Case Study

The evolution of
Evanston Community Foundation

Founded in 1986, ECF has helped Evanston thrive by connecting and distributing resources and knowledge. We have supported their mission by clarifying their messaging and amplifying their story.

The Foundation’s founders long repeated two mantras to express their mission and vision: “We help lead Evanston where it wants to go,” and “We’re here for good.”

Since its founding, ECF has invested over $15 million to support work in areas like early childhood education, youth and education, arts and humanities, family support and counseling, community development, basic human needs, and housing.

Our relationship began in 2012, when we won the opportunity to transform ECF’s website. Executive director Sara Schastok had high aspirations, with a commitment to honest branding and provocative messaging. The project created a forum for spirited debate about the ECF brand and its position, both within the Evanston community and among other local and national foundations. We worked closely with ECF leadership to craft key language to help clarify its mission and differentiate the Foundation from other organizations in the region.

ECF subsequently invited us to lead a workshop on the role of branding and marketing in fundraising for their “root2fruit” program grantees.

In 2016, ECF’s new president, Monique Brunson Jones, asked us to begin transforming all of their communications to reflect her new focus on engaging more directly and creatively with donors, grantees, and the community.

Our gradual rebranding of ECF has included development of a vibrant new color palette, photography, and video. We have sustained their communications and promoted their fundraising with a series of email campaigns, annual reports, year-end appeals, and a 30th anniversary book.

Annual report

Online annual report & video

30th anniversary book

Annual report

Annual appeal