Ellis Strategies supports public relations for Citizen Schools, a national nonprofit that partners with public middle schools to expand learning opportunities for low-income students through experiential learning. Citizen Schools is the second largest utilizer of AmeriCorps volunteers and has established partnerships with companies like Google, AT&T and Cisco.
During its three-year engagement, Citizen Schools has gone through a number of changes, which has demanded a careful media strategy. The organization shuffled its top management; eliminated services in some regions while expanding in others; and started a process to reimagine how it utilizes public and private money to have a greater impact. Ellis Strategies focused on highlighting and publicizing educational successes, partnerships that bring civic and business leaders into the classroom, and public policy initiatives aimed at improving opportunities for all school children. ES successfully minimized “bad news,” while maximizing opportunities to tell good stories. As a result of the work, Citizen Schools has been highlighted for its unique approach to experiential learning in major news organizations like Forbes Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, WCVB TV in Boston and YES! Magazine, among others.