Jul 5 2012

Joanne Taylor PR: Instant Sale poses a threat but works great


You might want to keep a tighter grip on your handheld devices, especially the latest models. eBay’s Instant Sale is offering fast cash for cell phones, iPads, Nooks, and portable PlayStations, few questions asked. Shipping is paid for, via a printable FedEx label. This could be rather enticing to car thieves, pick pockets, and the like. So, careful about the distance between you and your precious.

If you want to offload a device, Instant Sale works great. I just sold my old, but fully functional, iPhone 3G. It’s been sitting around the house for more than a year so the $52 I got for it, which may seem low compared to what I would have been offered had I sold it myself on eBay, was a bonus. The process was quick and painless, and the money was deposited in my PayPal account within a few days.

Easy. Maybe too easy.


Feb 23 2012

Joanne Taylor of Boise writes grant to train and help employ Shoshone-Paiute tribe members


Joanne Taylor of Boise: Federal grant applications aren’t so bad. Especially when you consider the number of people you could help, and the impact on a community when the government funnels $5 or $6 million into it.

I’ve been working on a “Workforce Innovation Fund” application for the Employment & Training Administration of the Dept. of Labor. The lead applicant is the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of the Duck Valley Indian Reservation. The idea behind our grant proposal is to reduce dependence on government assistance programs by providing tribal members access to workforce training programs that are proven to result in jobs and long-term employment prospects.

Our approach is a cure to lasting unemployment and poverty, rather than a band aid. And, it addresses the needs of the local construction industry, currently challenged by a lack of trained, skilled workers.

The training will be conducted by the Heavy Equipment Operator School of Idaho (HEOSI) and will consist of two programs: Heavy Equipment Operator and I-CAN (International-Construction Academy Networks) training. Both programs offer industry-recognized certification, and boast a 99% graduation rate.

We hope to put 200 tribal members through HEOSI training programs and, eventually, to work. This would have a significant impact on a segment of population currently dealing with a 47%+ unemployment rate. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Nov 12 2011

Burlington Free Press Sets the Stage for Comment Moderation


Finally. In a blog post a few days ago, David Farr, the “Online Director” (love that title) at the Burlington Free Press, proclaimed that the .com version would no longer accept comments from anonymous readers. While some are claiming violation of free speech, I say good riddance.

If you care to comment, identify yourself

In an earlier, related post at Joanne Taylor PR, I said that those who remain anonymous do so because they lack the courage to show themselves or identify who they really are. They complain about the world’s ills, about the way people are doing their jobs, about government injustice. They make false accusations, and speak hurtful untruths. Yet, they have no solutions or meaningful suggestions.

News editors have for too long given faceless people a platform. I hope Burlington Free Press’ move to moderate comments is the start of what’s to come from other news outlets.

Oct 31 2011

Joanne Taylor of Boise: Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz Makes Sense


Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is fresh-minded.Well-spoken, too. At Joanne Taylor PR in Boise, there’s been lots of talk about what needs to be done to fix the mess our “great nation” is in. The real thinkers, though, and those that we should have turned to long ago are successful business leaders–Chairmen and CEO’s of some of the world’s biggest businesses. One in particular has made me take note. It’s Schultz.

He’s been in the news a lot lately, speaking loud and clear about his loss of faith in the federal government’s ability to, as he was recently quoted saying in Newsweek, “reverse the fear and uncertainty currently plaguing our country.”

In the Newsweek article referenced above, Schultz says he’s been able to pursuade more than 100 top executives to take a pledge to cease political donations and instead use the money to continue to invest in strategic, collaborative moves to accelerate job growth.  This, I think, will have an impact, and might get the attention of some…. if not politicians, those who contribute to politicians.

Sep 12 2011

Joanne Taylor of Boise: Why allow comments to go unchecked?


Joanne Taylor of Boise takes on rogue commentators and those who give them license to operate.

People who have nothing to do, no originality, and no ability to think and express themselves rationally can be found online, lurking in the comment section of your local newspaper.

Most of them are faceless because they lack the courage to show themselves or identify who they really are. They complain about the world’s ills, about the way people are doing their jobs, about government injustice. They make false accusations, and speak hurtful untruths. Yet, they have no solutions or meaningful suggestions. Most likely, they rarely even leave the house.

