Case Study 3
Lifting UP Westchester
Where Hope Takes Flight—One Person at a Time
Overview In Brief
In 2014 Grace Church Community Center (GCCC), a Westchester County, NY nonprofit social services agency was entering its fourth decade. With almost 250 dedicated employees and a $10 million+ annual budget, this worthy and formidable organization had a perception problem.
GCCC was facing three major challenges. First, it had long outgrown its name, which impeded its mission and prevented it from telling its brand story effectively. Originally begun by a Christian denomination, GCCC had grown to serve a much more diverse population. Even its Board of Directors had grown to include members of other faiths.
Second, GCCC was fighting a deeply entrenched misperception: that Westchester County, NY, one of the nation’s wealthiest, doesn’t have an at-risk population. Yet, homelessness, food insecurity and other social ills were rampant in Westchester—where over 200,000 members of its diverse citizenry still live below the poverty line.
Lifting UP Westchester’s new branding—flanked by two of its many services: caring for the homeless; and running a summer camp for disadvantaged kids.
The third challenge was how to rename and re-brand this vital organization effectively—further complicated by the fact that GCCC offers no less than eight different social programs, from health services for the aged and housing for those with challenges, to after-school mentoring, separate men’s and women’s homeless shelters, a summer camp for disadvantaged children, a college scholarship program and more.
Outcome and Results
GCCC engaged the services of Penry Creative—first to conduct thorough research. We designed and conducted in-depth focus groups with key sectors of the Westchester County, NY community—revealing what people think, or thought they knew, about GCCC and the challenges facing their less fortunate fellow citizens. These sectors ranged from GCCC donors to civic and business leaders, GCCC Management and Staff, strategic partners including healthcare providers, and other constituencies. Armed with meticulously documented research data, we assisted GCCC to effectively re-strategize and reinvigorate its efforts.
A few more of Lifting UP Westchester’s many social service programs.
Working closely with our client at all levels of management including their Board of Directors, we renamed and re-branded GCCC as Lifting UP Westchester. This process included designing a new logo and branding treatment—as well as designing new print collaterals, developing a new website, and producing two videos—one showcasing Lifting Up Westchester’s brand transition, and the other focusing on its programs and services.
Our work with Lifting UP Westchester contributed to the following LUW brand highlights:
• LUW donations and volunteerism have improved since the brand’s transition from GCCC.
• Public and corporate perceptions of LUW’s important work and value to the whole of Westchester County’s social fabric are more accurate and positive than when the organization was known by its prior name.
• The LUW brand continues to be the well-received mark of a robust and vital organization.
Notably, although LUW’s senior management and board membership evolved shortly after our process was completed, the essence of our work, and our renaming of Lifting UP Westchester remain intact.