Youth Mental Health Project

World Cocoa Foundation

World Cocoa Foundation
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Washington Area Women’s Foundation

For the past decade, despite significant efforts by the public, private and philanthropic sectors, the number of women and girls living near or below poverty in the Washington, D.C. region has remained stagnant: holding flat at nearly half a million women and girls. As Washington Area Women’s Foundation looked to the future, it knew it needed to pay particular attention to eliminating barriers that disproportionately hinder women and girls from gaining economic security. The Foundation called on C.Fox Communications to help them develop and ultimately release a bold strategic plan, “Together We Thrive,” to guide The Foundation’s efforts through the next five years, and into the future. In just the first year of the plan’s development, the Women’s Foundation has significantly strengthened its ties and work in the community, with new and deeper relationships to the Mayor’s office, the White House and to federal funders.

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The Universities at Shady Grove

The Universities at Shady Grove (USG) has been a presence in Montgomery County since 2000 when it first opened its doors, becoming the only four-year institution in what is still the wealthiest and most diverse county in Maryland. However, by 2017, community members and local leaders still didn’t understand what USG was or how it worked, and the brand felt tired instead of innovative. In January 2018, USG unveiled a new, refreshed brand in conjunction with its first ever integrated marketing campaign, titled the Power of 9. Mission Partners led the conception and development of the campaign content and messaging, ensuring that all materials were in line with and supportive of the new brand.

The 8-week campaign was built around Alumni stories, and featured a poster series, blog and social media content, digital advertising, video compilations, transit advertising, and an events series. When the campaign concluded, Mission Partners conducted research to better understand how various stakeholder groups perceived the campaign and brand. We conducted classroom drop-ins to deploy written surveys to students; phone interviews were held with Board members to gather their feedback from a leadership, business, and community perspective; and we met one-on-one with members of different USG departments to learn how the messaging or brand had impacted their departmental priorities. The content garnered from that research became the basis of an 18-page impact report, and helped propel USG to invest in a phase 2 of the campaign, set to launch in Fall 2018.

One of the posters featured in the Power of 9 campaign.

A digital ad produced for the Power of 9 campaign.

Union Bank & Trust

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Theatre Lab

In 2013, the Theatre Lab School of the Dramatic Arts, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit called on our team to raise awareness about the organization’s work during its milestone 20th year. What started as a tiny workshop for five students had grown into the region’s largest independent school for the dramatic arts. Yet, outside the theatre community, Theatre Lab’s story was largely unknown. During an initial in-depth interview with Theatre Lab co-founders, our team learned that despite the recession, Theatre Lab’s enrollment spiked by 55 percent between 2008 and 2012. Theatre Lab thrived largely because of its ability to tailor programs to people at all stages of life—especially the unexpected acting student. Using this narrative, we launched a targeted media relations campaign to promote Theatre Lab’s rich history, and top-notch faculty within the Washington, D.C community. Our efforts generated nearly 20 million media impressions, in outlets including, The Washington Post Magazine, Washington Business Journal, WTOP Radio and the region’s most listened to NPR affiliate, WAMU. Our efforts are credited with significantly improving brand awareness among potential donors and growing enrollment by nearly 10 percent in one year– a record for the organization.

