The Center: Pursuit

In the fall of 2015, ttweak was approached by David Baldwin, President of SCF Partners, to consider what was then an outlandish idea. David wanted to ride his bicycle across the nation—that next Summer—in the service of raising $11 Million for The Center, Houston’s venerable organization with 66 years of service for adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD). David and his wife Maire have tirelessly supported The Center for decades.

ttweak and David strategically planned for the mission to include learning visits with other institutions across the country involved in similar work. In coordination with David’s 3,500 mile cross-country bike route, these “learnings” offered an opportunity to share best practices between organizational peers and to bring successful ideas back to The Center. Furthermore, this generated unified and meaningful national discourse on a topic that has been largely neglected—the needs of the IDD population.

From these ambitions emerged a broader, more aspirational goal that this effort could one day serve as the universally acknowledged fundraising platform for the IDD community—akin to Susan G. Komen or March of Dimes. From a communication standpoint, this project was deeply challenging:

  • Despite its strong reputation within the IDD community, The Center was not well-known to the general public
  • David had no national recognition or celebrity
  • David’s route was mapped through the northern US, while our fundraising beneficiary was located in Houston
  • For many reasons, everything needed to happen within six months

ttweak’s vision to successfully attack these challenges began with a comprehensive branding package including:

  • Naming the project
  • Identity Package Creation including: design, logotypes, color palettes, copywriting, key message development, messaging templates and other collateral materials
  • Support vehicle wrap design and production supervision
  • Swag design and consultation
  • Photography
  • Creation, production and editing of initial campaign videos to quickly ramp up potential stakeholders and contributors

Additionally, ttweak co-chaired the Pursuit Media and Communication Committee, secured national and regional Public Relations partners (STFPR and Noisemaker), and played an instrumental role in framing and securing certain funding targets.

Finally, ttweak conceived of Pursuit Mission Control, a home base for the campaign in the heart of The Center’s campus. Midway led the effort to repurpose and renovate the space so that supporters of the cause could virtually “ride along” with David and Team Pursuit as they crossed the United States. Equipped with large screens projecting the daily rides and eight stationary bikes, Mission Control was an extremely dynamic, innovative, and successful way for those unfamiliar with The Center and its population to learn and get involved. Mission Control helped bring an unprecedented level of visibility to the The Center, particularly within the Greater Houston community.

A few metrics of Pursuit’s initial success:

Pursuit stats