Illinois Leading ChangeJuly 22, 2016
Since 2009, Illinois Partners for Human Services has been leading efforts to reframe and rebrand human services in Illinois. With a grant from the Chicago Community Trust, Illinois Partners engaged a consulting firm in Chicago to conduct focus groups throughout the state. The focus groups targeted, and the campaign seeks to enlist, those who would be nontraditional advocates: business leaders, policy makers, and others.
The result is “Human Services Works,” a statewide public awareness and advocacy campaign designed to shape the narrative about what it takes to make Illinois communities strong. In particular, and similar to our national efforts, the campaign seeks to connect the disparate human services organizations so that the public understands that the sector is an interconnected system critical to a thriving society. Now more than ever, public understanding of and support for human services is critical—especially in Illinois, which has been without a state budget for over a year.
Judith Gethner, founding Executive Director of Illinois Partners, was an early supporter of the national reframing project and has worked diligently to integrate the research findings into the local initiative. She is also a member of the esteemed cohort of local human service executives who attended a FrameWorks Institute-led training in Phoenix earlier this year that was hosted by the National Assembly and funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
“Changing the perception of Human Services is a long-term effort. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day advocacy work and lose sight of the big public perception issues we face. In Illinois, we are dealing with a historic crisis around the lack of a state budget, and we are trying to apply many of the lessons of the new messaging framework to all our advocacy work,” Gethner commented.
Gethner has been a key advocate in mobilizing the reframing initiative at the local level saying, “Here in Illinois, we’re taking the lessons of the framing initiative and building a statewide messaging platform that presents human services in new ways. Our partnership with the National Assembly is great for making sure the innovative work being done nationally gets applied on the ground in our state.”
Human Services Works uses a variety of communications tools, including videos using the technique of whiteboard animation to explain the complexities of human services. Check it out!