Foundation Zooms Forward with a Refreshed Brand

Sep 08, 2014

NORWALK, CT, Sept. 8, 2014 – In 1992, Tiger Woods was 16. There were only 10 registered websites. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the year at 3,301.

Times certainly have changed even in the conservative world of philanthropy right here in Fairfield County. Labor Day weekend a foundation headquartered in Norwalk zoomed forward from 1992 with a “tweaked” name and blue abstract logo designed by Norwalk’s TFI Envision, a branding and positioning agency.

Its challenge was to refresh the look and feel of a community foundation that back in 1992 was formed out of five small community foundations that merged to form the Fairfield County Community Foundation. You won’t be seeing its dark blue compass symbol any more.

“But don’t worry, we are not going away,” President and CEO Juanita James (Stamford Resident) said in announcing the new name and logo on Sept. 3. “We’re going forward.” The new name is Fairfield County’s Community Foundation with the tag line: Together We Thrive.

A small punctuation mark—an apostrophe-s—was added to its name and its logo was replaced with a graceful, bright blue upward sweeping icon. “They wanted an image that showed motion, upward-lifting action,” recalls Elizabeth P. Ball of Stamford, who is the president and creative director of TFI Envision.

James explains the desire to refresh its brand came about because the Community Foundation has evolved as it has grown. It now stewards $180 million.

As the Community Foundation serves those who establish charitable gift funds, it also conducts research on Fairfield County issues, launches initiatives and forges partnerships to tackle critical needs. Its Center for Nonprofit Excellence provides training and networking opportunities to hundreds of local nonprofits, helping them run more efficiently and become even more effective.

“From the scope of work we’re doing, we realized we had become Fairfield County’s Community Foundation. It was time to update our name, change our logo, and fine tune our vision and mission to accurately reflect the work we’re doing now, and where we’re headed,” James says. “We want to foster a vital and inclusive county where every individual has the opportunity to thrive.”

TFI Envision’s Roy Barker says they looked at logos of other community foundations, nonprofits and financial institutions across the country. “You would be surprised how many have chosen a tree or even trees with roots as their symbols.” James and her team wanted something more dynamic. “So we just started with the map of Fairfield County and brushed in upward strokes. Suddenly we were on to something that appealed to our client,” Barker says. Ball added that the final design actually can be overlaid on the county map.

James says the new icon, tagline and refreshed mission and vision statements capture the energy and optimism among staff, board members, fundholders, partners and supporters for achieving measurable impact throughout Fairfield County.

She cites three examples of recent countywide impact actions:

  • In March the Community Foundation launched Fairfield County’s first Giving Day, a 24-hour period of online giving to local, registered nonprofit organizations. Within 24 hours, 9,212 donors contributed $750,000 to 267 local nonprofits. This year’s Giving Day is March 5, 2015 with a goal of raising $1 million for local nonprofits.
  • In May, Mental Health month, the Community Foundation released its research report, “Healthy Minds, Healthy Communities” based on 70 hours of community conversations about the Connecticut and Fairfield County mental health system. The conversations and report brought the taboo subject out in the open, identified challenges and presented solutions. Grassroots action steps across the county are underway. The report is available at here.
  • A new initiative of the Community Foundation is to help Fairfield County’s young people achieve self-sufficiency by age 25. There are 100,000 youth ages 16-24 in Fairfield County who face unemployment rates from 13.6% in Danbury to 49.5% in Bridgeport and some of the nation’s most expensive housing. Watch for news about this coming soon.

Fairfield County’s Community Foundation promotes philanthropy as a means to create change in Fairfield County, focusing on innovative and collaborative solutions to critical issues impacting the community. Individuals, families, corporations and organizations can establish charitable funds or contribute to existing funds. The Community Foundation has awarded $180 million in grants to nonprofits in Fairfield County and beyond. This tax-exempt charitable foundation is in compliance with the Council on Foundations’ national standards. For more information, visit