Business Magazine

Designing a Grant for Good: Pivotal Productions

Posted on the 19 October 2011 by Blab

By Liz Morris, B Lab Validation Intern

Every two years, 20% of B Corporations are randomly selected for an on-site review. This component of the B Corp Certification is critical in maintaining the authenticity of the Certified B Corp Seal. This summer, our team of validation interns visited over 30 B Corporations to review and verify the accuracy of each company’s B Impact Assessments. Here, Liz Morris shares her experience at Pivotal Productions.

This summer, I had the chance to review some great companies as a summer assurance associate for B Lab.  All of them deserve a blog post, but I had to pick one and when I heard what Shannon Downey, CEO of Pivotal Production was doing for charitable giving, I knew I found the one to write about.  Pivotal Productions is a certified B-Corporation since 2008 and has been a champion for B-Corps in Chicago.  Pivotal Production is a full service event design, planning and production company. Their team creates and executes the exciting, edgy, innovative and fun celebrations that are environmentally and socially responsible.  In 2010 they launched a program called Grant for Good in cooperation with other like-minded companies in the Chicago area.

Shannon was overwhelmed with requests from non-profits for help for sustainable event planning and marketing.  She wanted to help them by donating her time, but she needed to use her time to make money too.  It is a company, after all.

While out with friends from Firebelly Design, Shannon had a brainstorm.  Why don’t Firebelly Designs and Pivotal Production join forces and offer a grant, a grant for good, to non-profits to provide their services for one year.  The idea grew from there, IshootRockstars, Morten Group, One Tree Forest Films, P.K. Wheeler Communications, and Salsedo Printing all joined and offered their services.  A website,, was launched and applications were sent in pretty quickly.  The services provided include: organizational development and strategy, branding, design, web development, marketing, photography, video, event production, social media planning, copywriting and printing.

Chicago Women’s Health Center was chosen as the inaugural recipient of the grant for good.  The grant began in early January, 2011.  Every member of the team is providing their services to the Health Center.  Pivotal Production is providing event strategy, planning, and production and social media strategy and development.  The year’s worth of work is culminating on November 10, at a formal fundraising gala for the Chicago Women’s Health Center.  If you are in the Chicago area, you should attend.

Tickets are available at

Applications for 2012 will be out soon…

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