Chicago Foundation for Women
Message Development, Media Relations
Chicago Foundation for Women is the leading Chicago-area grant making organization dedicated to supporting basic rights and equal opportunities for women and girls. As CFW approached its 30th anniversary, the organization was looking for new messaging to freshen and clarify strategy and mission – messaging to present concisely and compellingly the case for supporting CFW. Following completion of the messaging engagement, CFW sought media relations counsel to support the 30th anniversary and the introduction of a major new initiative to promote gender equity.
Melcher+Tucker Consultants began our collaboration with CFW in 2013, interviewing staff, board, grantees and donors to gather a comprehensive understanding of the organization’s distinctiveness, legacy and importance to Chicago women and girls. This fact-finding underpinned message development that was tested among key stakeholders and used to train senior management and board members to prepare them for carrying forward the fundraising. The messaging provided a logical platform to build a broad-based strategic media relations plan throughout CFW’s 30th anniversary in 2015 – creating story ideas and drafting timely, issue-focused Op-Eds and seeking high-value speaking engagements to promote thought leadership. A centerpiece of the media planning was preparing the rollout of the signature new initiative, The 100% Project, a bold plan to achieve gender equity in the Chicago area by 2030.
New messaging, together with a new visual identity and marketing collateral, have been rolled out to all constituencies and through all channels. The key theme: CFW’s central role in providing well-informed investments in organizations that promote opportunities for women and girls to achieve “their full potential and live in safe, just, and healthy communities.” In its 30th anniversary year, CFW CEO K. Sujata was the subject of major profiles in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, and Crain’s Chicago Business; a featured speaker at leading forums, including the Chicago Council on Global Affairs; and the author of Op-Eds in leading publications. The 100% Project, whose goals and tactics are unlike anything presented before in the U.S., have become in 2016 a major point of discussion and attention across Chicago, firmly setting CFW on its path to improving economic security for women and girls across the region.