Date: August 20, 2003
Jack Lucas, vice president of Spokane, Wash.-based Tickets West, brings forth his personal causes including his work with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America. But it doesn't stop there. “I just started making a list [of charities with which he and Tickets West works] and God, it was a long list,” Lucas said with a laugh about the amount of charity work in which Tickets West is involved.
“I am personally involved in the community, as I get involved in Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America. Our company ends up sponsoring some of the events for those organizations,” said Lucas, who is also vice president for Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America in the state of Washington.
Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America teams adults with children to “discover a world of possibilities and opportunities simply by being a genuine friend,” according to its official Web site.
Tickets West also offers nonprofit arts group reduced fees and trade services such as sponsorship and advertising, he said. This year, Tickets West began “Team Red,” a program in which employees spend one to two days on different community projects.
“We may take our employees in one region and have them work on a Habitat for Humanity hour for two days. Or we'll take our employees in one region and work at the zoo or a shelter or a food kitchen,” Lucas said. “That's been a real successful program.” “One of our key philosophies within our company is to be real philanthropic within the regions where we do business. I do it in my personal life and I embellish that same type of philosophy.” Lucas is looking forward to building Team Red into a quarterly project.
He works feverishly with charities. He also serves as president of the Lilac Blind Foundation, which provides training for independent living for people who are blind or have low vision in counties surrounding Spokane. Lucas is involved with the U.S. Air Force Honorary Commander program. It works to tie different businesses to a nearby Air Force base so the “community understands what the military is trying to achieve. That's why they call it the Honorary Commander program.”
“I'm also involved in youth sports. It was important for me to bring that over to the company. Our company has had a history of being very philanthropic so it's an easy transition. We all feel good about it after spending a day working on a project.”
Youths are the key to Ticketmaster's Tickets for Kids campaign, which was founded in 1994 in Atlanta, Ga., said Marissa Parker, national Tickets for Kids project lead. Tickets for Kids honors children in 27 states for their honorable work – ranging from achieving good grades to participating in an afterschool program – by inviting them to live events. Most of the Tickets for Kids programs are run through the mayors' offices of the respective cities.
“There are a lot of people who have never gone to a live sporting event or family event. This is a good way for Ticketmaster to be involved philanthropically,” Parker said.
“The majority of the tickets that are donated are family-type events such as the circus, sporting events, live music events, concerts and cultural arts and entertainment events. The organizations that approach us are expansive. There are religious organizations, organizations like Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America. There's so many different types of organizations that call us to award their children.”
The program works as follows: Ticketmaster clients give tickets to local Ticketmaster representatives to be used in their Tickets for Kids programs. When an organization calls Ticketmaster for a ticket request, they must submit a formal request for tickets explaining what type of community outreach has been performed by their youths. Ticketmaster then gives tickets to these organizations.
Clear Channel in Atlanta donates tickets to its Broadway series at the Fox Theatre to Tickets for Kids. “'Broadway in Atlanta' is continually looking for ways to give back to the community that has been so supportive of us,” said Stephanie Parker, general manager, Clear Channel in Atlanta.
“Tickets for Kids is the perfect avenue for this, allowing our community's future to see live theater to enhance their education. We appreciate Tickets for Kids commitment to education and commitment to allowing kids opportunities to go to places they may not have gone.”
Recently, Ticketmaster teamed up with the city of Atlanta to host Tickets for Kids, a milk and cookies reception for children from Camp Best Friends. More than 100 children listened to a Dragon Tales story told by Mayor Shirley Franklin at Philips Arena. Starbucks served as a sponsor.
Tickets for Kids donates tickets in 44 cities in 27 states. Parker is looking forward to expanding that number. The majority of the events are in the southeast, where the program was founded and Ticketmaster's strongest region.
“In 2002, we donated about 64,000 tickets valued at $650,000. Ultimately, we'd like to go to about 80,000 tickets per year at $1 million (value). There's a lot of growth potential in the program. There's need in giving on both ends. Our expansion is a five- to seven-year plan. We're continuously tracking our progress,” she said.
Parker said it's been gratifying to see the reactions of children, most of whom are seeing their first live event.
“It's amazing. It's really gratifying to see. It's a true community effort. The mayors read to children; clients like Smucker's Stars on Ice will come out. The kids get to come to the show. It's very, very exciting. It's great for the local Ticketmaster markets.”
Interviewed for this story were: Jack Lucas, (509) 459-6106; Marissa Parker, (310) 360-2453; Stephanie Parker, general manager, Clear Channel, (404) 876-4300