Karen Spiro’s extensive experience in marketing, public relations, special events, corporate sponsorship and fundraising has been tapped by many nonprofit organizations as well as corporate clients. After many years working in the Philadelphia region, she has moved west to Silicon Valley, both as a personal adventure and a professional challenge.
Combining her skills in public relations and event production, Spiro founded EVENTures in 1993 in order to help nonprofit and corporate organizations plan, market and fundraise through a variety of events and programs. Her particular interest in alliances between the profit and nonprofit sectors led Spiro to study sponsorship analytics and valuation with IEG, the global authority on sponsorship. She uncovers and negotiates the best partnerships between companies and nonprofits to further their causes for mutual benefit. “I love the challenge of finding common ground for nonprofits and their industry partners” says Spiro. “What seems impossible to some is a day at work to me.”
Karen Spiro took a great leap of faith to move from the East Coast to California to begin a new chapter of her life. Over 25 years, Spiro grew two B2B consulting businesses, one in the field of special events and fundraising, the other in fine arts. Concurrently, she focused on building relationships with nonprofit organizations and their industry partners. With the experience and wisdom acquired over more than two decades, Spiro is an asset to organizations seeking to focus on their brand in a strategic way that augments their own important work. She is able to bring key stories to life and into practice by using all dimensions available.
Until her move, Spiro was managing industry relations and sponsorships for a diverse roster of nonprofit clients. Spiro brought her expertise, customer service and problem-solving abilities to the game. Because of her expertise, Spiro was invited to speak at the American Academy of Dermatology on “Philanthropy vs. Sponsorship.”
Spiro has worked at two of Philadelphia’s most-beloved cultural institutions that both celebrated landmark birthdays. The Philadelphia Zoo celebrated 150 years as America’s First Zoo. The nearly three year project required conceiving a plan; finding consensus between disparate groups — employees, volunteers and donors—and executing the multi-layered Sesquicentennial program. Along the way, Spiro was charged with developing fundraisers for the Zoo: Zoobilee, a grown-up walk through the acreage, and the Conservation Gala to raise funds for species protection.
The second institution is the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia who, while celebrating their 200th birthday, became part of Drexel University. Spiro was tasked to keep the Bicentennial on track while others in leadership worked through the details of the merger. She planned a nostalgic 19th-Century themed Bicentennial Celebration that reached the 21st-Century with a spectacular laser and light show projected on the museum’s facade. Other elements of the year included a symposium on biodiversity; site-specific art installations; a celebration of Women in Natural Sciences (WINS) — a STEM mentoring program for young women; and creating a new fundraiser for the museum, Cuisine from the Collections, which paired curators and chefs to create unusual fare.
EVENTures was Spiro’s successful sponsorship/special event/marketing/public relations firm. EVENTures produced all types of events, specializing on fundraising events for non-profits. She is praised and well-respected for her work which is characterized as “cutting-edge and creative,” as well as “financially successful.”
The Beaux Arts Ball for the Foundation for Architecture was one of Spiro’s signature events. Held around Halloween, the huge (4,000+) event celebrated architecture and was held in a notable, nearly-finished construction project. Another client, the Philadelphia Music Alliance, celebrated homegrown musicians, composers and producers by placing an honorary plaque in the sidewalk on Broad Street, the city’s major North:South thoroughfare. The Walk of Fame Day was a complicated event with many moving parts: press conference, gala dinner and an awards show production with performances by the honorees.
In her hometown, she was actively involved in the campaign and administration of two former Philadelphia mayors: Edward Rendell and Michael Nutter. Spiro also committed to causes by serving on the boards of the Maternity Care Coalition and the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia. Within the next year, Karen will offer assistance to nonprofit boards in the Bay Area.
Spiro has a diversified background which makes her adaptable to many organizations. She studied art history at New York University and crafts at the Philadelphia College of Art, now a school of the University of the Arts. She holds a degree in nursing from Community College of Philadelphia. In her spare time, Spiro manages her art consulting firm, Primarily Portraits, that specializes in matching portrait subjects and artists in a congenial atmosphere.