CauseConnect® LLC is a marketing consulting firm specializing in projects and events for the arts, education, environment, and community. With its guiding principle of “doing business by doing good,” over the years, the firm has designed and managed strategic community partnerships for major corporations, small businesses, nonprofits, community organizations, and creative professionals (artists, collectors, performers, art advocates) to create meaningful partnerships. Founded in 1999, CauseConnect began by providing unprecedented networking opportunities for corporate and nonprofit professionals responsible for sponsorship, cause marketing, and corporate giving. Growing demand especially after 9/11 in 2001 evolved into the CauseConnect of today.
CauseConnect maintains a roster of qualified individuals who possess expertise in a variety of areas from the corporate and nonprofit sectors. This allows us to provide clients with an array of services that integrate doing business by doing good.
Melissa Richardson Banks is known for producing successful corporate-nonprofit partnerships tied to cause marketing. Since 1989, she has raised over $45 million and provided professional services to numerous companies, charities, and celebrities, including City National Bank, Toyota Financial Services, Target Corporation, Cheech Marin, Melrose Trading Post, Los Angeles Education Partnership, Plaza de la Raza Cultural Center for the Arts & Education, and many more.
Previously, she worked for the Library Foundation of Los Angeles where she successfully started an inaugural corporate partnership program in support of the Los Angeles Public Library. She also launched a major exhibitions program at Central Library, resulting in almost 30 major gallery shows for which she managed project teams, raised funding, and provided professional services such as sponsorship, marketing, community outreach, special events, volunteer engagement, contract negotiation, and budget management. She formerly worked at the Autry National Center where she launched an integrated marketing/sponsorship program to support exhibitions, festivals, and other cultural events; and at Texas A&M University where she managed an international executive education program as well as administered and funded programs affiliated with statewide business-school partnerships. Prior to the nonprofit arena, she worked in corporate sales, marketing, and Hispanic market research. She holds a B.A. in journalism and communication studies from Texas State University and a master’s degree (and Ph.D. coursework) in educational administration with an emphasis on business and finance from Texas A&M University.
Associated with CauseConnect since 2011, Edgar Varela is an independent cultural producer specializing in art, music, and cultural happenings with an emphasis on brand-driven events and event production. Art events produced by Varela include several with Art Weekend LA, which connected local art galleries with national art fairs; The Analog Salon art series sponsored by Epson in Culver City; and Phantom Galleries, which revitalizes and energizes communities and pedestrian thoroughfares by transforming unoccupied properties into art venues. Music events produced by Varela include the Homage concert series featuring artists such as Roy Ayers, Peter Rock, Robert Glasper Experiment, Quantic, Thundercat, Alice Russell, and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble; World Music Series featuring acts such as Jeremy Sole and his Musaics, Very Be Careful, La Santa Cecilia, Las Cafeteras, Buyepongo, Mr. Vallenato, Maleco Collective, and Mucho Music. As a music consultant, he has programmed the stages and managed production for numerous large-scale events such as BloomfestLA (2009-2012) Target Feria de la Familia (2012-2013), and Downtown Dark Nights at L.A. LIVE (August 2014 to present). From 2006-2013, he owned and operated EVFA, a fine art gallery specializing in contemporary American art based in Downtown Los Angeles. Prior to working in the arts, he was a commercial real estate analyst for seven years.
Associated with CauseConnect since 2006, Julie L. Rasmussen of A Little Birdy Told Me specializes in building and engaging online communities on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for restaurants, galleries, nonprofit organizations, art and music festivals, event venues, yoga studios, and more. Clients, past and present, include Flore Vegan, Four Café, Gobi Mongolian, Le Pink Co. Apothecary, Lifefood Organic, Melrose Trading Post, Pazzo Gelato, Sonny’s Hideaway, Yogala Echo Park, and Xperiment USA. Originally from San Diego, Julie studied dance, art, photography, and theater, moving to Los Angeles in 1993 to pursue her dreams. After working for ten years as a producer of independent films, in 2004, she transitioned her love of promoting all things creative and good into her consulting practice.