June 18, 2010
Cash, Savings of (PR) Seminar More than Doubles
By Jack O'Dwyer
Cash/savings of Public Relations Seminar (the name used in the Form 990 IRS return, PDF), jumped 218% to $374,306 as of Aug. 31, 2009.
PR Seminar continues to be the legal name of the group although Seminar chair Jon Iwata of IBM announced in 2008 that "PR" was being dropped from the title.
Johanna Schneider of the Business Roundtable was chair of the 2010 meeting at the Ritz-Carlton at Dove Mountain, Ariz., June 2-5.
The 990 of the group says it is "devoted to the improvement of professionalism and business conditions in the area of public relations."
In claiming non-profit 501/c/6 status, it further says it provides "fresh, provocative insights" on various trends and facilitates the exchange of ideas "to better meet the public relations needs of the Seminarians, corporations or clients."
It also "fosters the acquaintanceship of leading public relations practitioners who are advancing enlightened public relations and practice in the business sector."
"Officers" in fiscal 2008 are listed as Charlotte Otto, chairperson, formerly of Procter & Gamble; Schneider, program chair, Business Roundtable, and Joan Wainwright, secretary/treasurer, Tyco Electronics.
The group’s 990 was obtained through GuideStar, a paid-for source of information on non-profits, since it was not available on the Foundation Center's Form 990 Finder, a free source.
No explanation is available for the sudden jump in funds of the group, since it does not talk to the press.
All proceedings, lists of members and other information are considered confidential. The only publicly-available data on the group is in the 990, a mandatory filing.
Income of the group in the year to Aug. 31, 2009 was $541,238 and expenses were $284,900, a profit of $256,338.
Net assets at year's end were $374,306.
Income of $566,589 in the previous year was broken out as $395,589 in Seminar revenue and $171,000 in "Seminar sponsorships." There is no such break-out in the most recent filing.
"Executive members of Public Relations Seminar often donate additional funds to defray the Seminar's cost," says Form 990.
"Sponsors" in 2010 are Corning, IBM, Lockheed Martin and Business Roundtable.
"Patrons" are Barrick Gold Corp.; Yahoo; PepsiCo; Procter & Gamble, Union Bank/Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Johnson & Johnson, Mars, Sempra Energy, American Express and Tyco.
Nineteen other "program sponsors" are listed in the 2010 program.
"Professional fees and other payments to independent contractors," which are apparently fees to speakers, totaled $117,000 in the year to Aug. 31, 2009.
News Organizations Listed
News organizations whose executives or editors have addressed (PR) Seminar in recent years include (alphabetical order):
ABC News, John Stossel, Sam Donaldson
Bloomberg, Michael Bloomberg, Dan Doctoroff, president
BusinessWeek, Stephen Shepard when editor-in-chief
CBS News, Bob Schieffer
CNN, William Schneider, political columnist
Economist, Matthew Bishop, U.S. editor; Adrian Wooldridge, D.C. bureau chief
Financial Times, John Hunt, Lionel Barber, U.S. managing editor
Fortune, John Huey, editor-in-chief; Stanley Bing (alias Gil Schwartz of CBS PR)
National Public Radio, Matt Thomas, editorial products mgr.
NBC-TV, Tom Brokaw, special correspondent; Campbell Brown, “The Today Show”
New York Times, John Geddes, then-financial editor
ProPublica, Amanda Michel, editor of Distributed (citizen) Reporting
Reuters, Simon Walker
U.S. News & World Report, Marvin Stone, editor
Wall Street Journal, Paul Steiger when managing editor; Peter Kann when president and publisher; Robert Bartley, editor emeritus; Alan Murray, executive editor, WSJ Online (2009 speaker)
Washington Post, Bill Raspberry
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