Shriver Center on Poverty Law

Strategic Positioning, Media Relations, Brand Development, Fundraising Communications



Shriver Center on Poverty Law, a Chicago-based national organization that advances economic and racial justice for all, was preparing for its 50th anniversary and the launch of a new strategic plan. Leadership sought new messaging to reflect the goals of the plan. Messaging would inform the new design and collateral, and equip leadership and the board for fundraising. Following message development, we were engaged in a media relations campaign to promote leadership and advocacy campaigns.

Our Work

We began our work with a review of all collateral, and moved on to a series of interviews with staff, board, and donors to discuss perceptions, reputation, and distinctive value to prepare a value proposition, key messaging, and campaign theme for the 50th anniversary. We collaborated with Shriver Center’s marketing and development staff to create a case statement for the Shriver Challenge capital campaign. With the messaging work completed, we carried out a media relations campaign to raise visibility during the 50th anniversary year. Following the campaign, we supported advocacy campaigns around new research and legislation to expand economic, housing, healthcare, and immigration opportunities. We also led Chicago and national media outreach to introduce Audra Wilson, appointed CEO in June 2020.


New messaging brought clarity and crispness to Shriver Center’s brand and mission around three themes: sustained leadership; uniting communities to elevate poverty to national urgency; extending legacy to build an economic and social justice system that works for all. Messages were integrated into all collateral. The fundraising campaign to support growth and expansion was deemed a success. Media relations resulted in a series of high-impact profiles of former CEO John Bouman and current CEO Wilson in such media as the Axe Files and Intergenerational Politics podcasts, the ABA Journal, and all-Chicago area print and electronic media; we also helped edit and place timely Op-Eds. Legislative campaigns in Illinois have led to expanded workers’ economic rights, including paid leave, and first-in-the-nation healthcare coverage for undocumented immigrants.