Client: Annie E. Casey Foundation

Recognizing that their grantee organizations addressing child welfare issues could benefit by learning from peer organizations, the Annie E. Casey Foundation launched an initiative to bring organizations together to do just that.

The project identified organizations that exemplified best practices in community-based programs for youth and created modules out of those practices. The goal of the initiative is to pair organizations that wanted to adopt those practices with the providers that exemplified them. Red Rooster Group laid the groundwork with discovery and messaging for the initiative, developed the name Provider Exchange and created the logo, and wrote and designed the brochure to launch the initiative.


The Need for the Provider Institute

  • To provide support for organizations that are trying to evolve, keep up with the changing needs of those they serve, and respond to recent research in the field.
  • To provide both the tutorial and cultural transformation support – how to achieve practice improvement and innovation.
  • To provide an opportunity to open eyes to other options and help change their thinking – helping organizations see possibilities.
  • To share best practices and help guide implementation.


  • CEO: Typically a leader who can communicate change message —change requires that kind of leadership.
  • Boards: If there is no leader, we must appeal to the board to think about and lead the change. Boards are well connected with assets like land, buildings, cash.
  • Foundations: In a position to recommend the Provider Institute to their grantees.
  • Donors to Nonprofits: Donors who believe in the need for change. Requires spending time with donors to make sure they understand why the change was better and to show successes. Is there a role in the PI messaging for assuaging donors’ concern?
  • Nonprofit Staff: “We had to spend time with our unions to show them the benefits to the agency.”

Marketing Issues

  • There is a lot of anxiety about change, in the private sector – keep hearing about change, not all are ready for change or don’t want to change.
  • Addressing the individual challenges in each state. For example, other agencies don’t have unions or union problems. Our story is working in NY, working with unions – people perceive each agency as having unique issues, but we have more in common than what separates us.
  • Addressing Competition Among Agencies: A lot of competition among agencies so working with an agency that is not in direct competition with them, or in their market. “We don’t want to give away our secrets.”
  • Making a Compelling Case for Change: The agencies really need to know why this change will be good and the impact on lives in honest and concrete terms. (It has nothing to do with funding or strategy created somewhere else.)
  • Assessing the priorities in each state: If a new commissioner has it as a priority.
  • Helping people experience success so they can feel positive about it. Take the pressure off.

Provider Institute’s Advantages

  • Provides “the cookbook” and someone who shows you how to do it.
  • The Providers are doing the work every day, so they understand all the ramifications.
  • Because NYC just got a federal waiver to bring evidence-based work to child care, PI in a year will be able to talk about this with confidence. We will be one of the few to have done the work with hands-on knowledge.
  • Bringing very relevant work to the table — not just commenting on the work or reading about the work.


Primary Messaging Concepts

Peer-to-Peer Support: A core function of the Institute, which provides high-quality technical assistance and guidance on best practices to fellow agencies looking to evolve.

Effective Solutions: Building capacity and effectiveness within agencies to help them improve outcomes and succeed financially.

Family-Centric Care: Focused on helping each child grow and succeed; nurturing individually.

Transformation: The Institute’s fundamental goal is to assist in the evolution of care; to help agencies transition to new and better models, from residential care to family-based care that may begin with short-term residential treatment.

Best Outcomes: Focused on benefits experienced by the end users – the children and their families.

Key Message Points

  1. Each provider has specific areas of expertise and are committed to sharing information about transformation in their agencies with their peers.
  2. The intention is to scale up practices that are effective.
  3. Hands-on advice from those who have done it. About practical implementation, not just theoretical. Documented in robust toolkits.
  4. Peer consultations that can be individualized to the needs of each agency in a way to that is sensitive to agencies’ concerns about change.
  5. Targeted to organizations that are ready for transformation.
  6. Provides different entry points for agencies to engage in the process.
  7. Providers work collaboratively with other agencies to meet a transformational goal.

Boilerplate Language


The Provider Institute, a group of successful child welfare agencies with specific areas of expertise, is committed to sharing information and providing practical, peer-to-peer support to help fellow agencies make needed organizational changes. The objective is to scale up the most effective practices in community-based care that improve services and outcomes for youth and their families. By providing hands-on support, one Institute provider helps one agency identify and leverage particular services that can best facilitate change over time.

