Work: Case Studies

Magic happens when people come together around a shared purpose and use their passion and talents to make a difference. Also, things get done.

Chicago Commons

Mayor Rahm Emanuel at Chicago Commons
Mayor Emanuel at Chicago Commons. Photo credit: Brooke E. Collins/City of Chicago


Build an “on-ramp” for a new External Affairs Director while providing immediate capacity to to raise visibility and bolster fundraising.


Establish needed systems and strategies, including a donor cultivation and stewardship plan, communications audit and recommendations, and targeted press list, while simultaneously leveraging opportunities such as the completion of a new Outdoor Learning Classroom, a visit by Mayor Emanuel, and timely news context to engage the press and potential donors.


Added more than 200 potential donors to Commons’ cultivation list. Secured media coverage and executed relationship-building events. Mayor Emanuel chose Chicago Commons as the location to announce his new $10 million early childhood initiative. Recruited a new External Affairs Director, who started the ground running with a fundraising plan, communications next steps and new donor prospects in hand.

“We worked with Ideaction Corps members Kelly O'Brien and Culloton Strategies. Ideaction doesn’t waste time, they are passionate about their work and want to achieve big things, we feel fortunate to have worked with them!”

Dan Valliere, Executive Director, Chicago Commons