By any measure of success, The PM Group has become an industry leader in San Antonio’s marketing community. The company is San Antonio’s largest ad agency ranked by gross advertising revenues, by the San Antonio Business Journal. The PM Group’s 24 staff members can also claim another little-known
measure of success. Over the past six years The PM Group has raised both directly and indirectly more than $3.5 million, donated directly to nonprofit organizations and other charities in San Antonio.
The PM Group’s legacy of giving stretches across its 30 years of operations. Founder and CEO Bob Wills traces his interest in philanthropy to his childhood growing up in Springfield, Mass., when he became acutely aware of his parents’ challenges to provide for him and his siblings. After moving to Texas in 1978, Wills worked in business operations until he decided to launch the ad agency in 1988. Since then, The PM Group has organized annual events on behalf of charitable nonprofit organizations in San Antonio supporting at-risk children, education, family and health services, first responders and pet rescue.
“We’ve always had a strong philanthropic focus at The PM Group,” Wills said. “The last six or seven years have been particularly exciting for us because we have seen a steady rise in the amounts we’ve raised.”
The PM Group’s largest annual fundraiser started small but has since grown into one of San Antonio’s top three charitable fundraising events. The Kings and Queens of Good Hearts Fun-Raiser was held in February, and this single event raised over $523,829 for 14 different nonprofit organizations. The agency raised $350,000 in 2017, up from $250,000 in 2016 and $175,000 in 2015. For its 20th anniversary in 2008, The PM Agency raised $100,000 for local nonprofits, according to Wills.
“Many of these charities are small and can’t organize something like this fundraiser on their own,” said The PM Group’s president and chief operating officer, Fran Yanity. “What we do that is different is organize and host high-quality events that raise funds for direct donation to charities.”
Wills’ wife, Peggy, also helps, working with representatives from each charity as they sell sponsorships to the annual event and procure silent auction items. Each charity gets to keep proceeds from the sponsorship tables and silent auction items sold for the fundraiser. Any extra general fund proceeds are also distributed to the participating charities.
In 1996, Bob Wills founded the nonprofit SA YES, which helps Title 1 elementary schools in San Antonio each year by supplying every student with basic school supplies. In 2017, SA YES distributed over 26,000 school supply kits to students in 40 schools across San Antonio.
“We’re the largest distributor of free school supplies for Title I public elementary schools in South Texas,”
said SA YES executive director Danielle Gunter. “We don’t collect from the public, and we distribute the supplies to the schools directly, providing students about $20 in basic supplies.”
The nonprofit SA YES has extremely low overhead costs since its two full-time employees office within The PM Group’s building space, thus saving on rent, office utilities and phone service. The PM Group also underwrites creative services for the education nonprofit. With ambitious stretch goals of servicing more Title 1 schools in San Antonio and expanding services to Title 1 schools in Austin and Corpus Christi, The PM Group’s support allows SA YES to reach those goals sooner to help more families.
“For many families it’s the difference between choosing to spend money on groceries or school supplies, so we enable families to make the choices that support their needs best,” Gunter said.
The Kings and Queens of Good Hearts Fun-Raiser is not the only large-scale philanthropic event The PM Group
organizes annually. The SA YES Golf Classic will take place May 21 at the Club at Sonterra, with the Taste of Education fundraising dinner May 20 also benefiting SA YES. The Texas Hold ‘Em tournament June 2 will raise funds for San Antonio Sports, the American Heart Association and UTSA Roadrunner Athletic Fund. The PM Group also contributes to other philanthropic events, such as the 2018 Heart Ball benefiting the American
“We have been blessed with the business and our success,” Wills said. “We take what we’ve earned and give it
back to the community. It’s not a handout. What we hope to offer is a hand up.”
By Iris Gonzalez