The Provider Institute, a unit of the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the only organization providing this kind of peer-to-peer support, is dedicated to helping agencies achieve better results more quickly and to drive needed change throughout the sector.


Child welfare agencies that recognize the value of providing care for children in family settings rather than in congregate care may face a difficult time in transitioning their agencies to this model of service. Facing boards and donors that may be concerned about change and leadership that may lack the knowledge of how to usher in transformation, agencies don’t know where to turn for help.

Until now.

Understanding that agencies would best learn from each other, the Annie E. Casey Foundation marshaled its expertise in the child welfare sector to bring together the best practices for nonprofits around the county that have undergone this transformation themselves. The selected agencies will provide hands-on assistance through “modules of excellence” in service models and administrative functions to other agencies looking for this help.

Called the Provider Institute, this is the only entity providing peer-to-peer support in the sector — an empowering way for organizations to engage in change through the entry point that is best for them, and to learn in a way that respects the needs of their individual organizations.

The approach of working one-on-one with agencies around the country is intended to inspire a sea change across the child welfare landscape, ultimately resulting in better opportunities for tens of thousands of children to recognize their full potential.


Naming Criteria

  • Should position the Institute as a different type of entity (not a nonprofit organization).
  • Should connote peer-to-peer learning (or at least not contradict that – not emanating from a single source)
  • Focus on outcomes.
  • Should be “practical” and about real change and implementation
Should Not
  • Should not use the word “training.”
  • Should not sound like the name of a child welfare nonprofit agency or association.
  • Should not be associated with Annie E Casey Foundation.
  • Can be an evocative name, but also wants to see names that are slightly descriptive.
  • Can potentially use a metaphor.
  • May need to work under the auspice of the Association of Children’s Residential Centers.

Basic Types of Names and Taglines

Though names, taglines, and messaging in general can have a broad range of characteristics, here is a fundamental range of categories used to discuss names and taglines to get us started.

Types of names fall in a range from Descriptive to Abstract.

Descriptive: Names that state the message simply and clearly (Children’s Aid Society, Marin Abused Women’s Services)

Evocative: Names that suggest the message emotionally or psychologically (Kickstart International, Crossroads, Kaboom!)

Abstract: Names that attract the demographic without addressing the message directly, or perhaps not at all (Lighthouse International, Apple, Xerox, Amazon)

The names we are initially exploring for the Provider Institute fall into the Descriptive to Evocative range. Since a name and tagline must work together and complement each other, the following strategies will help us to determine how the two elements can work together.

Viable Name and Tagline Strategies

Typically, a more evocative name might be paired with a more descriptive tagline, and vice versa. And sometimes a descriptive name is paired with a descriptive tagline, thus creating a further level of messaging.

Here are examples of how these three strategies might work for the Provider Institute. The name examples, below, are just that, examples of types of names to illustrate the strategies. The taglines also have been composed just for this illustration, and have not gone through a process of creative development.

Evocative Name with Descriptive Tagline


Providers sharing best practices for optimal outcomes.

Descriptive Name with Evocative Tagline

Progressive Providers Network

Strategizing a better future for every child.

Descriptive Name with Descriptive Tagline

Best Care Collaborative

An inter-agency network of progressive care providers.

Initial Name Ideas

This initial list of naming ideas can be used to gauge your expectations and preferences for the main messaging concepts to be conveyed, the types of names preferred, and specific words that resonate, resulting in a direction to pursue for the next round of name exploration.

Peer to Peer

Peer Exchange






Practice Sharing Institute

Field Practices Network

Agency Practices Network

Effective Solutions

Best Care Collaborative

Best Practices Collaborative

Effective Practice Advocates

Child/Family First


Transition Partners

Progressive Providers Network

Progressive Practices Exchange

Care Evolution Institute

Catalyst Collaborative

Peers Forward

New Vision Network


Advocates for Better Outcomes

Best Outcomes Initiative

Brighter Futures Institute

Safe & Well Net

Going Home

Selected Name: Provider Exchange

Visual Identity


After a successful first year, the program is now serving a new cohort of organizations.

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