Donating time, manpower and free marketing services to nonprofits struggling under the COVID-19 crisis has earned Paul Gregory Media special recognition from the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce.

Owner Paul Feith says he has been working for years to develop a culture of philanthropy and social responsibility within his Naperville marketing agency, which received the chamber’s inaugural Shining Business Award earlier this month.

His clients are primarily nonprofits or mission-based companies. His employees are encouraged to prioritize volunteerism. And for the last few years, his team has been offering pro-bono services to groups that need it most.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Feith said, many organizations were forced to slash their marketing budgets due to a loss of revenue. So Paul Gregory Media decided to create a grant program to boost the visibility of underfunded nonprofits.

“We wanted to be part of the solution,” he said.

Marketing packages valued at $2,500 each were first offered to five clients. But after realizing the level of service didn’t adequately meet the needs of some organizations, Feith said, the agency upped the ante and started focusing more specifically on the mission and outreach of each nonprofit.

Paul Gregory Media awarded a total value of $72,800 in marketing grants to 10 organizations, including top recipients We Grow Dreams, The Backpack Project, Naperville Education Foundation and Urban Muslim Minority Alliance. Others include the Weiss Scholarship Foundation, NAMI DuPage, Your Children’s Bookshelf, Love Christian Clearinghouse, Parents Alliance Employment Project and The GardenWorks Project.

Other in-kind contributions snowballed from there, Feith said. In 2020, the team of four full-time employees and two part-timers donated 2,411 hours to 165 projects serving 54 clients, he said. That equates to $421,969 worth of services, nearly quadrupling the company’s pro-bono work from the year before.

Word spread about Paul Gregory Media’s generosity, boosting the agency’s reputation and catching the attention of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce, President and CEO Kaylin Risvold said.

“The not-for-profit community has been hit so hard by the pandemic, and they operate on a very lean budget to begin with,” she said. “That’s just the best gift, to give visibility to our not-for-profits who are helping the community. It’s a trickle-down effect.”

Ahead of the 19th annual Bold & Bright Gala, which was held virtually Feb. 4, chamber leaders had been brainstorming ways to celebrate the business community and recognize their members, Risvold said. Paul Gregory Media came up in multiple conversations, she said, sparking the idea behind a new award centered around altruism and social responsibility.

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