How My Nonprofit Client Transformed Tragedy to Triumph

My goal is always to gain a better understanding of my clients. What are they all about? Which marketing and public relations initiatives would be most beneficial? In short, I make a point of getting to know the brand and its objectives before launching any type of campaign.

Sometimes I do this by accident. Let me explain. Many of my clients grew out of relationships or referrals from my past life as a reporter. At the time, I had not envisioned helping to shape their organization with my writing or PR expertise. That simply came as a happy accident.

When I launched my business in 2014, the Edward Taylor Coombs Foundation was one of my first clients. At an informal gathering in March 2014, the father of the late Edward Coombs told me that since I had supported his family, they would support me and my new venture.

Edward Coombs was a 2010 Hatboro-Horsham HS graduate.

I never had the pleasure of meeting Edward “Eddie” Coombs. Instead, I only saw photos of the lacrosse standout and young man described by many as having a winning smile that lit up every room.

I posthumously met Eddie on the morning of August 6, 2011, when Horsham Police shared news of his death with the local press. His tragic death was not only an insurmountable loss for his family, but the entire Horsham community. Mourners held candlelight vigils throughout Eddie’s hometown, while friends dropped off mementos on the front lawn of the vehicle crash site.

A standing-room-only gathering of mourners filed into church to remember and honor Eddie, while the overflow crowd watched the funeral on TVs in the lobby. Through their colorful stories and anecdotes, I began to become acquainted with the young man I had never met in person.

Soon after Eddie’s service, court hearings followed for the man charged in his death. In my role as a community reporter and editor, I attended the court proceedings and reported updates throughout the process. I bit my lip to keep from crying as Eddie’s father embraced me and tearfully shared how the loss of his son continued to weigh on him. The young man who had shown so much promise and a bright future was now only a memory.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I was building a relationship with the Coombs family. They knew they could trust me for honest reporting, and over time, friendship.

In the fall of 2011, Eddie’s parents and sister launched the Edward Taylor Coombs Foundation. Almost immediately, the Foundation began giving back to the community that Eddie had known and loved. I reported on a donation to Hatboro-Horsham School District for the purchase of a new scoreboard at Hatters Stadium.

As its primary mission, the Foundation set out to provide scholarships to student scholars and athletes.

Since 2014, I have handled the Foundation’s public relations, email marketing and website content creation. In that time, I have seen the organization grow exponentially in terms of events, outreach, fundraising initiatives, as well as a shift from Hatboro-Horsham-only scholarships to a nationwide approach for submissions.

Fast forward to 2021. The Edward Taylor Coombs Foundation is rounding the corner on a full decade as a nonprofit organization. In less than 10 years’ time, the organization has successfully awarded more than $600,000 in scholarships. No small feat, especially for a new organization with a mostly Philadelphia-area following.

What began as a legacy for the young man with the winning smile has led to numerous wins for student scholars and athletes who have benefitted from the generosity of the Edward Taylor Coombs Foundation.

To learn more about the Edward Taylor Coombs Foundation or to contribute, click here. For more information about how Katalinas Communications can help your business reach its goals, email Theresa or call 215-519-8833.


Leave a Reply

Show sharing options
Hide sharing options
Katalinas Communications Newsletter
Get the latest content first.
100% Privacy. We don't spam.