When Mastery founder and CEO Scott Gordon was in the early stages of creating his first charter school in Philadelphia, Sage helped to communicate his vision and build a brand. Now, 15 years later with 23 schools in Philadelphia and Camden, Mastery is recognized as the leading charter school provider in the region and one of the best charter models in the nation. Leaders like President Obama and former U.S. Education Secretary Duncan have both praised the educational model and results.
Recently Sage helped to create messaging and content for Mastery’s new website. Over the years, we’ve also created relationships with education reporters to share the Mastery story with the public and helped coordinate events to show the school to potential funders, civic and community leaders.
We are proud of the incredible Mastery team as the Philadelphia and Camden School Districts recognize this charter network for turning around several of the cities’ most distressed and low-performing schools.
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Sidney Kimmel has never forgotten his South Philadelphia roots. Even after becoming a leader in the women’s clothing industry with his Jones New York label and now as a Hollywood movie producer, he still thinks of Philadelphia as home.
Over the years, Kimmel’s love for Philadelphia has resulted in numerous gifts to some of the city’s greatest institutions that would not be as successful today if it weren’t for his support: the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson, Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, the National Constitution Center, and the National Museum of American Jewish History.
On June 17, 2014, Kimmel’s desire to give back to his hometown was demonstrated in a monumental way. The Sidney Kimmel Foundation gave a record $110 million gift to the Thomas Jefferson University medical college. In honor of this gift, Jefferson’s medical college was renamed in his honor.
Sage was hired by Kimmel’s team to ensure that this gift’s intent was communicated with the right messages and to audiences who care the most about it. We worked with the university to create a communications strategy focused on both traditional and digital media placements. We coordinated an exclusive interview with Jim Gardner on Action News and worked with Jefferson’s communications team to secure coverage in the Philadelphia Inquirer, philly.com, The Philadelphia Business Journal and CBS Philadelphia, among others.
Sage is also working on updating the Sidney Kimmel Foundation website, in order to highlight the many transformative gifts the Foundation has given over several decades to cancer research, organizations connected to Kimmel’s Jewish heritage, and various Philadelphia institutions.
As longtime friends and loyal supporters of Project HOME, Sage is proud to have worked on the grand opening of the Stephen Klein Wellness Center. This new 28,600 square-foot Project HOME facility services the health and wellness needs of the formerly homeless and low-income communities of North Philadelphia. The grand opening ceremony celebrated the many partnerships that made the center possible – public, private, nonprofit, philanthropic, and community partners. Lead donor and project visionary Stephen Klein was at the top of the list of honorees.
To gain regional awareness for the center, we created a twofold media relations plan. We focused in particular on positioning the Wellness Center as the city’s newest and biggest federally-qualified health center, and a response to the critical needs of North Philadelphia’s homeless population and neighborhood residents.
Our strategy centered around one-on-one interviews that we secured in advance of the opening. Reporters from several major local broadcast, print and online news outlets toured the center and interviewed staff and residents, which resulted in placements in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, WHYY, CBS 3 Philadelphia, and The Philadelphia Tribune, among others. Our pitching also secured day-of coverage from the major local television stations (NBC 10, Fox 29, and Action News 6).
Our social media efforts included the production of video vignettes featuring Project HOME staff and residents. The spots were shared on Project HOME’s Twitter, Facebook and YouTube channels on the days leading up to the event. We achieved a strong social media presence during and after the event as well, particularly through our live tweeting at the opening.
Project HOME gave our team rave reviews and, today, the new center is hopping! The most important take-away from this great project is the need to give media access to tell great stories prior to an opening like this so they can take the time needed to understand the value of accessible healthcare for low-income populations.
In Philadelphia, while 9,000 residents have moved out of poverty in the past year – a dip from 26.9 percent to 26.3 percent – the city is still the poorest of America’s 10 largest cities, according to the most recent figures from the U.S. Census. Sage continues its work with the Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment & Opportunity (CEO), which is tackling the epidemic with a five-goal strategy, Shared Prosperity Philadelphia. The plan engages all Philadelphians in increasing opportunities and improving the quality of life for low-income families and individuals. Although CEO is the hub for activity around Shared Prosperity Philadelphia, the plan belongs to us all.
Our work on the city’s plan to fight poverty now includes overseeing the development of a progress report and supporting Philadelphia’s first summit on poverty later this year. Sage also is continuing our outreach work by implementing a communications plan developed for CEO earlier this year.
Sage was proud to name Shared Prosperity Philadelphia and oversee the communications surrounding the plan and writing the executive summary. We also planned a successful launch event in July at the Philadelphia Free Library, bringing together hundreds of stakeholders to answer the question, “What’s Your Role in Addressing Poverty in Philadelphia?“ Sage is proud to have secured coverage of the story through many outlets, including The New York Times, The Associated Press, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Philadelphia Daily News, WHYY, and Philadelphia Magazine.
