January 13, 2017 - Alexandria, VA:
We all know the Six Degrees of Separation game. Choose a seemingly random person and in six connections or less, link them to another person. The game has evolved to a version where players connect actors to Kevin Bacon based on film appearances. In 2007, Kevin Bacon brought life to the game when he founded the 501(c)(3) charity SixDegrees.org. Using the same principles of connection as the game, the organization aims to network charities with celebrities.
Based out of Alexandria, VA, the SixDegrees.org mission is simple: social networking with social consciousness. SixDegrees.org connects celebrities with causes to turbocharge the efforts on a grassroots level. The hope of the organization is to utilize celebrities’ existing social media platforms and fan base to give exposure to charity organizations that are doing good work in their communities. Organizations benefiting from SixDegrees.org networking have ranged from homelessness awareness advocacy groups to LGBQT rights groups to children’s education groups and more. Efforts of SixDegrees.org have spanned the country from coast-to-coast and include an array of exciting celebrity drop-ins in addition to appearances by Kevin. The woman behind the scenes, networking, organizing, and coordinating these unplanned and unexpected celebrity appearances is Arlington, VA resident, Stacy Bradford.
Admittedly, I was a slightly intimidated to interview Stacy who boasts more than 500 LinkedIn connections, serves on the Board of Directors for numerous organizations, and whose skills include marketing, business development, and cold-calling. What could a number crunching engineer like me and this superstar business woman have in common?
We both wear Toms. You know the shoe company- buy a pair, give a pair. Our common ground started at the shoes on our feet. She’s met her match working with the non-profit and as kitschy as it might be she confessed, “[That working with SixDegree.org] feels like I am home.” Speaking with Stacy I gleaned that her job with SixDegrees.org is not as much work as it is a lifestyle. She understands that the little choices people make can have a colossal impact on the world- be it buying shoes from a company with corporate social responsibility, or having a big name celebrity tweet a photo of a local charity event they attended.
A self-proclaimed “professional networker”, Stacy is the live-wire electrifying SixDegrees.org and creating sparks of interest between celebrities and charity organizations. She has a heart for cultivating relationships and reaches out to agents and publicists to make connections on behalf of SixDegrees.org. Specific star-studded connections Stacy has fostered include a cancer support group drop-in from BET’s The Game star, Brittany Daniel, and a School on WheelsSkid Row visit by comedian, Ron Funches. Both drop-ins brought positive press to the organizations.
The benefits of leveraging a celebrity’s existing social media campaign to elevate the efforts of a charity organization aren’t necessarily quantifiable. The kind of marketing and exposure brought to charity organizations that happens through the SixDegrees.org network isn’t a neat data point to help meet required metrics. But, sharing those charity causes with fan bases of tens of thousands of people certainly can’t hurt. In the case of SixDegrees.org, the synergy of celebrities and charities has proven to help time and time again. This imminent upshot is probably why, when queried about her advice to people wanting to do well in business and good in their communities, Stacy passionately advised, “Answer doors and walk through them.” To create paths for networking and change, people have to unequivocally say, “Yes!” to meeting new people and experiencing new opportunities. I’m glad I said yes to speaking with Stacy.
Summarizing the 2017 goals for SixDegrees.org is easy: do more good. The organization hopes to gain more funding through grants and donors and spread more kindness through giving. By increasing donations to the organization, SixDegrees.org hopes to connect more celebrities with charities to help more people.
So, how does Elizabeth Ann Kline connect to Kevin Bacon? Doing good. As a RE/MAX agent in the Burke-Springfield area, Elizabeth is a partner with Children’s Miracle Network in addition to being an advocate for numerous other organizations in her community; it’s that easy. How will you do good to connect yourself to Kevin Bacon this year?