Sustainable Sponsorships is new in name only. While we are just launching the practice in 2021, we have been conducting this sustainable social impact work for over 25 years. In fact, we have owned the new domain for 15 years, always with the intention of more fully focusing on the sustainability space. Now is the time as we all must do whatever we can to address the existential challenges we face.
Kevin has operated under three previous names but all have all shared one common goal. Whether leading The Wilkinson Group, developing programs as Sponsorship Strategies or innovating as Bartram Partnerships, Kevin has been consistently devoted to driving social change through integrated and experiential marketing programs that bring out the best in all client and partner organizations. This work has led to scores of extraordinary partnerships, some of which are highlighted here.
Building strategic partnership programs that address environmental and other social issues, our work stimulates the overall economy, generates growth and revenue, and ultimately creates a positive impact on communities served.
Our current work includes support of In This Together and Earth X. We are supporting founders Bill Shireman and Trammell Crow as they seek to bring citizens and leaders together from both sides of the aisle to put environmental protection and energy innovation policies at the forefront of the US public policy agenda. In this capacity, Kevin works with a variety of NGOs in the political “Bridging” space and environmental sectors including Living Room Conversations, All Sides Media, Bridge Alliance, and numerous conservation groups. EarthX is the world’s largest Earth Day gathering and is now supported by a new media platform, EarthxTV. We are supporting EarthX 2022 which is comprised of a public Expo, a series of thought leadership conferences, a film festival and digital extensions on the TV platform.
We support Oak View Group as they develop Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, seeking forward-thinking brands that want to participate in this sustainability-themed new sports and entertainment venue. We’re thrilled to have facilitated the revolutionary partnership with Impossible Foods that will place their products throughout the menus and marketplaces of the Seattle-based, Amazon-led arena. Impossible is the first plant based “Official Burger” of a major U.S. sports venue. We are still seeking additional sustainability-oriented partners for the OVG arena network.
We’re a conduit for brands to engage with the broad sustainability ecosystem that’s working feverishly to address the causes of climate change, the effect of which has never been more evident than in recent months. For brands interested in supporting various high impact properties, including MLB’s Players for the Planet and the Green Collective (Green Wave/US Green Chamber/CA Green Business Network), we’re in a unique position to manifest meaningful partnerships.
At the time of the Covid shutdown, we were active with multiple projects, most notably managing the strategic partnership effort for the Grounded Summit, which was unfortunately cancelled though well-positioned for success with a unique group of sustainable sponsors.
Over the course of a couple of years, we developed one of the most innovative naming rights partnerships for the Blue Shield of California Theater, on behalf of client Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.
PG&E Sustainability and Community Partnerships
Starting in 2008, Kevin led sponsorship development and management for PG&E Community Relations for 12 years, with a focus on driving sustainability programs. This included driving greening and community engagement activity with the San Francisco Giants , Golden State Warriors, Outside Lands Music Festival, Exploratorium, California Academy of Sciences, Mill Valley Film Festival and California State Fair among many other properties.
We started the last decade with some major accomplishments - with the Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary, and Sonoma Raceway’s innovative Accelerating Sustainable Performance program. The success of these programs led to our involvement with the SF Super Bowl 50 Host Committee, America’s Cup Host Committee and the San Francisco Mayor’s Office as Kevin became the go-to sponsorship consultant in the San Francisco Bay Area.
In the 2000’s, we were ramping up Sponsorship Strategies while innovating with collaborators. We started the decade serving as partner lead for the Internet Home Alliance, a precursor to the Internet of Things led by Cisco, General Motors, Sears, Panasonic and Best Buy. We ramped up our sustainability work with West Coast Green, a pioneering event for the sustainable built environment, and by supporting Whole Life Expo and the Green Festival. We also consulted NASA Ames on sponsorship for their STEM education programs and visitors center and helped Wells Fargo make investments in community theater via naming rights partnerships.
Social Alliance Marketing
Concurrent with the above work, a partnership with fellow social impact marketer Jeff Klein led to the formation of Social Alliance Marketing. Kevin and Jeff worked closely with organizations as diverse as the Esalen Institute, the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Global Giving and National Geographic, for which they developed a cross-platform cultural education program. Jeff went on to start the movement with Whole Foods founder John Mackey before passing away far too young. Jeff’s vision, commitment to doing good and unwavering ethics continues to influence Kevin’s approach to work today.
The Wilkinson Group
Going back to the 1990’s, Kevin started his consulting career starting and leading The Wilkinson Group with partner David Wilkinson. In addition to developing seminal naming rights partnerships for the Giants’ Pacific Bell Park and the Save Mart Center at Fresno State, Kevin led early greening programs with Clorox and the Brita and Glad brands. He then played a key role designing and producing Cisco Systems NetAid, a series of streamed concerts in support of UNDP programs that were led by Bono and Quincy Jones. Among many other client adventures during this period, Kevin consulted Major League Baseball on experiential programs and the Vatican on corporate sponsorship for a global music tour by Pope John Paul II.
The San Francisco leg of Kevin’s journey started with sponsorship management and regatta production at Pier 39 where he developed and produced the Citibank Cup sailing series which helped drive interest in bringing America’s Cup races to the San Francisco Bay.