+ Marketing and Communications to Raise Awareness, Increase Influence, Build Success.

Project Exploration

"Melcher+Tucker helped us leverage our local work into the national education conversation. They not only help you tell your story, they know who you need to tell it to, and even who might fund it. When you work with them on a project - whether it's large or small - you have their full attention; they make you feel like you're their only client."

Project Exploration

Strategic Marketing and Communications Planning & Implementation


Project Exploration is a Chicago-based nonprofit science education organization that works to ensure communities traditionally overlooked by science – particularly minority youth and girls – have access to personalized experiences with science and scientists. The organization’s out-of-school time programs – including Sisters for Science and Junior Paleontologists – impact the lives of hundreds of Chicago Public School students each year by fostering a long-term involvement in science. With the release of an independent 10-year study of Project Exploration alumni attesting to program success in helping boost high school graduation rates and students’ pursuit of science education and careers, the organization sought a messaging campaign to raise awareness with key constituents, ranging from media and funders to thought leaders, educators and policy makers. Subsequently, Project Exploration sought a fully built out public relations campaign.

Our Work

Since early 2011, Melcher+Tucker Consultants has worked closely with Project Exploration’s senior management to strengthen brand awareness and develop and implement a comprehensive strategic marketing and communications plan to capitalize on the organization’s demonstrable success. The goal: develop accessible, compelling story lines for internal staff, board, and external communities about Project Exploration’s distinctive approach to science education. We developed an Executive Summary and the media plan for the release of the 10-year study, advised the Project Exploration board about appropriate branding and messaging strategies to ensure sustained community presence, and worked with Chicago-area and national media on program-specific stories. We also worked on developing a Case Statement for active fundraising, and helped refine the e-marketing strategy.


Through introductions to Chicago and national education and philanthropic media and effective story development, Project Exploration has attained widespread coverage and increasing recognition. The organization – its leadership and students – have been featured on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight, WBEZ, the Chicago Sun-Times, Education Week and the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Gabrielle Lyon, co-founder, was named one of Chicago magazine’s Chicagoans of the Year in 2011. Newly-branded marketing materials have been presented to potential funders. The growing exposure has helped underscore the importance of Project Exploration’s mission to change the face of science.

Strategic Positioning

Understand where you are, determine where you can go.

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Media Relations

Tell your story persuasively, generate attention.

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Brand Development

Define and secure your most important asset.

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Fundraising Communications

Build your case, further your mission.

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Recent Work

  • All
  • Brand Development
  • Fundraising Communications
  • Media Relations
  • Strategic Positioning
  • Default
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  • Random
  • New York University Silver School of Social Work

    Messaging, Brand Positioning, Strategic Communications Planning

  • Writers Theatre

    Capital Campaign Collateral Development, Media Relations

  • Greater Chicago Food Depository

    Strategic Communications Planning & Implementation, Branding, Media Relations

  • Perkins&Will

    Marketing & Media Relations

Our Clients Are Saying...

  • “For Communities In Schools of Chicago working with Melcher+Tucker Consultants was like having a “third eye” with regard to understanding how to tell the story of our work supporting public school students. They have tremendous insight in forecasting which stories will resonate with Chicago media and beyond, and worked collaboratively with our organization, and our school and community partners, to develop rich, authentic stories that would raise our profile.”

    Jane Mentzinger
    Executive Director
    Communities In Schools of Chicago
  • “Melcher+Tucker Consultants provided us with a critical messaging framework that will help our Development Committee and our Development staff talk persuasively with our donors about activities that are at the core of The Field Museum – scientific research and discovery in the Natural Sciences. With their assistance, we are now able to communicate more powerfully the role our research and collections play.”

    Laura Biddle Clarke
    Former Senior Director, Institutional Advancement
    The Field Museum
  • “Melcher+Tucker Consultants has played an integral role in shaping the Greater Chicago Food Depository’s communications and marketing for more than a decade. MTC’s message development and strategic outreach capabilities have enhanced our ability to raise awareness of hunger in Cook County.”

    Kate Maehr
    Chief Executive Officer,
    Greater Chicago Food Depository
  • "Over the many years I have worked with Melcher+Tucker Consultants, I have always been impressed with their professionalism, strategic thinking and willingness to do what it takes to get things done. Their cheerful competence and wise guidance helped me and my organization successfully navigate through complex and challenging situations."

    Andrea Durbin
    Chief Executive Officer,
    Illinois Collaboration on Youth
  • “Working with Melcher+Tucker Consultants was a satisfying experience for me and my staff.  Rick and Anne can be trusted to both design and deliver a highly strategized and well-executed product or plan in a timely and thoroughly professional manner.”

    Ann Lurie
    Ann and Robert H. Lurie Foundation
  • “Melcher+Tucker Consultants brought the ‘best of both worlds’ to Ventas, an S&P 500 company, when they created our new website. They are experienced professionals who helped us craft and effectively communicate our message. Their investigative, hands-on approach and understanding of our business resulted in exceptionally clear and concise content. The site successfully portrayed our brand identity and communicated our strengths to multiple constituencies, from media to investors. Melcher+Tucker share Ventas's passion for achieving superior results.”

    Debra Cafaro
    Chairman and CEO
    Ventas, Inc.
  • “Melcher+Tucker Consultants was instrumental in helping Writers Theatre craft the best possible fundraising brochure and accompanying materials for our On To A New Stage Campaign - a $32 million project to establish a Jeanne Gang-designed theatre center on Chicago's North Shore. Rick and Anne listened to the many voices at the table, and quickly assessed and understood the project and our potential audience. They integrated all of the project details and our story into a streamlined, cohesive, and high impact piece.”

    Kim Swinton
    Director of Institutional Advancement
    Writers Theatre