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Connecting a Chicago Gang Member to a Grandma in Boston

What does an 18-year-old gang member in Chicago, Illinois have in common with an 80-year-old grandmother living in Chelsea, Massachusetts? At first glance, there would seem to be very little. Upon further inspection, they might as well be family.

Both are beneficiaries of innovative programs supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Vulnerable Populations Portfolio that are creating sensible, sustainable and scalable solutions to long-standing health problems. At a time when tens of thousands of non-profits are shutting their doors and those that can survive are retrenching with traditional solutions, how does an innovative program get the attention and funding it deserves, let alone expand?

We looked at the promise these programs and models held and helped craft a story that brought to life their potential. We went back to the kernel of the idea and told the story of their origin and inspiration. We identified opportunities to tell these stories to a select group of high quality influencers that influence others, from traditional health journalists and leading columnists to cutting-edge bloggers, from policymakers to social entrepreneurs at PopTech!

We spread these messages through wide-reaching webinars and innovative online forums on topics ranging from model expansion, messaging and neuroscience. And we also collaborated to bring their messages to new audiences like the Department of Education and the National Conference of State Legislators.

Through these stories, we were able to support the expansion of innovative models bringing programs like CeaseFire into new neighborhoods, Playworks into new cities, and the Green House Project into new states.

Credits: Burnesss Communications,
Fenton Communications, Prichard Communications,
Ruder Finn, Spitfire Strategeis, Worldways Social Marketing, Laufer Green Isaac Communications