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When Marketing Feels Great

Sometimes it’s difficult to gauge the impact of our work in marketing. Even though our focus is always on the Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) metric, some work just doesn’t fit neatly into quantification. That however, changed dramatically the other night, when McKnight Kurland was honored by Voices for Illinois Children for our work on the development and implementation of the ‘Look Through Their Eyes’ campaign to increase the public’s awareness of childhood trauma. To put it mildly, we were floored by the accolades for our contributions to this campaign. By the end of the night, we truly felt we HAD moved the needle on awareness and we re-doubled our commitment to the remainder of the campaign.

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Of course the evening was a celebration of the work done by Voices, and a call-to-action for the work yet to be accomplished. And, it was a celebration of the 27 years of service from the wonderful Gaylord Gieseke—a powerful force for Voices and for children. For those who don’t know, Voices for Illinois Children is a statewide, nonpartisan, multi-issue advocacy organization that is committed to building better lives for children. The event—ILLINOIS KIDS COUNT 2015—celebrates children and their annual Illinois Kids Count report, examining the quality of life facing children and families throughout the state.


The Illinois Kids Count 2015 report, “Confronting Poverty, Creating Opportunity,” reveals that the extent and persistence of child poverty reflect not only the lingering effects of the Great Recession, but longer-term economic trends as well.

The keynote speaker was Wes Moore, child advocate and author, who mesmerized the audience with his life-stories, humor and heart. His book is The Other Wes Moore: “Two kids with the same name living in the same decaying city. One grew up to be a Rhodes Scholar, decorated combat veteran, White House Fellow, and business leader. The other is serving a life sentence in prison for felony murder. Here is the story of two boys and the journey of a generation.” His poignant story reinforced the theme of the report and the work yet to be done.

It was a moving evening and a stellar collection of devoted individuals—too many to name—and we now proudly consider ourselves a part of this larger force for good. McKnight Kurland has always supported numerous charitable organizations—the ADL, AIDS Foundation Chicago, United Way, to name a few—but this work we are doing for the Illinois Childhood Trauma Coalition is now nearer and dearer to our hearts. I urge you to visit the website, learn about childhood trauma and its devastating effects, as well as what you can do to both prevent it and recognize it. Our campaign sign-off sums up this most rewarding evening: ‘There is help, and there is hope.’


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