This week, The Fearey Group is celebrating the founding of the Public Relations Global Network (PRGN), the world’s fourth largest network of independent public relations firms. Twenty years ago The Fearey Group, along with several other original founding members, formed the network.
This year, 41 member agencies from around the globe are commemorating the PRGN’s 20th anniversary with a year-long series of events, including the underwriting and building of a house for an impoverished family in Cape Town, South Africa.
Partnering with the Niall Mellon Township Trust, PRGN members from around the world will gather in Cape Town on April 18 to complete and present “The PRGN House” to a needy family. The build will occur the day before the Network’s semi-annual business meeting begins. The Network’s 41 member agencies have pledged more than $7,000 and will volunteer their “handyman services” for a day in order to present a township family with a new home.
“When we considered how to mark our 20th anniversary, our members were unanimous in wanting to create something of lasting value,” said Francine Robbens, president of the Network and head of PRP in Brussels. “What better way to give back than to donate our time and talent in the city in which we have chosen to celebrate our anniversary.” The Niall Mellon Township Trust is a house-building charity started by Irish philanthropist Niall Mellon. While on a visit to South Africa, he was so moved by the poverty he saw that he used his own funds to establish the charity.
Also this week, PRGN members begin a three-day business meeting in Cape Town. The Network will be addressed by Premier Helen Zille, leader of the opposition party; Ferial Haffajee, Editor of the City Press, one of South Africa’s major newspapers; and Tim Hughes, managing director of ReadDillon International.
PRGN was formed in 1992 when Edelman Public Relations decided to disband its affiliate network. Some of those affiliates chose to continue their partnership by forming a new organization. Started in Phoenix, Ariz., the group adopted the name The Phoenix Network, as a nod to its rebirth from the ashes of a disbanded group and the city of its founding.
When the Network reached its 10-year mark in 2002, it began recruiting members internationally and changed its name to the Public Relations Global Network to better reflect the strategic growth of the Network.
Five of the original founding member agencies – HMA Public Relations (Phoenix), Stevens Strategic Communications, Inc. (Cleveland), Buchanan Public Relations LLC (Philadelphia), The Fearey Group (Seattle) and DVL Public Relations & Advertising (Nashville) – still remain active in the organization.
The mission of the Network is to serve as a resource to one another, openly sharing knowledge and contacts, in order to promote best practices and to provide global support for clients. PRGN has 41 member public relations firms in 80 markets, each independently owned and operated. This week’s meeting is being hosted by HWB Communications in Cape Town.