With the Covid pandemic putting a halt to in-person fundraising events in 2020, Emily’s Entourage (EE) sought to reinvent its annual campaign in true EE fashion by dreaming big and thinking differently. Moving beyond a “virtual gala,” the EE team developed a month-long, multi-media campaign to replace its annual in-person gala and appeal.
Themed “The Magic Line,” the campaign drew its name and inspiration from one of the most famous routes up K2, the last of the most elite, 8,000+ meter mountains to be summited in winter and without supplemental oxygen. “The Magic Line” served as a metaphor for the organization’s urgent mission to speed breakthroughs and a cure for the final 10% of the CF community without targeted therapies—the final summit of CF.
The campaign included: a one-hour Virtual Video Premiere featuring EE’s 2021 campaign video, four testimonial videos featuring the CF community, a virtual Birthday Party and Campaign Gratitude Event in honor of Emily’s 36th birthday, extensive peer-to-peer fundraising, a CharityBuzz online auction and a month of storytelling on social media.
The campaign launched on December 8, 2020 with the Virtual Video Premiere featuring the debut of EE’s annual campaign video. Directed by Joanna Rudnick of Storied Studios, the video, also titled “The Magic Line,” shares the story of two women and one fatal disease.
The event also featured an interview with world-class alpinist Adrian Ballinger (one of four Americans to summit K2) and Emily and Liza, video reflections from several CF adults whose lives have taken contrasting turns with the arrival of new life-saving CF therapies, and Emily’s personal story about the impact that the remarkable new targeted drugs have had for 90% of the CF community and her own reality as part of the 10% that does not benefit.
Over the next few weeks, the campaign continued as EE shared individual videos from the premiere event across social media, including testimonials from the CF community: Mary Frey, Gunnar Esiason, Shelby Luebbert, and Miguel Angel Rodriguez (the parent of a child with CF). Mary and Gunnar described the transformation they experienced when they started a life-saving, mutation-targeted therapy. Shelby and Miguel shared their bittersweet reality—happiness for those benefiting from the therapy (“the 90%”), but sadness and frustration that the therapy does not work for the “final 10%.” The videos have been shared widely on social media and viewed several thousand times to date.
Peer-to-peer fundraising played an important part of the campaign’s success and marked a new phase for EE. EE called upon its “Entourage” to help spread the word, expand its reach, and raise funds in support of its critical mission. Not only did they share EE’s mission with their communities, but they brought new supporters into the fold, growing the Entourage and expanding its reach. Peer-to-peer fundraisers raised a remarkable $92,100 and counting. Efforts included “Fill-A-Row,” led by EE board member Joan Denenberg, in which friends and families were invited to “fill the rows” of the virtual theater, and “The CureFinders Crew,” led by Erin Shanahan, Miguel Rodriguez and Loreto Dominguez, which was made up of CF families and supporters sharing their stories to speed life-saving breakthroughs for the final 10%.
The campaign culminated with Emily’s 36th Birthday Party and Campaign Gratitude Event on January 12, 2021, emceed by Emily’s sister, Julia Kramer-Golinkoff, and hosted by Jill and Mark Fishman, Eli and Pauline Neerman Foundation, Marta and Robert Addelson, Marcia and Ned Kaplin Foundation, Leonard Abramson, Miriam
Bernstein, Kenneth and Gloria Friedman Charitable Fund, and Richard N. Paulsen. The intimate evening featured special appearances from the Kramer-Golinkoff family, thank yous to campaign donors, sponsors and supporters, remarks from Emily, cake and candles and a birthday letter from Liza to Emily shared in a video.
“The Magic Line” virtual campaign and annual appeal exceeded its goal of $1M, raising more than $1,027,800. The funds came from 1,419 donors and 149 sponsors. Between the video premiere and birthday party, there were nearly 1,400 registrants from 23 countries and 45 states. As part of the campaign, EE produced seven videos garnering more than 30,000 views and generating 50,000 impressions across social media.
And the campaign served as another reminder of the ongoing work of EE, which remains laser-focused on the singular goal of speeding life-saving research and drug development for the final 10%.Emily’s Entourage extends its appreciation to sponsors of The Magic Line campaign.
For a complete list of sponsors, supporters and contributors, click here.