For-profit

Burness Communications

Website:

burness.com/

Location:

Bethesda, MD

Formation:

1986

Type:

Public relations consulting

President:

Andrew Burness

Burness Communications is a Maryland-based public relations strategy and communications firm that provides services to many left-of-center clients. Notable Burness clients include the Center for Climate Change Communication, Partners in Health, the Aspen Institute, the International Women’s Health Coalition, Community Catalyst, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, NORC, Changelab Solutions, the Ford Foundation, Alexander Soros, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Duke University. [1]

Burness assists its clients by conducting surveys and focus groups to develop communications and branding strategies. [2] Burness also helps its clients design visual media and digital content. [3] The firm also conducts social media analysis and creates strategies to help clients’ digital content reach their target audiences. [4] Aside from content design, Burness assists clients with influencing media coverage of their issues, including writing op-eds for publication. [5] [6] Finally, Burness helps design communication strategies for their clients to reach lawmakers and sets up meetings between its clients and policymakers. [7]

Leaders at Burness have decades of experience working in Democratic offices and left-of-center causes. Burness Communications has worked with clients to accomplish a wide variety of left-of-center goals, including disseminating environmentalist talking points and getting media coverage for research conducted in opposition to policies proposed by Republican officials. [8]

Founding and Leadership

The leadership team at Burness Communications has decades of experience working in Democratic offices and left-of-center causes.

Andrew “Andy” Burness worked in multiple Democratic and left-of-center organizations before he founded Burness Communications. After graduating from Duke University, he worked for former U.S. Representative Richardson Preyer (D-NC). Burness then worked for the Commission on Medical Ethics under President Jimmy Carter. Burness has also worked for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), a left-of-center grantmaking foundation that has supported increased government involvement in health care. [9] In 1986, he founded Burness Communications. His company has both Duke University and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as clients. [10]

Andy Burness was an early donor to former President Barack Obama, donating to his first presidential campaign in March 2007. [11] Burness has also worked as an adjunct lecturer at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. [12] In 2014, Burness also worked as a fellow at the Bellagio Center of the left-of-center Rockefeller Foundation. [13]

Adam Zimmerman, a vice president at Burness, has been labeled as a “revolving-door” lobbyist. [14] He previously worked in the office of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and then he worked as a lobbyist for NARAL Pro-Choice America before joining Burness. [15]

Abby Manishor, a vice president at Burness, previously worked at the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, an anti-obesity advocacy organization that received funding from RWJF and the Clinton Foundation. [16]

Political Activity

Burness Communications works with clients across the globe, and founder Andy Burness has referred to himself as “more as a citizen of the world than as an American.” [17] Notable Burness clients include the Center for Climate Change Communication, Partners in Health, the Aspen Institute, the International Women’s Health Coalition, Community Catalyst, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, NORC, Changelab Solutions, the Ford Foundation, Alexander Soros, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Duke University. [18]

Burness Communications advises its clients on public relations and how to achieve their public policy goals. Burness conducts surveys and focus groups to develop communications, social media, and branding strategies. [19] In addition to designing strategy, Burness develops social media content, visual media, op-eds, and digital content for its clients. [20] [21] [22] [23] Burness also helps its clients design communication strategies for their clients to reach lawmakers, and Burness arranges meetings between its clients and policymakers. [24]

Burness worked with the Center for Climate Change Communication to disseminate environmentalist talking points through op-eds and through statements to media organizations. [25]

Burness also worked with the National Collaborative on Gun Violence Research (NCGVR) to advertise opportunities for funding for research in issue areas targeted by NCGVR. Burness succeeded in getting NCGVR’s funding opportunities covered by relevant media organizations. [26] [27] [28] [29]

Burness worked with RWJF to develop research and generate media coverage for opposition to changes in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) during the Trump administration. [30] RWJF funded research on the topic, and Burness ensured that media outlets covered it. [31] [32] [33]

