Promise and Hope

Promesa y Esperanza unites the Hispanic community in support of St. Jude

by Leigh Ann Roman

Promise and hope

The incredible success of the Promesa y Esperanza (Promise and Hope) radiothons in the Hispanic community has launched fundraising for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital into the open arms of Latinos throughout the United States.

Promesa y Esperanza has helped build the platform for Hispanic efforts at the national and regional level for ALSAC,” says Evelyn Homs, senior director of multicultural marketing for ALSAC, the fundraising organization for St. Jude.

Promesa began in 1997, with just three participating radio stations. Fifteen years later, 106 radio stations in 65 markets are involved in the Spanish-language fundraiser, which has generated more than $74 million in donations and pledges for the kids of St. Jude.

Univision Radio, the top Spanish radio network in the United States, has partnered with St. Jude for 14 years. “At the core of the Hispanic community is a strong value in families and children,” says Univision Radio President Jose Valle. “The St. Jude mission tugs at the heartstrings of many Hispanics—that no child is ever denied treatment because of a family’s inability to pay.”

“At St. Jude, we take care of the child and family,” Homs adds. “Our mission resonates strongly with this culture.”

ALSAC’s bilingual regional event staff is key to the success of Promesa and other fundraising efforts among Hispanics, Homs says. Thanks to their cultural connections, the staff can leverage their radiothon relationships into Hispanic involvement with other St. Jude fundraisers.

Maria Cardenas Hultine, senior bilingual event marketing representative for ALSAC in Atlanta and a former St. Jude patient, has seen that happen in her region. The Hispanic Clear Channel radio station in Atlanta helped with the St. Jude Give thanks. Walk.™ in November by running on-air promotions, forming a walk team and broadcasting from the event.

Valle also sees the impact of Univision’s radiothon on listeners.

“The response from our listeners has been overwhelming,” he says. “Events such as the galas, triathlons and walkathons have increased in size and fundraising, thanks to the phenomenal name recognition the radiothon has generated for St. Jude.”

Despite the dominance of the Internet in this digital age, radio remains the most valuable medium to access the Hispanic community.

“Radio is still providing information to the community that is hard to get in their own language,” Homs says. “Every time there is a Hispanic event in the community, radio is bringing it to them.”

The Hispanic population nationwide has increased from 35.3 million in 2000 to 50.5 million in 2010, according to the U.S. Census. Hispanic donors make a sizeable contribution to overall ALSAC fundraising, with more than $35 million attributed to 394,005 donors through Hispanic programs for fiscal year 2011, Homs says.

And once Hispanics start giving to St. Jude, they continue. “Our partner stations commit with their hearts,” Hultine says, “and they understand we value their help.”

Promise magazine, Winter 2012

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