Guest speakers and students cutting the ribbon at the Universities at Shady Grove's grand opening of their new Biomedical Sciences and Engineering Education facilty

Photo courtesy of The Universities of Shady Grove

On November 7, 2019, the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) welcomed more than 600 people to its Maryland campus to celebrate the opening of a fourth academic building—a $175M Biomedical Sciences and Engineering Education Facility, known as the BSE.

The grand opening event kicked off with a luncheon and program, featuring the presidents of three partner universities: University of Maryland, Baltimore; University of Maryland, College Park; and UMBC. Following the luncheon, guests gathered in the atrium of the BSE to hear from speakers­­—including Governor Larry Hogan—and to celebrate the official ribbon cutting of the building. After the ceremony, guests explored the building and participated in a Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medical (STEMM) Showcase, which brought aspects of the building to life with displays from 14 academic programs and eight industry partners. Students and staff were stationed throughout the BSE to serve as interpretive guides for guests. The event exceeded the set attendance goal by 20%.

As a long time, invested partner in Universities at Shady Grove, Mission Partners previously supported USG on the groundbreaking ceremony for the building and managed complexities of project management, communication, and media support for this critical moment in the organization’s history, and future. The event boasted a strong print and broadcast showing—eleven onsite media teams—and coverage of the event garnered more than 7.8M impressions from 13 news stories, including two consecutive days of coverage in The Washington Post with an op-ed and feature piece on the front page of The Washington Post’s Metro section.

See more examples of our work with USG.

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Journalist at rally with audio recording equipement interviewing people begind a metal barrier

Photo courtesy of NewsMatch

In the summer of 2019, NewsMatch engaged Mission Partners to develop the messaging and strategy for its fourth annual campaign, which runs from November through December. In the wake of “fake news” and powerful politicians’ attacks on the free press, NewsMatch has supported unbiased and independent journalism through a national matching-gift campaign designed to grow fundraising capacity in nonprofit newsrooms and promote journalism as a philanthropic cause. As the media industry continues to evolve, the support NewsMatch provides is more important than ever.

To begin, Mission Partners conducted a comprehensive peer set audit, and then guided NewsMatch and its partner funders through creating a message framework to help align 2019’s campaign. After in-depth interviews with NewsMatch’s newsroom participants and partners, Mission Partners also created the theme of the campaign. Along with messaging, media relations, training webinars, toolkits, and the creation of talking points, Mission Partners updated NewsMatch’s visual brand and created customizable digital and social graphics for newsrooms across the country to utilize. The paid social media strategy was further enhanced by a PSA video Mission Partners worked alongside a third party to create. 

The 2019 NewsMatch campaign saw its best-ever #GivingTuesday returns, and of the 198 participating newsrooms, 187 customized or implemented materials provided to them.

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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
Heising Simons Foundation

In today’s media environment, freelance journalists face the reality of being both vulnerable and valuable. With newsrooms facing ongoing cuts, many journalists work without the support of an institutions—and the resources they provide. And yet, some of the most important works of journalism come from freelance journalists who dedicate long periods of time and resources to their subjects. That why Mission Partners was thrilled when we were asked to support the Heising-Simons Foundation with the launch of its inaugural American Mosaic Journalism Prize, intended to call attention to these journalists’ great promise and give them the freedom to continue their work. The Prize offers up to two $100,000 unrestricted cash prizes per year to freelance journalists for their excellence in long-form, narrative, or deep reporting on stories about underrepresented and/or misrepresented groups in the present American landscape. Mission Partners developed core messaging, a communications strategy, and media materials to announce and elevate the inaugural winners of the 2018 prize—Jaeah Lee and Valeria Fernández. Over the course of the 2-month campaign our efforts resulted in 35 earned media stories, including an Associated Press story picked up in outlets across the country, and 286 million media impressions.