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Chicago Foundation for Women

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.

Our Work

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.


  • Seigle’s, Inc.

    “Melcher+Tucker are long on thoughtful advice, old and new market savvy, and media sense.  Their earned media results were remarkable.”

    Harry Seigle former chairman of Seigle’s Inc. and founder and principal of The Elgin Company

    Remaking a Homebuilding Icon

    Seigle's, Inc., one of the country’s largest regional manufacturers and distributors of building supplies, embarked on a strategy to focus predominately on the professional builder, shifting away from direct-to-consumer sales. Deciding not to compete with the big-box retailers, Seigle's concentrated on building relationships with both local and national homebuilders, and began preparing for its largest acquisition, a deal, which would cement its strategic change of direction. Yet, the $260 million, family-owned company based in Elgin, IL, lacked significant visibility and for its new strategy and branding.

    Melcher+Tucker Consultants began a comprehensive engagement to help define the company’s brand proposition and carry out strategic positioning to raise Seigle's profile among key constituents. Media relations activities included targeting local and national trade and general interest publications, aimed at promoting the new corporate strategy; establishing Seigle's executives as knowledgeable sources on industry and economic issues; and, highlighting distinctive policies such as corporate governance. MTC also helped develop a series of customer forums and accompanying monographs designed to increase awareness and credibility, and rewrote all of the website content.

    Seigle's new strategy was featured in major profiles in papers ranging from the Chicago Tribune and Wall Street Journal to the New York Times and throughout the industry’s leading trade journals. Owner-brothers Harry and Mark Seigle authored columns, and became regular sources for industry stories. In less than 18 months, MTC helped Seigle's convey its key messages to its core audiences. In September of 2005, Seigle's was sold to Stock Building Supply near the height of the housing cycle.

  • JPMorgan Chase

    Contributing to Communities in Which It Operates

    JPMorgan Chase, one of the world’s largest financial institutions, began planning its first “Community Partnership Report,” a publication that was to demonstrate to employees, investors and other stakeholders the firm’s commitment to support “healthy, vibrant communities where we live and work,” in the words of former Chairman Bill Harrison. With operations in 50 countries, the challenge was to select case studies that represent the firm’s interests in community revitalization, public education, and arts and culture – and, to write the profiles in an analytical style similar to that in the best news magazines.

    Working with JPMorgan Chase executives around the world in marketing, corporate and social responsibility, philanthropy and community development departments, Melcher+Tucker Consultants was responsible for reporting and writing the case studies that form the core of the 48-page Community Partnership Report. We interviewed dozens of sources at the bank, at community and cultural organizations around the world, and among those directly benefiting from the firm’s activities – from London to Dallas to Johannesburg and Hong Kong. The case studies we produced: Brooklyn, “Revitalizing Downtown;” Texas, “Building Sustainable Communities;” London, “Inspiring Children;” South Africa, “Opening Doors to Opportunity;” and, Hong Kong, “Responding to SARS.”

    The Community Partnership Report was distributed to JPMorgan Chase stakeholders around the world, and made prominently available on its web site. The report was widely praised for its breadth of coverage, stunning photographs, and, perhaps most important, crisp and sensitive writing that illustrated the firm’s impact on communities it serves.

  • Cannon Design

    Creating Path-breaking Architecture for Clients Worldwide

    OWP/P l Cannon Design is a leading architecture, design and engineering firm specializing in healthcare, education and corporate/commercial design. Operating as OWP/P, before its merger with Cannon Design, the firm, with offices in Chicago and Phoenix, sought to raise its visibility both locally and nationally for individual architects, specific projects and other areas of expertise in an effort to distinguish the firm’s work and ideas.

    Melcher+Tucker Consultants began the engagement assisting industry leadership teams in developing internal messaging for the roll out of a new strategic plan. We then worked with each of the firm’s practice leaders and marketing coordinators in Chicago and Phoenix on a range of activities, from media training and writing press releases to story development and promotion of people, new projects, special programs, and trends, both to Chicago-area and national trade and general-interest media. We also were involved in developing the messages and media plan for the firm’s 50th anniversary celebration held in Chicago’s Millennium Park. Throughout, we positioned leaders as expert resources on projects and trends, including sustainable design, healthcare technology and prototypes for new schools.

    The firm, its innovative approach to design and its leaders have been featured in profiles in such major media as FastCompany (where we also launched an education design blog), the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, WTTW’s Chicago Tonight, Chicago Public Radio, and Architect. OWP/P, which merged with Cannon Design in 2009, is a global leader in both its operating approach to architecture and its delivery of built work across a range of industry sectors, with widespread awareness of its brand and operating philosophy.