The Fresh Faces Project is a nonprofit initiative started in 2014, by then 18-year-old Calynn M. Lawrence. What began as a nonprofit branch of her blog where she interviewed her former classmates, coworkers, friends, and families about their talents, businesses, and dreams, turned into an acclaimed media venture that has assisted over 800 individuals and brands to date! Now owned by the Calynn Communications & Creative corporation, The Fresh Faces Project has received lots of praise in the press from media giants like Wall Street Publication, New York Today, The Washington Mail, The Los Angeles Tribune, Yahoo! Finance, and more, as well as 17 national and international awards including 4 RCCI Academy Awards, 4 Virtual Visionary Awards, the National Best Creative Arts Organization, the International Community Service Leadership Award, and the National Humanitarian Award! It was even called “a Legion of Potential Legends” in The London Defender.
What has this organization done to amass such success? Over the course of 9+ years, they’ve offered a variety of free and majorly discounted marketing & PR services and opportunities for up-and-coming small business owners, creatives and performers, public figures, community activists, and micro-philanthropists. Some of these included being featured in their 2017 documentary that garnered tens of thousands of views, having their stories told on their 5-star rated video podcast “Chicago Talent TV” which has had 3 successful seasons, receiving cash stipends or supplies donations for students, and small businesses during numerous giveaways throughout the years, and getting an interview published for little or nothing to one of their partnered media outlets or publications owned by their parent company such as The Fresh Faces Project blog, What’s Good Weekly, Millionaires in the Making, Icons in the Now and The World Times.
Most famously, they are known for their annual awards ceremony that honors rising entrepreneurs, public figures, and creatives for their contributions to the world. Having hosted the ceremony for 5 years, they’ve honored nearly 200 people at their events with no sponsors, entry fees, ticket sales, or nomination fees in order to eliminate budget-related issues for honorees, making nominations solely about celebrating each person’s accomplishments and not about fundraising or breaking profits. This set them apart from nearly every other industry awards event! The ceremony is 100% self-funded by the Calynn Communications & Creative corporation.
Among their offerings were Royal Ambassadorship (a pageant-like program for women looking to represent the initiative year-round through service), Lifetime Achievement Awards for vetted industry leaders who also showed continued support for The Fresh Faces Project, as well as Innovator Awards for people who were shaking things up in their fields. Some notable past honor ees include Mrs. International 2021 – Yolanda Stennett, retired school nursing leader Dr. Leretha Thomas, Hollywood actor Andre Bellos, popular dystopian/post-apocalyptic author, Marcus Richardson, and many more!
Going forward, Founder – Calynn M. Lawrence has released a statement announcing new changes to The Fresh Faces Project’s offerings and setup. The first is that 2024 will host the final Fresh Faces Project Awards ceremony after several years of upholding the tradition of producing the annual event. This is because the initiative will be moving towards more of a foundation model, where they will use their resources and manpower to focus on providing financial assistance to their target demographic in the form of small business donations, nonprofit sponsorship, and scholarships. They will no longer be a direct service provider outside of maintaining their video podcast “Chicago Talent TV” and the Fresh Faces Project blog, keeping those as free opportunities for brands and individuals to tell their stories without the cost burden of traditional PR media placement and marketing packages.
This difficult decision came at the head of many compromising factors that their Founder, Calynn, had to consider when finding the intersection of maximum impact and minimal lift on both her and her beloved team of supporters and volunteers. With the new changes coming soon, she is very confident that shifting towards this model will allow the initiative to continue spreading positivity and providing support and acknowledgment to their target demographic, reach new audiences and further their charitable investments while allowing her and her team more time and energy to pursue other passions and life commitments.
We look forward to seeing more of the amazing work that The Fresh Faces Project will continue to do with their nonprofit initiative now and in the future! To learn more, visit www.freshfacesproject.org