FPREF Makes a Difference

Since 2000, FPREF has invested $79,595 in the professional development and education of PR professionals and

future practitioners, including:

  • $17,625 in Accreditation support
  • $1,900 in Certification support (started in 2020)
  • $39,000 in student scholarships
  • $5,970 in Annual Conference scholarships
  • $2,350 in CN Symposium scholarships
  • $10,000 in LeadershipFPRA tuition scholarships
  • $2,750 in webinar professional development programming

The Florida Public Relations Education Foundation (FPREF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, charitable organization dedicated to the advancement of the public relations profession within the state of Florida.

The major areas or focus include:

Don't just take it from us...

  • I didn’t really understand how the Foundation could benefit me as a professional, until I found myself in a situation to take advantage of the rebate. Like so many, I came to this profession with a background in journalism and had no training in public relations. It was very much baptism by fire. Preparing for the APR – including the Study Sessions, texts and the all-important Readiness Review Questionnaire – was an extremely valuable learning experience. The year I sat for my APR, I was working as a consultant – this was in the wake of the Great Recession – so I was very thankful for the Foundation’s rebate. That, coupled with my chapter’s rebate, reimbursed half of my out-of-pocket expense, for which I remain grateful. The assistance I received, when I needed it most, was priceless. Without it, I’m not sure if I could have moved forward as I have in my career and with the Association. Because of that, I am forever grateful and will be a lifelong supporter.

    Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC
    Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC Communications Manager/CareerSource Citrus, Levy, Marion—Ocala Chapter
  • I took the APRP exam (pre-Universal Accreditation) in 1996 and received a $100 rebate from the Foundation when I passed the exam. The real benefit of taking the exam was the studying process that lead up to the exam. It solidified my understanding of good, ethical public relations practices and the importance of a well-written PR plan (RPIE). I appreciate the Foundation providing this opportunity to me so I could realize the value of the APR.

    Karen Smittle, APR, CPRC
    Karen Smittle, APR, CPRC Client Deliverables Manager/CH2M—Gainesville Chapter
  • It was in 2000 that I decided to sit for my APR to further my professional development. What I assumed would be a laborious venture, turned out to be a turning point in my career. Although I was tired after work, I found myself truly looking forward to the weekly study sessions. My chapter’s APR coaches were enthusiastic. I enjoyed making new PR friends and loved the stimulating conversations. I was delving into my textbook. But, little did I realize, I was actually falling back “in love” again with PR. Sadly, I never knew I had fallen out of love. But this was the spark that lit my fire again. I started going to more FPRA meetings. I joined my chapter board and quickly moved up into leadership. Serving as chapter president was the most rewarding experience for me as I was able to hone my leadership skills at a higher and more pointed rate that I had done at the time with my own job. Once I became involved with FPRA at the state level, serving on the state board, state committees and the executive committee, I became even more enthused about my career and field of choice. At that level, I was able to actively participate and make a difference in my field and in the lives and communities I serve.

    It is also important to note that I was able to participate in FPRA’s APR Rebate program, which it provides its members seeking the accreditation designation. Yet another of many ways FPRA invests in its members. Thank you FPRA for investing in me! #MyFPRA

    Lanette Hart, APR, CPRC
    Lanette Hart, APR, CPRC Principal /Hart & Associates LLC—Jacksonville Chapter
  • I am fortunate to have benefited from a conference scholarship, APR rebate and award benefit. Each “benefit” was earned at a different time in my career for a different reason. Without the conference scholarship, I would not have understood the full scope and value of accreditation. Without the APR rebate, it would have been difficult to pay for the testing that eventually led to an award benefit as a Joe Curley Rising Leader.

    Next on the list is giving back to the Foundation so others can experience the same career growth!

    Amy McLaughlin, APR, CPRC
    Amy McLaughlin, APR, CPRC Director, Marketing & Communication/Seven Rivers Regional Medical Center—Nature Coast Chapter
  • Receiving the student scholarship in 2014 served as both an honor and a validation of the time I invested into my college career. The members of FPRA could not have been more welcoming to my family as we intended the awards ceremony. I spent the first two years post-graduation teaching at the local high school of which I am an alumnus. Now, I am the marketing assistant at a regional accounting firm, which has allowed me to put into practice the things I learned as a public relations major at the University of West Florida.