The Alternative

The Alternative
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Team IMPACT

Team IMPACT is an organization that matches chronically ill youth with college athletic teams for friendship, mentoring and inspiration. In September 2016, five years into the organization’s life, Team IMPACT found themselves in a “breakout” moment- feeling ready to solidify who they are and who they can be as an organization, versus who they were in their infancy. What started as a singular commitment to improving the quality of life for sick children had expanded to a model that offers real and lasting value to athletes and athletic communities. The organization’s new CEO, Seth Rosenzweig, needed help capturing the opportunity and translating it into one that resonated with stakeholders and paved a path for future growth. Team IMPACT hired Mission Partners to support the development of a strategic plan – including defining a new Mission and Vision, conducting perception research, defining a set of SMART goals, and fleshing out a 3-5-year strategic plan that will guide the organization’s activities and messages into the future. During Phase 1 of the project, Carrie and Carolyn conducted market research through IDI’s (In-Depth Interviews) and identified the key differentiators from other similar organizations in the marketplace so that Team IMPACT was positioned to lead with its unique assets. We led the staff in a planning exercise that identified a critical, unmet need – to develop and implement a Theory of Change for the delivery of a complex set of services, with an outside evaluator. With its model codified, Mission Partners was brought back for Phase 2 of the engagement, kicking off by facilitating a strategic planning retreat that yielded five key strategic initiatives that will propel Team IMPACT forward. As we finish Phase 2 of the process, Carolyn and Carrie are leading the team in fleshing out the key actions within the strategic plan that the organization will undertake in the next 3 years, putting meat on the bones in such areas as building regional staff infrastructure, planned growth, communications and marketing, model implementation, and growing the financial resources to ensure that thousands of children with chronic and life threatening illnesses and the athletes who serve them live a life of hope and purpose.

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Success Beyond 18

In 2012, our team began working with the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative (now part of the Annie E. Casey Foundation) to design a national campaign to improve the odds for young people aging out of foster care. The campaign is now heralded in child welfare circles as a key driver in the 2014 passage of Public Law 113-183 – The Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act. Success Beyond 18 was launched in 2013 on Capitol Hill at an event headlined by Delaware Governor Jack Markell. Carrie Fox and team were responsible for every element of the campaign’s development and launch, including naming, all event logistics, speechwriting, media and promotion, as well as training the young people to serve as campaign advocates. Our team also wrote and directed a PSA on the issue, which then aired on stations across the country through the remainder of 2013. The campaign launch achieved 46 million impressions, including highly targeted media coverage in key U.S. media markets, as well as op-eds placed in the Huffington Post, The Indianapolis Star, and The Portland Press Herald. We provided important communications-related technical assistance to Governor Markell and his staff and Jim Casey Initiative sites in 16 states, including a communications toolkit with template materials that sites could use to elevate their work on the campaign’s policy and practice goals.

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Platform of Hope

Platform of Hope

The Challenge: Can five organizations work together to establish and design a neighborhood-based collective impact model that meets the comprehensive needs of resident families?

Building a Collective Impact Model Through Design Thinking, to Lift Up a Community

In the capital of a nation built on opportunity and justice for all, there exists a stark inequality, experienced as racial inequity, unequal access to affordable housing, and resources to help children and families succeed including quality preschool, asset building, and educational programs. In few neighborhoods is the disparity as prevalent and harsh as in the rapidly gentrifying Adams Morgan neighborhood of northwest Washington, D.C. Six local organizations—Capital Area Asset Builders, For Love of Children, Jubilee Housing, Jubilee Jumpstart, Sitar Arts Center, and Mary’s Center—formed a strategic alliance and committed to ending multigenerational poverty in this neighborhood.

Platform of Hope Steering Committee Meeting

With start-up funding from the Meyer Foundation, the Steering Committee hired Mission Partners in October 2017 to guide the group through the foundational process of creating a model for collective impact that would be the basis for a pilot program and five-year effort called the Platform of Hope. Mission Partners led the Steering Committee in a four-month long Design Thinking process that established a vision and common agenda, guiding principles, governance model, program design, budget, process map, and fundraising plan for a one-year pilot cohort of participating families, with plans to scale over 5 years. Mission Partners also developed protocol and trained representatives of each organization to conduct interviews and listening sessions with prospective families. From the onset, the Steering Committee has engaged community members in every step of the process, using their feedback and insights to modify and design the program.

Results

With the guidance of Mission Partners, the Steering Committee will launch the program in September 2018 with a cohort of twenty families, and has adopted a unique and forward-thinking model that measures success through a north star measurement of families who successfully reach self-defined goals; a cross-cutting progress indicator, which measures the degree to which families experience more robust community connections and social networks; and a cross cutting equity lens, which examines equity and accessibility—especially as it relates to racial equity—across all outcome measures.

“The Mission Partners team makes our progress possible by providing a calm head, steady voice, and sharp mind to all manner of mayhem.” – Dee Dee Parker Wright, Executive Director, Jubilee Jumpstart