Fund for the School District

Our Goal

Promoting essential investment in today’s students and tomorrow’s workforce during a crisis.

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced Philadelphia schools to close, local leaders were concerned that learning would be stunted. What planning could they do to help kids catch up?

Services we provided
  • Crisis Communications
  • Media Relations
  • Messaging
  • Brand Building
  • Strategic Planning

The ideas being considered at the School District of Philadelphia required money, and lots of it, at a time when a cratering economy was and is devastating state and local budgets. That’s when the Fund for the School District of Philadelphia announced that it had received a $5 million contribution from Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, his wife Aileen, and their family, to purchase laptops for Philadelphia students to begin learning from home. Soon afterward, the Fund, under the leadership of Donna Frisby-Greenwood, announced donations from the co-managing partners of the Philadelphia 76ers, Bank of America, Crown Castle, and others.

Sage moved in quickly to work with the Fund and its generous partners, often at a moment’s notice, developing and coordinating messaging and working with the media during this ongoing crisis. We understood that under these circumstances, things were changing, and we had to adapt communications accordingly.

It was no surprise to us. When Sage and the Fund began working together in 2016, the Fund was a small organization responding to a very big need. We stepped in to help.

Many want to support the City’s schools but are hesitant to donate without knowing where their money is going. The Fund for the School District set out to fix that problem by building Philly FUNDamentals, an online platform that connects donors directly to schools’ needs. Each of 200 school principals identifies their biggest needs, and donors then pick a school and give online to help the school meet that need. Quicker return on investment for donors; greater equity among our public schools. Everybody wins.

To bring this tool to the community, Sage created a communications action plan to launch and market it. We created toolkit materials for schools to market; produced a motion graphic to promote it; ran a launch press conference that resulted in valuable media coverage; designed a business leaders event to bring companies on board; and leveraged Eagles “underdog” Lane Johnson’s campaign to raise huge funds for the schools with digital billboards, news stories, videos, and social media.