So why is it that we and, worse yet, online news editors allow them to persist? It’s not that difficult to monitor comments and filter them out. News sources that view themselves as credible, and want others to do the same, should either monitor their comment sections or turn them off.

Aug 19 2011

Joanne Taylor of Boise writes winning grant for Cynthia Mann Elementary School


Joanne Taylor of Boise comments on most recent grant win:

I wouldn’t want to get in the habit of writing about every grant I win, but I’m really excited about the most recent one. Maybe it’s because the grant funds will benefit the school that my daughters attend. Or, perhaps it’s because I wrote the grant as a volunteer, and there’s something satisfying about doing something just for the sake of doing it, and affecting change, even if in a small way.

Feeling frustrated and wanting to do something to help Boise schools in the wake of budget and staff cuts, not to mention rash legislation that serves private interests, I volunteered to write a few grants for Cynthia Mann Elementary School.

I have always been impressed with the teachers, staff and principal at Cynthia Mann, and have often thought about what the place would be like without them, should their jobs be eliminated or they decide to seek a new career. How would other kids acquire the love for reading and math that my girls acquired without first grade teacher Wendy Leadbetter? How would they discover that learning can be fun and teachers can sometimes be silly without Tina Kambitsch? How would they learn that at school, like everywhere else, kindness and respect towards others is essential?

Those thoughts led me to action. I asked some of the teachers at Cynthia Mann what they needed most in order to continue to progress and/or keep up with current teaching methods.  Interactive whiteboards were mentioned most often. I worked with Cynthia Mann PTA President Amy Stahl and Principal Rick Bollman to complete two grants in hopes of raising enough money to cover the costs for 5 whiteboards, 5 wireless adapters, and installation fees.  Total amount needed: $9,836.80.

We were awarded $4,836.80 from Boise Public Schools Education Foundation and are waiting on word from Micron on an additional $4,000.  Cynthia Mann’s PTA helped out, raising $1,200. In addition, the school received two used whiteboards from the Boise School District—all-in-all, a fantastic return on our efforts, thanks to teamwork and determination.

We made a difference. A small difference, but it’s a start. Please think today about what you might be able to do to help kids, teachers and staff at public schools.

“Most students enjoy interacting, manipulating, and working with the whiteboard. It is quite impressive to see reluctant learners, who have previously been hesitant to interact during class discussions, are now more excited to “come to the board” and share their results, style of learning, or process in which the solved the answer.”

-Kimberly Amburn, 5th Grade Teacher at Cynthia Mann and interactive whiteboard user


May 9 2011

Joanne Taylor of Boise is Development Manager at Children’s Home Society


Joanne Taylor of Boise has taken her grant writing skills, mixed them with 20+ years of experience in marketing and PR, and taken on the role of development manager at Children’s Home Society of Idaho. The Children’s Home provides emotional and behavioral health counseling and therapy to children, and the families that care for them, regardless of ability to pay. As development manager, I am responsible for grant writing, fundraising, and community relations.

The Children’s Home used to be the state orphanage. One of the first projects I got involved in, way before I actually started working at the home, is the historic preservation of the Children’s Home adoption records. An in-depth story about this appeared in the Idaho Statesman today. Click here for more. Since the story was published, I’ve received several notes from people who want to help, donate money, or retrieve their adoption records.

Silver locket left at Children's Home Society in the early 1900s for "Baby Johnson." Photo taken by Darin Oswald at the Idaho Statesman.

I can’t say I haven’t loved the work I’ve done as a PR and marketing person in the for-profit world, because I have. But this work, and those who are affected by it, have changed my path forever more.

Mar 14 2011

Boise-based Joanne Taylor PR to donate $3,500 worth of BSU merchandise


What do you do when a friend calls from Vegas and says he has six large boxes full of Boise State merchandise left over from the Maaco Bowl and asks you to sell it for him in a place where more people would be interested in buying it–a place like Boise.  Makes sense, right? And easy enough to do. Turns out, though, that not that many people are interested in BSU football gear once the season is over and, in this case, the bowl game is history.

Out of six boxes, I still have four. Great looking, high-quality hats, t-shirts and hoodies. I didn’t want to ship it back and my friend wasn’t too enthused about taking up space in his warehouse. So, I bought it for one lump sum, on behalf of Boise-based Joanne Taylor PR, so I could donate it to a local, youth-based non-profit.

