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The Wean Foundation


+ Brand and audience research

+ Brand architecture and voice

+ Positioning and messaging 

+ Visual identity system

+ Website design, copy, development

+ Collateral materials

+ Advertising

See Wean Foundation website


The Wean Foundation came to us to create a new website. Their existing brand was dated and the website lacked the functionality to serve as an effective platform for their programming, marketing and communications. Established in 1949, the Foundation was also transitioning from a family foundation into a community foundation focused on equitable community building in Ohio’s Mahoning Valley. 


Initial discussions with leadership led to a key decision: Before building a new website, we would conduct research to aid the foundation’s transition and fuel a holistic rebranding effort. We led a thorough discovery phase that took a fresh look at the organization’s purpose, vision of change, focus on racial equity, and mission as a community-driven foundation. 


Our findings report sparked a rich discussion with the Board and included a key recommendation: The time was right to move from being a quiet funder on the sidelines to being an active partner to residents, communities and institutions advancing the processes of equitable community building. With its history in mind, we suggested the Foundation had a unique obligation to give back to the people who originally built the Wean companies by championing a movement of empowered residents taking charge of their social, economic and intellectual development. Together with residents, the foundation could work to transform the lives of people, the service of leaders, and the effectiveness of local organizations.

With this shared vision, we moved to action: 


+ Naming: Advised on name change from “The Raymond John Wean Foundation” to “The Wean Foundation.”


+ Positioning and messaging: Moved the Foundation’s refreshed purpose to the heart of the brand, and crafted a cause positioning and messaging platform to rally residents, communities and institutions to learning and action. 


+ Visual identity: Shifted from a complex logo with the full legal name to a bold typographic solution. We modernized the color palette, selected new typefaces, and established a system of secondary graphics.


+ Brand style guide: Captured the new written and visual brand in an easy-to-use reference document to ensure all writers and designers could apply the brand consistently and coherently across all materials.


+ Website: Brought the new brand to life with a streamlined, user-centric website, and used research insights to inform user experience, information architecture, navigation and content. We streamlined page count and internal navigation to guide users directly to relevant content in just two clicks. 

+ Digital assets, reports and business papers: Created a suite of templates and materials for reports, presentations, social media assets, business papers, Zoom backgrounds and more to ensure consistent application of the brand across all touch points.


+ Signage and displays. Created the assets for signage so that, taken together, all brand touch points were consistent, clear and cohesive.


Positioning Statement and Narrative

Challenging the conditions that hold problems in place


We have learned it is not possible to solve entrenched challenges with entrenched beliefs. Fresh thinking, honest conversations, and resident-led approaches are required if we are to dismantle the entrenched systems that concentrate decision making and resources in the hands of the advantaged and place access to knowledge, opportunity, and power out of reach for the disadvantaged.

We must move race equity and inclusion to the center of this conversation. We must partner with the people most affected by systemic racism if we hope to identify and remove barriers to progress for all who call the Mahoning Valley home. As a community, we must face the fact that losses in human capital, innovation, opportunity, and dignity due to systemic racism are not only morally indefensible, they are costing all of us our future.


To solve the problems we face, we must trace them to their root causes. To trace problems to their root causes, we must acknowledge the history of systemic racism. To overcome racism, we must all learn to identify it, describe it, and dismantle it.


When we do this as a community, we will begin to create a healthy, vibrant, equitable, and economically stable Mahoning Valley.

Messaging Extracts:

Empowered residents creating an equitable Mahoning Valley


The Wean Foundation is dedicated to community building in underresourced communities of Ohio’s Mahoning Valley. In partnership with residents, we challenge the conditions that hold problems in place. We leverage a dynamic combination of grantmaking, capacity building, convening, and partnerships to provoke new thinking, strengthen communities, and disrupt the status quo to achieve our vision: empowered residents creating an equitable Mahoning Valley.

+ We integrate the principles of race equity and inclusion into our work and commit to creating a future where race has no influence on how a person fares in society.


+ Together with residents, organizations, and civic leaders, we cultivate connections, creativity, and collaboration to achieve our vision.

+ At the Wean Foundation, we support residents to lead, leaders to serve, and all of us to build an equitable Mahoning Valley.


+ Our holistic approach starts with residents and supports the ideas, insights, and innovations that emerge from action.

+ Join us in building a Mahoning Valley we can all proudly call home. At the Wean Foundation, we seek to partner with residents stepping up to lead, leaders learning to serve and all of us working to build a just and sustainable future.


+ From grants to workshops to events in Wean Park, we invite you to get involved. Every day, we see the power of resident-led action to improve lives — and our community. Together, we can all learn to realize a shared vision of an equitable Mahoning Valley a reality.

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