McKinney and Associates

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
McKinney & Associates
McKinney & Associates Public Relations Logo.jpg
Location Washington, DC

McKinney & Associates Public Relations (McKPR) was founded in 1990 with a commitment to practicing "public relations with a conscience." For the past 22 years, McKPR has become the go-to firm for advocacy, philanthropic and government clients, including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., Amnesty International USA and United States Department of Agriculture.[1]


The firm was co-founded in 1990 by Gwen McKinney and Leila McDowell as McKinney & McDowell Associates, making it the first woman and African American-owned strategic communication firm in Washington, DC.[2] Today, Gwen McKinney solely leads McKinney & Associates.

From the beginning, McKPR has passionately and skillfully practiced "Public Relations with a Conscience" for local, national and international organizations involved in public policy and social advocacy. The McKinney team has a diverse background in public relations, journalism, marketing, strategic planning, crisis communications, grassroots advocacy and digital media. The firm specializes in delivering messaging to diverse and underrepresented populations, including African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans and women.

Past and current clients include: [3]


Amnesty International, "Ban the Belt" Campaign. Amnesty had released a report on stun technology (Electroshock weapons) a few years before the 1999 USA Campaign that generated scant public attention. At the heart of the issue was the stun belt, increasingly becoming a tool of choice by the criminal justice system. Because of the temptation for abuse and misuse of this weapon, Amnesty viewed the stun belt as a tool of torture. Building upon the relationship with Muhammad Ali, Amnesty seized the opportunity to win a celebrity endorser to assist in a public call to ban the use of the stun belt. A poster (for world-wide distribution) and an ad were prepared for the New York Times. This was accompanied by a public service announcement and a video news release which, guided by McKinney & Associates provided a new wave of media coverage for the USA Campaign.[4]

NAACP, "Stand for Freedom" Campaign. The NAACP approached McKinney & Associates in 2011 to help launch the Stand for Freedom campaign. The centerpiece for the launch was a rally at the United Nations on December 10, marking International Human Rights Day, and the release of a report documenting the vote blocking tactics of opponents. Working in close collaboration with NAACP senior leadership and communications staff, McKinney employed a multi-tiered strategy to support NAACP’s goal to mobilize one million new voters. The campaign launch was an ambitious six-week sprint that involved envisioning a communications strategy, devising a multi-faceted message platform, generating media attention, producing communication collateral, and crafting a final report with qualitative and quantitative assessments on project outcomes.[5]

PBS: Unnatural Causes ... Is Inequality Making Us Sick? The award-winning PBS series Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick? was produced and distributed in 2008 by California Newsreel. Newsreel approached McKPR with a need to popularize the concepts in the series and to expand the public engagement beyond the relatively small and well-informed PBS audience. The firm led a team of communications consultants to rollout a six-month campaign that included messaging, collateral development and intensive publicity to support the PBS broadcast. McKPR was instrumental in shepherding relationships with Newsreel partners and stakeholders, and the firm helped plan and execute several screenings and panel discussions.[6]


Gwen McKinney, daughter of former Pennsylvania State Senator Paul McKinney, was a nationally syndicated reporter for the Philadelphia Tribune and the press secretary for Eleanor Holmes Norton during her 1990 campaign for United States Congress.[7] Some of McKPR's earliest projects included work with the anti-apartheid movement and promotion of the then new South African government under President Nelson Mandela, National Rainbow Coalition, National Organization for Women and the governments of Haiti, Angola and Namibia.[8]


  1. ^ The Washington Post, "PR firm for social causes tells its story with a book", March 18, 2012
  2. ^ The Philadelphia Tribune, August 22, 2010
  3. ^
  4. ^ McKPR Case Study: Amnesty International
  5. ^ McKPR Case Study: Stand for Freedom
  6. ^ McKPR Case Study: Unnatural Causes
  7. ^ The Washington Post, June 23, 1994
  8. ^ Washington Business Journal, July–August 1994, volume 13, number 15

External links[edit]