The Barra Foundation has supported innovation in the Greater Philadelphia region since 1963. It consistently tries to embody the innovative spirit in its grantmaking strategy by changing with the times and always looking for a better way of doing things.
In 2014, the Board and the Foundation’s new leadership revised its approach to accomplish three goals: to inspire risk-taking, to reward exemplary organizations poised for positive change , and to foster an environment that encourages innovative ideas and approaches. Barra’s new funding structure is streamlined into the Catalyst Fund and the Barra Awards. Barra provides risk capital for bold ideas (Catalyst Fund) and core support (Barra Awards) to acknowledge and advance innovation in the Greater Philadelphia region.
Sage was selected by Barra to help roll out its new guidelines, plan a comprehensive strategy for communicating the changes, and advise them on building a new website to reflect its updated identity and approach. Our plan included outreach to targeted stakeholders, the introduction of social media, and the development of a motion graphic to convey the Foundation’s mission and funding goals. We were proud to work with Maskar Design and ReMade throughout the process.
We are currently completing a long-term communications strategy as The Barra Foundation continues to fulfill its mission and take risks in its grantmaking approach.
Philadelphia’s future relies on a solid vision and a real plan to guide future development. But the city had been operating under the same plan since 1960. The Philadelphia City Planning Commission worked to develop a new Citywide Vision, a new zoning code and a new Citizens Planning Institute. Sage worked with the commission staff to build a communications strategy to help roll out all of these initiatives. The web site for these initiatives, developed by Maskar Design, showcases the work the Sage team helped to build. The strategy needed to connect all three elements and brand the city as forward-thinking and ready to move into a new generation of residents and business. It’s working!
Beth Ann Swan, Dean of the Jefferson School of Nursing, thought she had a handle on today’s health care system. When her 53-year-old husband, Eric, suffered a brain stem stroke just before he was to board a flight in Chicago, she found out how wrong she was. After the nightmare of navigating an extremely complicated system, Swan wrote a narrative for the prestigious journal Health Affairs detailing her account. A condensed version also ran in the Washington Post.
Sage was hired to leverage her story in order to educate and influence audiences that can fix the broken post-hospital stay healthcare delivery system. We provided strategic communications counsel that focused on traditional and online media placements. Results included a well-read column in The Philadelphia Inquirer and highly-rated interview on WHYY’s Radio Times, as well multiple posts on blogs and Twitter. Swan also told her story in op-eds that Sage placed in the Los Angeles Times and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Sage’s successful media push has generated additional opportunities for Swan, including interest from TV news, several requests for her participation in panel discussions, and hundreds of emails from people who experienced similar problems.
When Pennsylvania moved to deregulate energy services, new energy companies flooded the state to offer options. A socially responsible wind power company, Clean Currents, wanted to show Philadelphia that it cares about local residents and businesses beyond new customer revenue. President Gary Skulnik recently shared this philosophy in an op-ed placed by Sage in the Philadelphia Business Journal.
True to its philosophy, Clean Currents has worked hard to connect with potential customers, and to form partnerships with nonprofit organizations and those interested in improving the quality of life in Philadelphia. As part of its mission, the company works with people throughout Philadelphia to tackle one of the biggest challenges facing the city’s neighborhoods.
After hearing over and over again that vacant lots were destroying neighborhoods, Clean Currents launched Lots of Power, an initiative that brings high-school-age youth together with creative professionals, including designers and architects, to develop innovative ways to use vacant lots in Kensington. Through an exciting partnership with Kensington Renewal and AIGA, five teams came together over the summer to research the Kensington community and develop positive concepts to transform two specific lots in the neighborhood. This video tells the story of the passion and motivation behind Lots of Power.
Two winning teams were selected–one by a panel of judges, and another through a public vote. They will be awarded grants to implement their projects, giving them the power to be the change in their community. Check out this story in the Philadelphia Inquirer detailing the submissions – including the winners, Tag, You’re It! and The Birds’ Nest.
According to a report commissioned by the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations (PACDC) in 2012, Philadelphia’s community development corporations (CDCs) have contributed more than $3.3 billion to Philadelphia’s economy in the last 20 years. The report confirmed what we had already suspected—the work of Philadelphia’s CDCs has consistently added to the tax base, increased household wealth and created jobs throughout the city. The organization relied on Sage to distribute this news to their audiences, including funders, elected officials, neighborhood activists and others. We helped PACDC develop materials, draft a widely shared op-ed, and pitch media outlets on this first-ever study of its economic impact. Our push resulted in coverage by key regional news outlets and blogs, including several editorials on the need to pay more attention to their work.