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Christian City

2019 Community Champion Awards

The Situation

Christian City is a Georgia-based, nonprofit organization that provides vibrant living, life-changing hope and a community of loving friends through housing, health care and crisis intervention for children, families and adults. The 500-acre campus is in Union City, about 15 minutes south of the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The organization has seven major programs that include a residential program for children under 18, foster care and adoption programs, programs for runaway and homeless youth, graduate transition for independent living, senior living programs, skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers and volunteer programs. 
Christian City’s Safe Place Runaway and Homeless Youth Program is part of the National Safe Place program which serves youth who are at risk of falling pray to sex traffickers. Christian City provides immediate response to pick up and transport any child is on the street or homeless and provides intervention and advocacy to find a permanent solution to whatever led to the child’s homelessness. 
Christian City, well known in the Union City and Fayetteville areas, tasked HBI with raising its profile in the Atlanta community. HBI and Christian City decided a fundraiser event held in the city of Atlanta would be the perfect solution. The proceeds of the event would go to Christian City’s Safe Place Runaway and Homeless Youth Program, which serves children from the metro Atlanta area to South Georgia. Statistics show in the first 48 hours on the street, over 30% of boys are girls are unknowingly lured by traffickers into the sex trafficking industry. With over 3,300 homeless children in Atlanta from ages 14-25, this issue hits home to many individuals who live in these areas of Georgia. The goal for this project was to establish an annual fundraising initiative for Christian City’s ongoing work in the state and support its Safe Place Runaway and Homeless Youth program.

The Approach

HBI coordinated with Blackhall Studios to create an engagement plan as a guide for media and community engagement. HBI then conducted an initial assessment of the business community’s knowledge of the film industry. HBI invited Atlanta media to tour the film studio and provided aWith HBI’s help in 2019, Christian City created the Community Champion Awards (CCA) named in honor of individuals and businesses that have demonstrated outstanding leadership and commitment toward the betterment of the Atlanta community. CCA recognizes an individual, nonprofit and corporate organization for their substantial contributions to the Atlanta community. To raise its profile in the Atlanta community, HBI knew highlighting the incredible work Christian City does for those in need, and especially for the children all over Atlanta, would appeal to many individuals inside and outside of Atlanta. This event would be used to raise awareness of Christian City and its many programs in the Atlanta community. In doing this, the event would meet the organization’s goal of raising money for the Christian City’s Safe Place Program through sponsorships and garnering participation from the Atlanta community.

Christian City and HBI identified an executive committee (to serve as ambassadors for the awards ceremony), the honorees and the emcee. HBI worked with Christian City to craft its messaging and create all event materials from scratch in order to promote the Christian City programs. This included event sponsorship packets, fact sheets, event programs and invitations. In 2019, Christian City nominated Stephanie Blank for the individual category, Westside Future Fund for the nonprofit category and Delta Air Lines Inc. for the corporate category.

Christian City and HBI wanted the event to be exciting, family friendly and draw attendees. With this in mind, the Georgia Aquarium Ballroom was selected as the venue location, with windows open to the whale share and beluga whale exhibits. HBI also helped organized a powerful lineup of entertainment and speakers for the event to keep the fundraiser fresh and upbeat.  film industry fact sheet for attendees. HBI built a content calendar for Blackhall Studios and began posting on social media. In addition to this, HBI arranged the Rotary Film Panel. HBI prepared and coordinated the panel members, edited the presentation video, drafted key messages and run-of-show, sent invites to potential attendees, and secured attendance of key media. During the COVID-19 pandemic HBI worked to publicize in Atlanta the offer of Blackhall Studios to provide emergency medical space utilizing its now vast, but quieted studios.

A Successful Celebration

The Results

HBI established Christian City’s annual fundraising event, the Community Champion Awards, on September 19, 2019 at the Georgia Aquarium. The event was a success, while promoting its ongoing work in the state of Georgia and staying within budget. Significant relationships were built between Christian City, leading corporations and prospective donors including Delta Air Lines, The Arthur M. Blank Foundation, Choate Construction Company, The Marcus Foundation and more. Christian City successfully secured part owner of the Atlanta Falcons and Montag & Caldwell Managing Principal Ron Canakaris and Brakkam Aviation Management President & CEO Miguel Southwell as the honorary event co-chairs. 
The event was one to remember, with the reception and dinner being held in the Georgia Aquarium Ballroom with windows into the whale shark and beluga whale exhibits. The night began with a wonderful VIP reception with hos d’oeuvres, a photo booth and music. To welcome the guests to a delicious dinner was a drumline performance from South Atlanta Highschool. To follow suit, renowned Atlanta broadcast journalist Monica Pearson served as emcee, invocation by the CEO of HOI and former Atlanta Falcon John Burrough, keynote speaker U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia BJay Pak, and video tributes for each of the nominees. Each of the nominees gave touching and emotional speeches. The night ended with a special performance from the youngest runner-up on America’s Got Talent, Angelica Hale. In total, the event raised over $200,000 for Christian City’s Safe Place Program.
Additionally, securing the attendance of key Atlanta leaders was a large indicator of success to Christian City. The event was filled with leaders from multiple organizations such as Public Broadcasting Atlanta, the Carter Center, Lexicon Strategies, Covenant House, Emory University and more. HBI’s outreach to Atlanta organizations helped capture the perfect audience to increase visibility in the community.