Health Forward Foundation
In 2020, the Health Forward Foundation was poised to make significant changes to its work. Foundation leaders were shifting the Foundation’s purpose to focus on health equity through racial and economic equity. The Foundation partnered with Spitfire to communicate this every step of the way. Spitfire worked closely with Foundation leaders and listened to grantees, staff and board members to understand the opportunities for strategic communication that would build momentum for their refreshed approach, ultimately reshaping the Foundation’s voice as a do-no-harm equity champion through messaging and communications training.
Spitfire dug in. We built relationships with partners across the Foundation and external to it. We conducted a series of stakeholder interviews with board members, grantees, staff and local media leaders to better understand how the Foundation’s communications could more effectively center racial equity. We reviewed past materials as well as conducted a landscape scan of other similarly positioned foundations. Spitfire developed an analysis through a research report that laid out opportunities for better aligning communication to the Foundation’s new strategic purpose, alongside a set of strategic recommendations. We shared that research report through presentations and engaging dialogue with the board and staff, socializing the report to answer questions and bring stakeholders along with the process.
Then we brought it to life. One of the cornerstone findings and recommendations we put forth was a shift in how the Foundation uses its voice. We developed a set of messages that use an intentional, people-first frame and offered strategic stories that explain the Foundation’s refreshed approach and purpose. Beyond developing the messaging, we made sure stakeholders who would be using it understood and were on board with the core principles and frames in it.
Today, the Foundation has a new purpose statement: to support and build inclusive, powerful and healthy communities characterized by racial equity and economically just systems. Its core stakeholders, grantees and board widely accepted and celebrated the launch of its new focus and shifts in funding approach.
Our process exemplifies that change moves at the speed of trust – and that doesn’t always mean slowly. By building trusting partnerships with highly aligned organizations that share your values, real change isn’t just possible – it’s inevitable. We’re proud to continue to partner with the Health Forward Foundation today.