Hopeworks ‘N Camden

Background

Slice has had the pleasure of working with Hopeworks ‘N Camden for more than five years. During that time, we have supported the organization through a leadership transition, two strategic plans, and multiple major initiatives. Our work has been primarily focused on public relations, including media relations, event development and support, news announcements, speaking opportunities, award recognition, and special campaigns. The primary value has been regular, ongoing earned media coverage that has positioned Hopeworks as one of the most well-known and well-respected non-profit organizations in the Philadelphia area.

Here are a few of the campaigns we developed and executed.

Planting a Cross in the Ground

In the summer of 2012, Camden was on pace to set the city’s record for homicides in a year. Hopeworks wanted to make sure the local government was well aware of the community’s demand for solutions. Slice Communications and Hopeworks worked together to develop a creative, crowd-sourced company to show that “It’s expected in Camden” isn’t an acceptable response. We knew that we needed a visual, high-profile statement to get the attention of the city’s apathetic community, media, and leadership.

The CrossesWe teamed up with community members to create unique crosses, each painted with the name of one of Camden’s homicide victims. The crosses were then placed in two locations: Roosevelt Park across from Camden’s City Hall and at the foot of the Ben Franklin Bridge.

Prayer circles, community memorials, and written editorials published in many local newspapers earned significant media and government attention and began a conversation about addressing trauma in Camden.

“The Crosses,” as the campaign was known, garnered significant media coverage in Camden and beyond. It also catapulted Hopeworks’ Executive Director into a position of significant media awareness and thought leadership that continues to benefit the organization.

Op-Ed About Teacher Lay-Offs

After 272 Camden City School District employees were dismissed at the end of one school year, Slice crafted an editorial addressing the situation, and the people most affected. The Courier-Post ran the story, which stresses turning a negative into a positive.

Trauma-informed care, which Hopeworks deploys, focuses on asking youth questions and helping them understand a history of hardship. Slice used this Op-Ed as an open invitation for teachers to visit Hopeworks, and see how their methods are working, in order to create a win for the public education system following the lay-offs. The idea we proposed was that when the teachers returned to work, they would be better prepared to understand students’ emotionally fractured past.

When the piece ran, emotions were definitely stirred. It was shared numerous times on social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, broadening the exposure. Again, this was all about action though. The crowning achievement was when two teachers reached out to Hopeworks through email and phone, respectively. They reacted favorably and are currently working on arranging a meeting/tour of Hopeworks. Since then, Hopeworks has successfully sold trauma training to the Camden School District for recurring, earned revenue.

$20,000 from AT&T

Hopeworks wanted to take a stand on an important local issues: large corporations were beginning to build offices in Camden to take advantage of very appealing tax incentives. Hopeworks felt it imperative to encourage these companies, specifically their executives, to become immersed and involved in the community of Camden.

Slice immediately recognized the opportunity to engage these companies in a conversation about a partnership with Hopeworks. We combined our brain power with Hopeworks Executive Director’s perspective and personal invitation, and composed an op-ed entitled Developing, Retaining Talent Key to Camden’s Revitalization. The story urged these new neighbors to contribute to the growth of Camden beyond commuting to and from the new office park.

The Courier Post and The Philadelphia Business Journal ran the op-ed in print and online, a combined circulation of over 50,000 readers. The Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce retweeted the article, which grabbed the attention of an executive at the AT&T Global Brand. AT&T contacted Hopeworks right away and arranged a visit and meeting with Dan Rhoton, the Executive Director and author of the op-ed. AT&T leadership was so impressed by the incredible impact Hopeworks has on the futures of Camden’s youth, they awarded the organization a $20,000 grant. Hopeworks wanted to encourage corporations to get involved with the Camden community, and Slice’s PR efforts exceeded that goal. In addition to what is now an ongoing relationship with AT&T, Hopeworks has fostered new partnerships with several other new corporate neighbors.

Annual Appeal

At the end of 2017, Hopeworks’ Annual Appeal raised more in a single year than it had in many previous years combined. Donors who had given regularly significantly increased their donations alongside of many new donors. When the Executive Director ask what made existing donors give more, many told him it was the steady flow of good news and media coverage the organization had achieved over the year. Our team at Slice was overjoyed and reinvigorated to make 2018 even better.