During the month of March, Los Angeles businesses and communities have galvanized to take action and support Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. We spoke with Dawn Wilcox, Vice President of corporate partnerships at CHLA about how the campaign started, its growth, and how the community can support.
Tell us about how the "Make March Matter" campaign came to be. DAWN WILCOX: Make March Matter is a signature annual campaign designed to rally businesses and organizations in support of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). We first launched Make March Matter in 2016 after hearing from so many companies about their desire to have one specific time of year in which to rally customers and employees to raise money to support children’s health. Before I joined CHLA in 2013 I’d spent 18 years in the marketing and PR world helping nonprofits market their services and brand their organizations, as well as with corporations helping them build their philanthropic platforms and create a giving strategy that would align with the brand, their employees and their customers. A tried and true PR strategy is to create a designated timeframe (day, week or month) dedicated to specific issues (such as Pink Ribbon month in October, Movember in November) and when I got to CHLA I realized that there wasn’t a specific time of year dedicated to children’s hospitals or even children’s health. So Make March Matter was born.
How have you seen the program grow from its inception in 2016 to now? DW: In the first year we spent a lot of time explaining what it was. It was brand new and we had no images or any results from previous campaigns to share. We also had a lofty goal of raising at least $1 million—but even though the campaign was new, still people seemed to quickly grasp the idea and wanted to join. The first year we raised $1.3 million with 65 partners and then in year two we raised $1.95 million with more than 100 partners. One of the best outcomes has been the number of companies that now reach out to us wanting to join in—because they heard about it from a friend, saw it on social media or read about it in a magazine. Our colleagues at Children’s National Health System in Washington D.C. also joined the campaign this year so Make March Matter is officially “coast to coast.”
You have such a wide range of partnering businesses for this campaign. Are there any new partnerships in particular this year that are exciting to share? DW: Each year we are thrilled with the number and types of partners that join the campaign and we are very excited to have so many returning partners such as Panda Express, IHOP, Alfred Coffee, Delta Air Lines, Theory, and dozens more. What’s been particularly exciting for me is to see how certain categories have grown—we have a number of fitness partners this year such as Orangetheory, Body by Simone and The DEN and returning partner Cycle House in addition to new categories such as our first florist partner in J’Adore Les Fleurs. The restaurant and food category keeps growing as well with partners such as California Pizza Kitchen, Fishing With Dynamite, The Strand House, Porto’s Bakery, Simmzy’s, Rock & Brews, Big Sugar Bake Shop, Pizza Rev, and Chef Kai Kani.
How can Angelenos take action and support the "Make March Matter initiative? DW: Angelenos can take action and Make March Matter by supporting the businesses that support CHLA. They can go to makemarchmatter.org to find out more information about events and businesses in their area. They can also make a donation on the website and help us hit our $1 million goal!