Bess Cohn Humanitarian Award - Danny Rosin

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Danny RosinBy his own admission, Danny Rosin was, in his youth, a hurricane-force hellraiser. "As a kid, I had more demerits in my high school than anyone else in the history of the institution," he says.

Due to the voluminous amount of time he spent in detention to atone for his antics, he and some friends – one of whom was Robert Fiveash, his business partner and co-owner of Brand Fuel (asi/145025) – started the Happy Club, which morphed into a group that raised money to buy Christmas gifts for underprivileged families. "We would hide behind the bushes and watch the kids' faces as they found presents on their front steps," Rosin says. "The feeling was indescribable, and I knew right then I wanted to do more of that. We went from being the neighborhood delinquents to making the concept of 'community service' mean 'doing good for our neighbors.'"

Fast-forward 20 years to 9/11. Rosin and a group of friends had an act-now instinct to get involved and decided to help first responders the best way they knew how – through their love of music – by putting on an ad hoc festival. "Music, to me, is like breathing," Rosin says. "So the idea was to use live music as a platform to bring people together to do good."

That year, Rosin's group – Band Together – raised $60,000. "The group raised 43% compounded annual growth over the last five years, which, during tough economic times, is just awesome," Rosin says.

This year's Band Together music festival, which attracted approximately 4,500 spectators, raised nearly $900,000 for the Tammy Lynn Center, which helps adults and children with developmental disabilities. In all, since Rosin started Band Together, over $3 million has been raised for assorted charities.

But Rosin at his core is a marketer, and what interests him at the moment is the concept of philanthropy as the future of marketing. "Maybe it's idealistic, but imagine using your marketing budget for something good and then ending up with something more, which is the genesis of a term we coined called 'Brand Good,'" he says. "What does that mean for distributors and suppliers and our clients? You can build a Habitat for Humanity house with your customers, really get to know them and show them how to create a campaign around that for their employees, around wellness and to build morale in the workplace."

Putting his money where his mouth is, Rosin and Fiveash give Brand Fuel employees PTO for any community service they do. "We say that we're the organizational equivalent of a mullet haircut – business in the front, party in the back," Rosin says, laughing. "So what that means is we're an organization that's very serious about our company, but also about raising money for causes, which we do in a fun way. And if people in our industry look at me and see that you can run a business and also be involved with giving back, all the better. I'm not a figurehead; I'm doing it." – MB