Thank you for supporting the PRSA Hardship Fund. Through your donations we were able to renew four PRSA memberships.

PRSA Orlando Hardship Fund

A Message From Our President – January 2021

Stefanie Macfarlane, APRHappy 2021! It’s finally here! Every New Year is filled with anticipation and hope, but never in recent memory has a year held so much expectation and promise. There certainly is a lot of pressure on 2021 to be a great year. And then, six days into it, we watched with horror as rioters assaulted the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to delegitimize the election of the President and Vice President of the United States.

PRSA 2021 Chair Michelle Olson, APR reminds us that there is strength in our unity and in a letter to members, encouraged us to “join together to help restore faith in our democracy, and continue to model the importance of behaving civilly, peacefully and ethically.” She also reminds us that as communicators, our profession is built on the pillars of timely, accurate and truthful information. We must continue to serve as “steady voices at a time of great imbalance.”

Despite the upsetting scenes and attack on our democracy, there is a sense of hope and unity in bringing civil discourse back into the forefront. I am reminded of a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. who said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

With much uncertainty on the horizon, there is also hope and a sense of relief that at least vaccines are being distributed and that, as we move into 2021, we will see progress toward ending the pandemic and economic recovery. We also begin our year with the announcement of PRSA’s new Chief Executive Officer–Linda Thomas Brooks. We can all look forward to her leadership and vision.

As we continue down the path of uncertainty, PRSA Orlando is committed to providing insightful programs and networking opportunities that will inspire and guide you along the way. We aim to be your spark of creativity and to light the way to your success. We plan to offer virtual programs through June, and will look to offer hybrid and in-person events, as feasible, later in the year. We also will continue to hold less formal opportunities for networking and idea sharing.

We are thrilled to be the host chapter for PRSA ICON 2021 October 17-20 at the Marriott Orlando World Center. The host chapter committee is coming together and, if you want to help us create an amazing conference, please reach out to our Host Committee Chair Jamie Floer, APR, CPRC.

Our first program of the year couldn’t be more timely: “Free Speech and the First Amendment: Can They Really Say That?” on Thursday, January 21. Be sure to register today! In February, we will celebrate Black History Month and are thrilled to offer a meaningful program focused on Unconscious Bias on Thursday, February 18.

As we face 2021, do so with brave hearts and a willingness to be a spark that lights the way.

Stay bright!

Stefanie Macfarlane, APR
PRSA Orlando Regional Chapter President

PRSA Orlando 2021 Hardship Fund

Thanks to the generous support of our donors at the PRSA Gives Back Virtual Holiday Mixer, we were able to reinstate/renew four members! We have enough remaining in the PRSA Orlando Hardship Fund to renew/reinstate two additional members. We have reopened the application through Friday, February 12, 2021.

The PRSA Orlando Regional Chapter recognizes that some members of the PR and communications industry have experienced great hardships due to COVID-19. We believe it is important for people who may have experienced job loss or other hardships to have opportunities to still network and connect professionally.

All applicants and recipients will be kept confidential. 

Two Options to Apply:

  • PRSA National offers a financial hardship plan for members who meet certain qualifications (a member of PRSA for a total of three or more years and is unemployed or temporarily disabled). This plan reduces your membership rate to $130 (from $260). PRSA Orlando Regional chapter dues are $50. If you qualify and wish to be considered for the PRSA Orlando Hardship Reinstatement Plan, please complete and send the PRSA National financial hardship plan form AND the PRSA Orlando Hardship Fund Application to Wendy J. Roundtree, APR by Friday, February 12.
  • If you do not meet the National financial hardship plan qualifications, but your membership has lapsed and you cannot renew due to unemployment or budget cuts in response to COVID-19, complete the 2021 PRSA Orlando Hardship Fund Application and submit for consideration to Wendy J. Roundtree, APR by Friday, February 12.

To qualify for the PRSA Orlando Hardship Fund, you must:

  1. Be a previous PRSA Orlando Regional Chapter member for at least one year;
  2. Have dropped your membership from March 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020 or cannot afford to renew (if you are up for renewal in January or February 2021); and
  3. Demonstrate a hardship and financial need due to COVID-19.

Special consideration will be given to those who were active members of the Orlando chapter and who wish to volunteer for the chapter. The funds (national and chapter dues) will be dispersed to PRSA National directly from the Orlando Regional Chapter.

Qualified applicants should download the application form and submit completed form to Wendy  J. Roundtree, APR, at wendyjroundtree@gmail.com by Friday, February 12. Applications will be verified.Applications must be received no later than February 12 and will be reviewed independently by another chapter to determine allocation of the funds. You will be notified within two weeks of the decision.

Click here to download the 2021 PRSA Orlando Hardship Fund Application.

About PRSA Orlando

The Orlando Regional Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA Orlando) welcomes you. We are committed to providing quality professional development and networking for our members and anyone in the communications field.

We are diverse, come from a variety of industries, and are in various stages of our careers. Whether you’re looking to expand your horizons, change directions, or build new relationships, PRSA Orlando can play an integral role.

From our monthly chapter programs and events to conferences and resources available from the Florida-based Sunshine District and PRSA National, there are endless opportunities waiting for you.