My first thought was the Treasure Valley Boys and Girls club. There didn’t seem to be much interest there, though, and I started to think that it would be better to give it to a group that is less visible but in just as much need. The merchandise, worth about $3,500 at retail, could either be given away to the kids that the non-profit serves or sold to help fund programs.

I’m still working through this so let me know if you have any suggestions…

Feb 21 2011

Boise-based Joanne Taylor PR, writes winning grant for Children’s Home Society


I recently got word that the very first grant I wrote received funding–$25,000 from The Lightfoot Foundation to the Children’s Home Society of Idaho for its Pre-Doctoral Internship Program at the Warm Springs Training Institute.

With this grant, the Lightfoot Foundation makes a significant impact on the ability of the Children’s Home Society to provide valuable, hands-on training to pre-doctoral interns that fosters the development of skills, knowledge, and confidence needed to provide competent and ethical psychological services to children, adolescents, adults, and families. The Children’s Home offers these services to low-income children and the families that care for them regardless of their ability to pay, thus giving hope to people in our community who traditionally have had few choices in obtaining counseling and assessment services due to overwhelming costs.

So, a note of thanks to The Lightfoot Foundation for its dedication to The Children’s Home Society and its unwavering devotion to the well-being of students, children and families in Idaho. It is a privilege to work with organizations like Lightfoot, and the champions of the causes they support.

Joanne Taylor of Boise at a recent Children's Home Society fundraiser, along with another CHS supporter, Mary Anne Pace

Feb 9 2011

Boise-based Joanne Taylor PR weighs in on Tom Luna’s public education reform plan


Auto Tech online?

Below is a copy of a letter Joanne Taylor of Boise (that’s me!) wrote to Idaho legislators that represent District 16.* The letter voices concerns about Tom Luna’s proposed public education reform plan.  Many thoughts and opinions have been expressed about the plan but there might be a few new ones here. Please feel free to comment and, if you feel strongly about this issue, please consider writing to your legislators.

Dear Representative Higgins,

My name is Joanne Taylor. I live in Boise (District 16) and have two children who attend Cynthia Mann Elementary School.

I do not take writing to you lightly. It is the first time I have done so, as I have reserved my voice for a time when needed most.

That time is now.

I am very concerned about the education reform plan Tom Luna has proposed. There are many reasons for my concern, but I will focus on three.

The first is class size. My 4th-grader, a straight-A student this year, has 29 classmates. While she maintains good grades, she, like all the other students in her class, gets very little attention from her teacher. This isn’t because the teacher is not adequate or caring. It’s because there are only so many hours in the day, and just keeping order in a classroom that size is a full-time job. In order to keep up, the teacher arrives early and leaves late–oftentimes, after 7 p.m.

This situation is not uncommon. Before making a vote on the proposed education reform plan, I urge you to sit in on a classroom of this size for one day, so that you can get a clear picture of the dynamics of an over-crowded classroom, and the challenges it presents to the teacher and the students.

My second concern is the provision of laptops to high school students. I ask you to consider whether careful consideration has been given to the cost of maintaining thousands of laptops throughout the state. IT support, a help desk, software upgrades, laptop repairs, losses due to theft and/or damage, virus fixes, and recovery of identify theft should be among the time and costs that are tallied and accounted for in Luna’s plan.

In addition to maintenance and repair costs, questions of possible abuse must be addressed. Porn sites, social media networks, and online dating services are among a host of distractions that unsupervised use of laptops will put at the fingertips of teenagers.

My third concern is lack of motivation on the part of state leaders to find alternative solutions to close the budget gap in order to minimize public education cuts. I’ve heard of two such solutions in the past two weeks–the sale of the empty and costly “Governor’s Mansion,” and privatization of state liquor stores. Both ideas have been rejected.

Another alternative, which there is very little talk of but great need, is the pursuit of federal and private grants. The federal government and private foundations are offering hundreds of grants to help fund public education. Grant funds are used for school programs, curriculum development, professional development for teachers, technology equipment and software, and technological training. One school district in Nevada, the Washoe County School District, raised $63 million dollars last year through the application of grants. If every student does indeed come first, perhaps the state should explore how it might work with Idaho school districts to develop a strategic plan to apply for and win federal and private grants.

As a Representative for District 16, please take into account these concerns, as well as others voiced by your constituents.

Thank you,

Joanne Taylor, Boise

*District 16 legislators are Les Bock, Grant Burgoyne and Elfreda Higgins.