CALN Paren⁠t⁠ Group Named F⁠i⁠nal⁠i⁠s⁠t⁠ For SPN Commun⁠i⁠ca⁠t⁠⁠i⁠ons Excellence Award

July 2, 2024

Kayla Maloney

CALN Project Manager

We are thrilled to offer a HUGE Congratulations to our parent group and close friends, the Palmetto Promise Institute (PPI)! Out of 63 applicants, they have been selected as one of three finalists for the State Policy Network’s (SPN) national Communications Excellence: Expanding Your Audience Award! 

PPI is being recognized on a national scale for their excellent work in spreading the word about South Carolina’s Education Savings Accounts. PPI has done the heavy lifting with their marketing strategy and impressive application, but now it’s our turn to put in the work. Winners are determined by a public vote, so they need your vote to win the award! 

The window to vote closes on July 9. Please cast yours today! 

Voting will take less than a minute. There are three categories of finalists, and to vote for PPI, you have to cast a vote in the other two categories as well. You can read about each of the other finalists here

Here is what SPN wrote about PPI’s ESA project: 

Palmetto Promise Institute: Reaching New Audiences to Drive ESA Applications in South Carolina  

After seven years of hard legislative work, Palmetto Promise Institute led South Carolina’s first Education Savings Account program to the finish line. But Palmetto needed to get the word out about this program, which meant reaching South Carolinians outside their normal sphere of influence. 

The intended beneficiaries of this program were among the most vulnerable in their state. These families are often those with the least access to information, knowledge and technology necessary to take advantage of this opportunity that they desperately need. So, the Institute undertook an extensive outreach campaign to expand their reach to South Carolina’s low-income families and encourage applications to the Education Scholarship Trust Fund (ESTF) program. They built a one-stop-shop website for information about ESTF——where they answered FAQs and provided resources on ESAs. 

Using a curated audience list targeted based on income level, having school-aged children, and proximity to private schools (roughly 100,000 households), Palmetto reached out through a variety of methods: digital ads, Facebook ads, mail pieces, emails, and text messages. Each household in that database received information from Palmetto through several different avenues. Palmetto targeted South Carolina’s African American community, Hispanic community, faith community, and single mothers.   

The final number of ESTF applications far exceeded their expectations. For only 5,000 scholarship spots, 7,907 applications were submitted within just 60 days. These applicants represented every county in the state, and a decisive majority self-identified as racial minorities, showing that their campaigns to racial minority groups in particular was successful.