Since the beginning of my philanthropic endeavors, my mission has always been to unite people, raise awareness, take action, and advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves. Having experienced the transformative power of staying connected to the arts, friends, and community during my battle with Stage 2 Hodgkin's Lymphoma, I sought to give back by fostering communities around shared passions.
As the inaugural recipient of the Jay Porter Fellowship, my goal was not only to raise essential funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS), but also to inspire and educate others on the fulfillment of authentic giving, extending the impact of my work beyond my personal reach. Jay Porter, a 17-year Edelman veteran who passed away from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma on November 2, 2021, was a man who not only gave of his time, but he always was invested with his heart—as a mentor, friend and passionate leader at Edelman. He always encouraged those around him to be their best, most authentic selves and he truly embodied each of our Edelman values.
Despite the advice I received from my colleagues, teammates, and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, to focus solely on sponsorship and traditional fundraising, I chose a different path. I wanted to create authentic moments of community, bringing like-minded individuals together to make a lasting difference. I aimed to ignite change that would endure long after my own contributions. The Jay Porter Fellowship empowered me to embark on this philanthropic journey, providing me with the resources, mentorship, and guidance needed to make a meaningful impact. Edelman’s belief in my vision allowed me to reach new heights and lead a campaign that touched lives and raised significant funds for LLS.
Together, with the help of my team of friends, family, DJE colleagues, and mentors, we made a difference. Throughout my Visionaries of the Year campaign, we organized numerous events in various cities, forging connections, spreading awareness, and inspiring change. We took over Club Space in Miami for a bootcamp workout and enjoyed a memorable karaoke party, traveled to Boston for a captivating cabaret celebrating the city's theater luminaries, and joined yoga instructor Brian Swinney at Corepower Yoga for a YogaSculpt Charity Class. We sprinted through 12.0 workouts at our Barry's Bootcamp Charity Class and partnered with the newly opened facial aesthetics and dermatology practice, CONTOR Studios, for a three-day fundraiser where 20% of all proceeds made were donated to LLS. And let us not forget "All in Good Company," the cabaret we produced in New York City, uniting friends from different chapters of my life. We had an unforgettable flip cup game at the Edelman New York offices, and concluded with the grand finale, "Raise Your Voice," featuring exceptional talents such as Peloton Superstar Cody Rigsby, Las Culturistas and Fire Island star, Matt Rogers, Executive Producer, writer, agent, and activist Richie Jackson, Broadway and Television actor Jay Armstrong Johnson, and many more.
In partnership with friends and colleagues, we demonstrated the immense power of authentic philanthropy, proving that true change can be achieved by bringing communities together, sparking awareness, and inspiring action.
The culmination of my efforts came to fruition on May 12, 2023, as my work through the Jay Porter Fellowship and the Visionaries of the Year Campaign concluded. Our collective efforts raised over $80,000 for LLS in a mere 10 weeks, and I was honored to receive the inaugural LLS Advocacy Award for continuously showing dedication to LLS’s policy and advocacy efforts.
I am profoundly grateful for the Jay Porter Fellowship and to the DJE Network for their belief in my vision. I extend my deepest gratitude to all who made this journey possible, and I am humbled by the opportunity that allowed us to make a difference together.
Rob Morean is Senior Manager, Brand Experiences, and the inaugural recipient of the Jay Porter Fellowship.