Community Foundations

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Community Foundations - Brand Positioning

Community Foundations use branding to promote who they are and showcase themselves to the communities they serve. The use of colors, language, graphics and logos are used to connect to their unique regions and express their values. This ties each of these examples together. They each take different approaches in reaching donors and tackling problems in their areas. Below is a detailed description of our findings.

Examples of Brand Positioning

We chose each Community Foundation below because they all recently changed their brands using a professional marketing organization. These examples give insight into the reasons and meanings behind each part of the re-design. All have a picture of the physical branded copy as well. We had to make some assumptions as to why the brands chose certain colors, words and graphics because it wasn't always expressed. Each foundation has a common theme of togetherness and impact. They also use their color pallet, language style and graphics to reflect and connect with the communities they serve. Staying modern, connecting with the younger generation and becoming tech savvy is a goal of every foundation listed. All are US based and are either the largest in the country/region or the oldest. We believe it is most helpful to evaluate the brand positioning of foundations that are successful and credible.

#1. Minneapolis Foundation

One of the oldest community foundations in the United States is the Minneapolis Foundation. Recently, they have given what they call a "face lift" to their brand while still trying to keep their traditional theme intact. Subtle changes like removing "the" from Minneapolis Foundation and changing the three squares into "one circle that represents the "unity and diversity" of the community. They incorporated vibrant colors to show the foundations "energetic outlook and approach to their community". The wording focuses on "community, impact and making the most out of donations". What sets this brand apart is a focus on their history as a reliable, established non-profit that both donors and those in the community can trust.

The way they present themselves to the community is in three main ways. First is through charitable funds (1,200 in total) which "enables individuals, families and businesses to support causes they are passionate about". Second is through investing their "grant making resources" in programs ("education, civic engagement, and economic vitality") that will help their community thrive. Finally, they advocate and "help shape public policy around critical issues" having invested almost $60 million last year in services to better the Minneapolis community. These things display the dedication of this foundation to the people they serve and can also show how they are remembered in their community.

#2. Lancaster County Community Foundation

This foundation decided to completely change their brand. This included their "logo and identity, office environment, print materials and strategic positioning". Their goal in this was to present themselves to the community as an organization there to empower and greatly impact the people they serve. This also helped establish credibility and respect within the community. The colors and graphics were designed to be bold, modern and connect with young people. To set themselves apart from other brands they introduced the use of the word "extraordinary" to their brand.

The way Lancaster presents themselves to their community is through grants and investing but also through tackling some tough issues. They focus on the refugee crisis and poverty in their community and express that they are committed to seeing an improved future for Lancaster. This is the impact they have on their area and how they are remembered to the people they serve. They also have over "$100 million in community assets that help support Lancaster every year". They invest portions of this back into community organizations each year.

#3. Boulder County

Next, Boulder County chose to revamp there brand to be more "upbeat and vibrant" to reflect the "energy and activity" of their organization. Making changes to their logo, tag line, typography and adding "mood boards and style guides" helped to make their new brand stand out. Another way they have set themselves apart is by using full page ads to show themselves as a local partner that can inspire the people and connect the community with causes they care about.

Boulder County presents themselves to their community in areas such as financial investments and grants. They have granted over $75 million to non-profits in 26 years. Some main areas this foundation is making a difference in include: animals, environment, arts, basic needs, children, civic engagement, education, health/human services and geographic funds. They are remembered in their community for the aid they give in all these areas.

#4. Silicon Valley Community Foundation

Finally, the last example is the largest Community Foundation in the country. This brand is more professional, focusing on corporations and the highly educated (which encompasses the majority of their community). They use simple designs and subtle colors in their logo which is different from the other three examples above. They also use language that is more advanced but they still promote unity and improving their community.

Silicon Valley presents themselves to their community through things like events, conferences, "strategic grant making", legal help for immigrants, education, scholarships and healthcare. They work with various donors to be remember by and impact their community. This is seen in the various areas they work in to improve the lives of the people they serve.


To wrap it up, each example of branding from these four foundations selected have both similarities and differences. They all cater to their communities and seek to tackle issues in their area. They take different approaches using different language styles and graphics but are all successfully impacting their respective communities.

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