References

  1. “Our Clients.” Burness.com. Accessed May 11, 2021. https://burness.com/our-services. ^
  2. “Communications Strategy.” Burness.com. Accessed May 11, 2021. https://burness.com/our-services/communications-strategy. ^
  3. “Creative Strategy, Design and Production.” Burness.com. Accessed May 11, 2021. https://burness.com/our-services/creative-strategy-design-and-production. ^
  4. “Digital Strategy and Engagement.” Burness.com. Accessed May 11, 2021. https://burness.com/our-services/digital-strategy-and-engagement. ^
  5. “Media Relations.” Burness.com. Accessed May 11, 2021. https://burness.com/our-services/media-relations. ^
  6. “Writing.” Burness.com. Accessed May 11, 2021. https://burness.com/our-services/writing. ^
  7. “Policy Communications.” Burness.com. Accessed May 12, 2021. https://burness.com/our-services/policy-communications. ^
  8. “Our Work.” Burness.com. Accessed May 13, 2021. https://burness.com/case-study. ^
  9. Taliento, Matt Miller and Lynn. “Battling childhood obesity in the US: An interview with Robert Wood Johnson’s CEO.” McKinsey & Company. Accessed April 26, 2017. http://www.mckinsey.com/industries/healthcare-systems-and-services/our-insights/battling-childhood-obesity-in-the-us-an-interview-with-robert-wood-johnsons-ceo. ^
  10. Bernhardt, Gordon J. “Communicating Social Change: Andy Burness.” Profiles in Success. July 2015. Accessed May 13, 2021. https://profilesinsuccessbook.com/profile-success/andy-burness/. ^
  11. “Presidential Donor Lookup Results.” OpenSecrets.org. Accessed May 12, 2021. https://www.opensecrets.org/pres08../search.php?cid=ALL&name=&employ=&cycle=2008&state=&zip=20815&amt=a&sort=A&page=16. ^
  12. Burness, Andy. “Going Back to School.” Burness.com. September 6, 2017. Accessed May 11, 2021. https://burness.com/blog/going-back-to-school. ^
  13. “Andy Burness.” Burness.com. Accessed May 11, 2021. https://burness.com/our-people/andy. ^
  14. “Lobbyist Profile: Adam Zimmerman.” OpenSecrets.com. Accessed May 11, 2021. https://www.opensecrets.org/federal-lobbying/lobbyists/summary?id=Y0000028699L. ^
  15. “Adam Zimmerman.” Burness.com. Accessed May 12, 2021. https://burness.com/our-people/adam. ^
  16. “Abby Manishor.” Burness.com. Accessed May 13, 2021. https://burness.com/our-people/abby. ^
  17. Bernhardt, Gordon J. “Communicating Social Change: Andy Burness.” Profiles in Success. July 2015. Accessed May 13, 2021. https://profilesinsuccessbook.com/profile-success/andy-burness/. ^
  18. “Our Services.” Burness.com. Accessed May 11, 2021. https://burness.com/our-services. ^
  19. “Communications Strategy.” Burness.com. Accessed May 11, 2021. https://burness.com/our-services/communications-strategy. ^
  20. “Creative Strategy, Design and Production.” Burness.com. Accessed May 11, 2021. https://burness.com/our-services/creative-strategy-design-and-production. ^
  21. “Digital Strategy and Engagement.” Burness.com. Accessed May 11, 2021. https://burness.com/our-services/digital-strategy-and-engagement. ^
  22. “Media Relations.” Burness.com. Accessed May 11, 2021. https://burness.com/our-services/media-relations. ^
  23. “Writing.” Burness.com. Accessed May 11, 2021. https://burness.com/our-services/writing. ^
  24. “Policy Communications.” Burness.com. Accessed May 12, 2021. https://burness.com/our-services/policy-communications. ^
  25. “Shaping the Narrative on Climate Change.” Burness.com. Accessed May 13, 2021. https://burness.com/case-study/shaping-the-narrative-on-climate-change. ^
  26. “Building an Evidence Base of Gun Violence Research.” Burness.com. Accessed May 13, 2021. https://burness.com/case-study/building-an-evidence-base-of-gun-violence-research. ^
  27. “Feb. 4 deadline to apply for funds to research gun violence.” The St. Louis American. January 3, 2020. Accessed May 13, 2021. http://www.stlamerican.com/news/local_news/feb-deadline-to-apply-for-funds-to-research-gun-violence/article_6185eb16-2e57-11ea-9c8f-1739b81226d7.html. ^
  28. Munz, Michele. “Missouri gets spotlight in nationwide effort to study gun violence prevention.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch. January 8, 2020. Accessed May 13, 2021. https://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/health-med-fit/health/missouri-gets-spotlight-in-nationwide-effort-to-study-gun-violence/article_5411d4c6-5a95-5fe4-a684-4bb0287f09eb.html. ^
  29. “2020 Will Be a Big Year for the Gun Issue.” January 3, 2020. Accessed May 13, 2021. https://www.thetrace.org/2020/01/gun-violence-2020-election-research-extremism-shootings/. ^
  30. “Analyzing the Impact of Proposed Changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.” Burness.com. Accessed May 13, 2021. https://burness.com/case-study/analyzing-the-impact-of-proposed-changes-to-snap. ^
  31. McCausland, Phil. “Trump administration proposals could cause millions to lose food stamps.” NBC News.  November 30, 2019. Accessed May 13, 2021. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/trump-administration-proposal-could-cause-millions-lose-food-stamps-n1092866. ^
  32. Picchi, Aimee. “Total Trump food-stamp cuts could hit up to 5.3 million households.” December 10, 2019. Accessed May 13, 2021. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-administration-says-food-stamps-need-reform-advocates-say-millions-will-suffer/. ^
  33. Linderman, Juliet. “668,000 will lose food stamp benefits under new work rules.” December 4, 2019. Accessed May 13, 2021. https://apnews.com/article/business-ap-top-news-nutrition-politics-46cda2574cbad2a31d52c33d07d7c77d. ^
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Burness Communications


Bethesda, MD