When COVID-19 struck we were all stunned, confused and scared. At that time, the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation was focusing its energies on the programs that they have grown nationally – constructing Youth Development Parks to provide kids in under-served communities with safe places to play and learn, establishing STEM Centers in elementary schools across the country to encourage our young people to expand their education, and building bridges between law enforcement and communities through the Badges for Baseball program. And for the last 14 years, Maroon PR has helped to tell the stories of this great work through earned media and social media efforts.
This worldwide pandemic, however, forced the Ripken Foundation to take a step back and focus on the immediate needs of the communities they serve nationwide. With unemployment increasing dramatically and the illness keeping people apart, food insecurity was possibly the greatest need facing the country. So Cal and his Foundation team decided it was a good time to temporarily shift its focus and raise money quickly to feed those in need.
Maroon PR proved nimble enough to adjust with them. Having worked with the Maryland Food Bank and the Howard County Food Bank, we are well-versed in the world of food insecurity. In addition to earned media to spread the word and raise funds, we suggested to Cal Ripken that the time was right for him to personally join social media for the first time. Cal joined Twitter (@CalRipkenJr) to shine an even brighter light on the issue.
“Cal and the foundation team made it clear that these are unique times so for the first time they needed to depart from their important work and focus on the critical need of food insecurity,” said John Maroon, President of Maroon PR. “We understand the world of food insecurity and because of our relationship with Cal, we were able to announce the campaign and hit the ground running with significant earned media and launch his personal Twitter account to assist in this effort. The results were astounding and the energy and commitment that Cal brought to the campaign was key to its success.”
I’ve joined Twitter to help the @CalRipkenSrFdn and our partners launch #StrikeOutHunger2020 with @FeedingAmerica to lend a helping hand during this challenging time. To make a real difference, it takes a team. Join us by donating here: https://t.co/wKDyZEac4J #FirstTweet pic.twitter.com/CGGviyARUU
— Cal Ripken, Jr. (@CalRipkenJr) April 7, 2020
The “Strike Out Hunger” campaign was launched in partnership with Feeding America, the preeminent national hunger organization and experts in the field. Cal was very personally involved as a spokesman for the campaign and the Foundation kicked things off with an initial $100,000 donation. In addition, Foundation partners Ollie’s Bargain Outlets, the Kevin Harvick Foundation and Niagara Cares contributed significantly to ensure that the campaign got out of the gates strongly.
The campaign received a great amount of attention through the media as Cal conducted 40 interviews to raise awareness and encourage the public to contribute to the cause. The interviews resulted in 225 Million media impressions and national media hits with ESPN, ESPN Radio, Fox News, Fox Business, the MLB Network, Sirius Radio and the Tamron Hall Show. He also did interviews in six of the top ten markets in the country: New York (1), Los Angeles (2), Chicago (3), Dallas (5), Washington, DC (7) and Atlanta (10).
The “Strike Out Hunger” Campaign led to 3.4 Million meals distributed by Feeding America! The Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation recently returned to its core mission of serving communities in need through the programs above but they understood that the need was great to make the adjustment needed to truly help those in need during a critical time in our country.
Here are some of the media placements are team secured: