduate Scholars Program for community college transfers and other exceptional undergraduate students.

 

Google now lists 12,000 references to the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.

 

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