For many people, charitable work is done off the clock. But for Mitch Kelly of Mayer, a sponsorship marketing and consulting business, it's a round-the-clock profession.
"We have an incredible environment in the Twin Cities where the arts thrive, so we think it's important to celebrate that," Kelly says.
Mayer's signature events, such as Monday's Ivey Awards celebrating Twin Cities theater, the Minneapolis Mosaic and the One Man Project, are all about celebrating altruistic causes as well as the arts -- and its movers and shakers.
"We take event-based ideas and bring them to a reality," Kelly says. The company -- which counts Kelly and owner Scott Mayer as the sole employees -- conceives and produces all of its events.
"We're a small agency, so it's everything from concept through execution," Kelly says, explaining his multi-dimensional role as art director, designer and producer. "Mostly, I create marketing campaigns for our projects and then go market them. I love seeing a project/idea/marketing campaign from concept to completion."
Kelly, 29, had the philanthropic bug as far back as high school. He recalls producing the "Student Choice Awards" while on the student council -- "I think there was some foreshadowing there, maybe," he laughs. He got his professional start at the international corporate public relations firm Fleishman-Hillard as a designer, and since then has worn many hats -- everything from producing a runway show for Monique Lhuillier to designing media kits for Spam and Jennie-O Turkey.
Kelly first met Scott Mayer while the latter was leasing an office in the same building as Fleishman-Hillard, and the two talked about Mayer's projects. Kelly volunteered for the Iveys the following year, and about a year later was offered a job.
For Kelly, philanthropic work doesn't end with his responsibilities at Mayer. He's volunteered and served on boards for Project 515, District 202, Minnesotans United for All Families and the Hennepin Theatre Trust.
"We have one of the largest numbers of nonprofit organizations, per capita, in the nation," Kelly says. "Volunteering is a great way to foster these organizations and support something you believe in, not to mention meet some really great like-minded people."
Age: 29. Occupation: Art director/designer/producer for Mayer. Hire date: 2005. Education: University of Minnesota Duluth.
When: 7 p.m. Mon. Where: State Theatre, 805 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls. Tickets: $30-$125. www.ivey awards.com.
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