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PPA Charities Gifts Dream Studio & Raises Thousands at Imaging USA - PPA Today

PPA Charities Gifts Dream Studio & Raises Thousands at Imaging USA


By John Owens

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Amidst all the classes, tradeshow deals, football, parties and networking at Imaging USA was a healthy dose of charitable giving. PPA Charities, the philanthropic arm of PPA, flexed their veritable muscle as donations rolled in through a series of events and a certain special drawing.

Events included the PPA Charities "Boots and Bling" Celebration, which featured a silent and live auction. On day one, more than 100 attendees braved the Nashville cold for the first ever PPA Charities 5K Fun Run. And things culminated on the last day with PPA Charities' Dream Studio Giveaway, where one lucky winner walked away with a life-changing prize.

Imaging USA attendees were clearly feeling generous. "Boots and Bling" raised over $25,000, with the aid of a massive photo book donated by 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award winner Peter Lik, M.Photog. Valued at $4,500, the limited edition piece auctioned for $7,000 alone. The Sunday morning 5K raised an additional $7,000+ and Tuesday's Dream Studio Giveaway brought in massive ticket sales right up until the drawing, totaling a whopping $50,000. 

The Be More ethos spread itself across the event. Degree recipients took portraits with PPA President Susan Michal and for a $25 donation to PPA Charities they gained the digital file for use in their studio marketing, bringing in another $2,000. One speaker, Dan Rowe, even passed a bag around during his program, starting things off with his own donation. This resulted in another $1,000+. PPA Charities also helped facilitate the collection of shoes during the convention for Dando Amor, a charity run by PPA photographers Travis Gugelman and Lori Nordstrom.

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The giving paid great dividends to the organizations PPA Charities supports. In 2015, PPA Charities presented a $60,000 check to Operation Smile, $25,000 to Dando Amor, and 15, $400 scholarships to PPA Affiliate schools across the country. Other funds are dispersed throughout the year as the Trustees see fit.

But one lucky photographer, Jim Hoover, of West Bloomington, Michigan, took home the ultimate prize--the PPA Charities Dream Studio.

"This is opening up a whole new opportunity for me," said Hoover, two weeks after the win. "I don't have a studio; this is giving me the incentive to carve something out of the house to create one. Now I'll have something to be proud of when clients come in."

The Dream Studio Giveaway idea was proposed in early 2013. The thought was to raffle away everything one could want to own. With the help of Jamie Hayes of Hayes and Fisk Photography, who chaired the event, over $30,000 in gear and product were collected though the donations of generous vendors and suppliers.

Hoover bought his tickets for the drawing after winning a bid at Saturday night's auction--a 1-on-1 mentoring session with photographer Barbara Breitsameter.

"PPA Charities does such wonderful work," he said. "That's why I had no trouble donating and bidding for the mentoring session."

Shortly before the end of the tradeshow, the drawing brought quite a buzz around the booth. "I was walking by with somebody else and saw the crowd gathering for the drawing and thought well, let's stop and see who wins."

It's a good thing he did. When PPA Charities Trustee David Grupa read his name, Hoover threw his hands into the air and walked through the cheering crowd in extreme shock. As you can see from the video, he was rather speechless.

The Dream Studio Giveaway will help Hoover keep a promise he'd forgotten: "Before going to Imaging USA I had put on my website 'studio sessions coming Spring 2015', so it's good timing, as I can now do that and more!" said Hoover, with a laugh. "Having an in-home studio was always in the plans but we didn't really have the space or means to do it. Before, if I had to shoot indoors I would just set up in the living room then break it down when we finished." Hoover's new studio will go in a walkout basement.

"This is going to supplement my business model," he said. "Especially around this time of year when it's -2 degrees with a -35 wind chill in Michigan. I can now offer in-studio sessions, which I hadn't felt comfortable enough to offer them regularly before."

Plans are already underway for the PPA Charities 2016 Dream Studio Giveaway. Who knows, maybe next year's winner could be you! Go to to see the many ways you can Be More Involved this year.

PHOTO CREDITS:  Randy Taylor


John Owens is PPA's resident wordsmith. Know how they say a picture is worth a thousand words? That's where he comes in. The Connecticut transplant and (still) avid Hartford Whalers fan is an aspiring adventurist/novelist/racer on a lifelong quest to find the best trails, brews and burgers.

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This page contains a single entry by Professional Photographers of America (PPA) published on February 23, 2015 9:02 PM.

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