According to the National Institute of Justice, nearly half of the individuals recently released from incarceration return before the end of their first year out. Refoundry is on a mission to change this by providing formerly incarcerated people with skills and opportunities to achieve financial independence and become leaders and job creators in their communities.
Refoundry approached us with the goal of creating a marketing campaign to increase awareness of their mission. Refoundry’s unique approach to addressing the cyclical nature of poverty and incarceration doesn’t fit within traditional program categories for previously incarcerated individuals. This uniqueness creates challenges for storytelling and fundraising.
With a service-led approach, we conducted research with employees, program participants, and volunteers through interviews and strategic workshops. Our research identified an opportunity for the stakeholders to co-create Refoundry’s core brand identity, galvanize the organization, and articulate their mission in a clear, digestible way that would appeal to their different audiences.
The identity conveys a humble hero – someone who is courageous, naturally determined, and skilled. 'Handmade with heart' references how the furniture made by program participants ends up in the homes of those in their communities. 'Craft' was the internal name of a concept that we collectively moved forward with, fused with 'Authenticity' – real people doing real things. We complemented 'Craft' and 'Authenticity' with the idea of the 'Challenger,' because Refoundry is changing the model of re-entry by giving participants the tools and training they need to become active participants, job creators, and role models in their communities. After all, Refoundry didn’t ask for a seat at the table, they built one.
Participants, staff, volunteers, and board members now have a clear vision and are strategically aligned on how they tell their story. Refoundry immediately implemented the brand, transforming external communications and improving their onboarding process. The new brand has helped Refoundry secure continued sponsorship from individuals and organizations, including Wells Fargo, eBay, Starbucks, and Robinhood.