Family Independence Initiative was launched in 2001 by MacArthur “Genius Award” Winner Mauricio Lim Miller in response to the many broken realities of the social services system. As the same families cycled in and out of social service agencies, the financial resources designed to support them did nothing to build their economic or social mobility. Mauricio and his team at Family Independence Initiative believed that if families were given access to resources and community support, they would decide for themselves how to implement them. Fast forward 20 years, and now with an expansive data set, the organization has firmly demonstrated that people can and will move up together when they are recognized for their initiative, supported for their self-determination, and where access to resources is determined by strengths not deficits.
As Family Independence Initiative prepared to celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2021, it engaged the team at Mission Partners to look more closely at it brand- to understand where updates were needed and to guide the FII team into the future. It became clear through community conversations and empathy interviews that FII’s commitment to community and to disrupting the norms of a harmful, white-dominant philanthropic system were the same as they had always been. But how FII operates— investing in individuals and families and holding philanthropy accountable to the same—has changed through accelerated digital capabilities. To more clearly convey its purpose and engagement with the community, Mission Partners guided Family Independence Initiative in evolving its name to UpTogether, and developed a refreshed visual expression and comprehensive brand guide to support the shift. In short, FII has and always will be about community moving up, together. Taking on this new name only furthered their vision of a world where every individual is recognized for their inherent strengths and contributions.