October 15, 2020

Mayor Lightfoot, City’s Chief Marketing Officer and Top Creative Agencies Announce Pro-Bono Pledge for A Stronger Chicago

‘By Chicago. For Chicago’ pledge includes 17 agencies that will donate 1% of all staff hours worked to pro-bono support that makes life better for Chicagoans across all 77 neighborhoods
Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

CHICAGO – Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, the City’s Chief Marketing Officer, Michael Fassnacht, and senior leaders from Chicago’s creative agencies, PR and strategic communications firms and health care focused marketing organizations today announced By Chicago. For Chicago a commitment to dedicate a percentage of all hours worked towards non-profit, social and cultural organizations and City agencies. The initiative will connect organizations with agencies to tap into their resources and capabilities to provide pro-bono services to increase the organization’s bandwidth and creative capacity. These could include but are not limited to the development of creative campaigns, social media content, marketing materials, integrated media strategies and virtual or live events.    

"As we continue working to ensure all Chicagoans remain updated, informed and cared for during these unparalleled times, the collaboration from our partners in the creative fields will be incredibly invaluable and sharply increase our capacity to answer to these needs," said Mayor Lightfoot. "Thanks to this pro-bono pledge, we will not only formalize the hard work that many agencies have already done to leave a lasting and positive impact on our neighborhoods and communities, but also highlight and tap into each agency's talent and expertise for years to come. I want to thank each of the 17 agencies that have committed to this initiative and look forward to working with them as we improve life for our residents across our entire city." 

“In the agency world, 1 percent of a person’s billable time in a year is only about 20 hours, but imagine multiplying by hundreds, if not thousands, of professionals to harness Chicago’s creativity and marketing power for good,” said Michael Fassnacht. “Collectively, we want to contribute our talents to highlight all of the incredible things right here at home.”  

This pledge formalizes the ongoing pro-bono work that many agencies already performed for City agencies as well as local non-profits and cultural institutions to message important information to residents and amplify their own messages. Examples of recent pro-bono work include theChicago Design System, Stay Home. Save Lives, We Are One Home Team and the Esto Salva Vidas campaign. 

The Chief Marketing Officer will work closely with these agencies to help identify and suggest initiatives and projects based on each agency’s strengths. However, agencies are encouraged to select their own pro-bono projects based on their own abilities and interests. 

The 17 agencies that have signed on include: 

  • BBDO 
  • Burrell 
  • Current Global 
  • DDB 
  • Edelman 
  • FCB 
  • Flower Communications Group 
  • Havas Chicago 
  • InTouch Group  
  • Leo Burnett 
  • dentsu MCGARRY BOWEN 
  • MSL 
  • Ogilvy 
  • OKRP 
  • SCC 
  • VSA Partners 
  • Zeno Group  

“As a multicultural marketing communications firm, our agency is proud to stand in partnership with such a talented and respected roster of global communications leaders,” said Michelle Flowers Welch, Chairman and CEO of Flowers Communications Group. “For nearly 30 years, we've helped to build relationships between some of the world's most iconic brands and multicultural audiences. We're excited to support the City of Chicago, through By Chicago. For Chicago, especially during this historic moment in time. We look forward to bringing meaningful and impactful perspectives that help to enrich life, especially in Black and Brown communities, in the city we love.” 

“When Dan Edelman founded our firm in Chicago 68 years ago, he led the way for the industry by promoting work that had important civic value, not just financial value,” said Kevin Cook, President, Edelman Chicago. “By Chicago. For Chicagoexemplifies Edelman’s legacy and our dedication to the prosperity and future success of the city.” 

“We love our city’s mantra, Chicago Hustles Harder. Chicago is an incredible cultural hub and community of creators, thinkers and doers,” said Nikki Laughlin, President & Chief Client officer of Havas Chicago. “As a creative industry, we have the unique ability and responsibility to be a force for positive change. Collectively we can make a real impact by dedicating our time and talents to the issues that are directly shaping the lives of Chicago residents and their futures.”  

“Leo Burnett believed that advertising held a higher purpose—a “broad social responsibility” to help others. That belief still captures the spirit of our agency, born during the Great Depression, and as well as the spirit of Chicago,” said Andrew Swinand, CEO, Leo Burnett Group. “We are proud to be a part of this pledge to Chicago, our hometown, in creating a more clear, equitable and inspired path forward for all our fellow citizens.” 

“We applaud Mayor Lightfoot for harnessing the power of Chicago’s creative community to help make Chicago an even better place to live and work,” said Nancy Ruscheinski, Chief Operating Officer, Zeno Group. “Zeno is proud to be one of the participating agencies, and to continue to provide meaningful pro bono support to benefit the city.”  

 “Creativity is the most valuable superpower of our times,” said Tonise Paul, Chairman at Energy BBDO. “The City of Chicago’s initiative By Chicago, For Chicagois a brilliant way to harness the extraordinary creative resources right here in our city for the good of our city and Energy BBDO is thrilled to lend our creativity to help make our great city even greater.” 

“As a group of passionate communicators and problem-solvers, we have a responsibility to use our talents to influence and change culture,” said Virginia Devlin, CEO of Current Global. “At Current Global, we have prioritized giving back to the communities in which we work, focusing our pro-bono efforts on organizations that address racial inequality and injustice, so we are proud to support the By Chicago. For Chicagopledge.” 

“VSA Partners is proud to have worked with the City of Chicago on some of its most iconic design and branding projects of the past 30 years. There is no greater honor than to continue this partnership into the next chapter by tackling the critical, complex issues of today’s communities,” said VSA Partners President Anne-Marie Rosser. “By Chicago. For Chicagois an exceptional initiative supported by an inspiring group of colleagues—this is the beginning of a better Chicago.” 

“Ogilvy has a longstanding presence and an innate love for the city—we are truly an agency By Chicago and For Chicago with a team that has been providing pro bono campaigns for the City and it’s many iconic institutions for years,” saidCathy Francque, Managing Director, Ogilvy Chicago.  “This year we gifted the City it’s new visual identity in the Chicago Design System, and have long been working to help the City bring communities together such as with the powerful One Chicago campaign. We are pleased to make this formal commitment and to continue to lend our talents to the City we call home.” 

Agencies interested in joining the pledge and non-profits and other organizations interested in receiving pro-bono support can contact Alison Bouchard at alison.bouchard@cityofchicago.org. The group will convene on an annual basis with Mayor Lightfoot to report on all pro-bono activities for each prior calendar year.  

Earlier this year, Mayor Lightfoot announced Michael Fassnacht as Chicago’s Chief Marketing Officer to work alongside public and private partners to create a unified, citywide marketing, branding and business development strategy. This commitment built on Mayor Lightfoot’s economic development commitment to drive inclusive, transformative growth by leveraging the inherent qualities and strength of Chicago’s neighborhoods, including and beyond downtown. The CMO works alongside city departments as well as partner organizations, including World Business Chicago and Choose Chicago, to coordinate marketing, branding, and business development at every level of the city's operations and industries.  

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