    Zachary Tyler Farrington
    Zachary Tyler Farrington Marketing Assistant/Saltmarsh, Cleaveland & Gund—Pensacola Chapter
  • While early on I was aware of the Foundation’s existence, serving on the State Board as a chapter president gave me a clear picture of the importance of this arm of FPRA to members’ professional development by enabling them to attend conference and pursue accreditation and certification. It was when I committed to advancing myself professionally that I realized how critical the Foundation was to our beloved FPRA. (Now excuse me while I go write a check!)

    Ginny Cooper
    Ginny Cooper President/The Cooper Group—Southwest Florida
  • I was not familiar with the Foundation scholarship program until I was launching my business and had very limited resources. Roger Pynn shared this opportunity and encouraged me to apply for a scholarship that was offered in the past to attend the Counselors Network next session in Tampa. With his urging, I completed the application and was honored to be selected to attend the Counselors Network that year. After the program, I pursued CPRC credentials as they were going to be required to maintain membership in Counselors Network. Earning these credentials allowed me to focus on areas where I was not as strong such as public affairs. By building knowledge and understanding of other types of public relations programs, I grew into a well-rounded practitioner and was better able to lead my organization and provide expert advice to my clients.

    Tracy Louthain, APR, CPRC
    Tracy Louthain, APR, CPRC Principal/Tracy Louthain Communications (TLC-PR)—Northwest Florida Coast
  • Taking the APR and CPRC exams was very important to me as a professional.  I wanted to challenge myself and grow as a PR practitioner to earn these invaluable credentials.  Receiving the generous rebate from the FPRA Education Foundation was a blessing and also a thoughtful reward for my hard work. Through networking with fellow professionals and committing to a lifelong journey of professional development, I am able to continually adapt to the changing landscape of our field.  I have the FPRE Foundation to thank for their support and generosity on this journey!

    Jennifer Trefelner, APR, CPRC
    Jennifer Trefelner, APR, CPRC Director of Institutional Advancement/John Carroll High School—Treasure Coast
  • In the past, the FPREF has supported me both through a rebate for my APR exam fees and through a scholarship to CN Winter Symposium. When I took my APR exam, I was with an organization that did not pay for the fees, so knowing the rebate was available was helpful in my decision to pursue my APR credential. I feel that having the APR has helped me as I have moved through my career. This support was greatly appreciated.

    Jennifer Moss, APR, CPRC
    Jennifer Moss, APR, CPRC Director of Communications/Silverstein Institute—Central West Coast Chapter
  • It was such an honor to be recognized at state conference as a "Rising Leader." Our organization was facing budget cuts at the time so the money that I was awarded enabled me to attend annual conference the following year.  When I received the "Rising Leader" award in 2012, I was working for Watson Clinic as the Website and Special Events Coordinator. Since then, I have been promoted twice and am now the Public Relations & Communications Manager. I served as president of our local FPRA chapter in 2012-2013, completed the Leadership Bartow Program in 2014-2016 and I'm currently a member of the Leadership Polk Program. FPRA has been extremely beneficial for me, and has helped with my successes throughout my career. My goal is to work towards earning my accreditation in the next couple of years.

    Jenny Baker
    Jenny Baker Public Relations & Communications Manager/Watson Clinic LLP—Dick Pope/Polk County Chapter
  • Having the support and confidence of my public relations peers and senior FPRA members is a true honor. It was a complete surprise to be awarded the Joe Curley Rising Leader Award at Annual Conference. I was proud to represent my chapter and take home the trophy, and $500 cash! With my boss’s and chapter leaderships’ encouragement, I applied for the award. Conversations with my boss about the award also created an opportunity for us to discuss the company’s investment in me, my professional growth and my involvement in FPRA. Negotiations went very well after becoming a member of the Rising Leader Class of 2013.  After receiving the award I became more committed to taking on leadership roles and participating in my chapter’s leadership track.

    Tessa Friederichs
    Tessa Friederichs Marketing Coordinator/Carr, Riggs & Ingram—Space Coast Chapter
  • I was honored to receive the 2015 Joe Curley Rising Leader Award and to be recognized by my peers for chapter leadership. The money awarded went towards my application for APR accreditation. I was later reminded about the APR rebate by a colleague and applied that money to help pay for my expenses at state conference. I’m grateful to the Foundation for recognizing my efforts and for investing in my professional development. In turn, I now volunteer on the board of the Foundation, and encourage members to take advantage of its benefits while also giving back to others.

    Rebecca (Crisafulli) Emery, APR
    Rebecca (Crisafulli) Emery, APR Vice President of Public Relations & Digital Marketing/McBride Marketing Group—Space Coast Chapter


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