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.



Thresholds is Illinois’ oldest and largest provider of services for the severely mentally ill. Yet for many decades they have been relatively unknown outside of the traditional social services circle. Our mission: raise awareness among the media, policymakers and the public about their amazing and important work, position Thresholds as a thought leader in the mental health and housing space in Illinois.


Thresholds had recently undergone a brand re-positioning effort with Corps Member Substance. The new brand imagery and updated communication channels (check out their website!) clearly positioned them away from a “woe is me” social service agency into an innovative organization that brings home, health and hope to thousands. We grounded our messaging and strategy in this identity. Working with Thresholds, we dug deep into the work of the agency, unearthing the innovative initiatives taking place. We identified new opportunities to showcase their leadership and best practices, including a major public policy forum, a grand opening of their new Buffet Place supportive housing development, and new funding to support work with female veterans. We monitor the context daily, taking advantage of policy activity and news coverage of related issues and events. We built a target media list, building relationships with key reporters and news outlets. This internal-external pro-active opportunity seeking enabled us to build a drumbeat of news coverage and energized social media engagement that has clearly placed Thresholds on a new plane.


Over the past year Thresholds has emerged as a vibrant stage for success stories, innovation, partnerships and hope. With more than ten media hits a month (including national outlets such as ABC Nightline and every major Chicago print, radio and TV outlet), they are no longer hidden from view. Now the go-to organization for information, quotes, and human-interest stories related to mental health issues by state and local media, Thresholds is an indispensable checkpoint for legislators seeking policy change or considering funding decisions that impact mental health and a driver of enlightened reform, and a recognized thought-leader in Illinois on issues related to mental health and housing.