The Wallace Foundation

Expanding the reach of an admired philanthropy.

The Wallace Foundation helps expand learning and enrichment opportunities for young students in America’s schools. O+CO created a new identity, subsuming the original Reader’s Digest Association funds into a unique brand that conveys the Foundation’s quest and its culture. Importantly, the new brand positions the philanthropy to address policy makers and to share knowledge with education professionals that will have a broad and lasting impact on society. Our involvement with The Wallace Foundation spans several years, during which we have helped extend its influence and impact through a variety of strategic and communication projects.

Impact

“Wallace has expanded its reach to key audiences by using a wider range of communications strategies – including our upgraded website, speaking engagements, conferences that were more knowledge-focused and a growing number of partnerships – to share our ideas. Downloads from our website have risen from 3,000 in 2003 to 190,000 in 2009, propelled by print and online advertising, promotional brochures, email alerts, search engine optimization and topical web landing pages.”

Wallace awareness graph

Field leaders’ awareness of foundations of similar asset size

Source: Academy for Educational Development Survey / The Wallace Foundation

“In 2000, Wallace already had a solid reputation as a major funder and for being ‘smart and strategic’ in its fields of interest. But in our annual report essay that year, titled ‘Beyond Money,’ we signaled our intention to radically reshape that reputation: from a foundation whose chief asset was the money we had to give away to one dedicated to using the power of ideas to help leaders in particular fields bring about beneficial changes. Three years later, that redefinition of our role was given more tangible expression when – in a step highly unusual at the time for any foundation – we developed a unified brand system positioning us as a source of effective ideas and practices.

Overall assessment:

  • We have greatly increased both the number and variety of Wallace publications and annual downloads have risen more than 60-fold since 2003 to nearly 200,000.
  • We have become much more effective at sharing our ideas with key audiences by using an updated website and a range of other communications strategies.
  • We have greatly extended our reputation and reach to both grantees and non-grantees in our chosen fields of education, the arts and out-of-school learning – and field leaders now compare us favorably with other information sources, including other foundations.”