Redesigned Website Highlights Robert R. McCormick Foundation’s Impactful Approach to Philanthropy

Operational Assessments | Recruiting and Staffing | Strategic Planning

First impressions are formed in seconds, and you never get a redo. So, websites have a big job. They need to be clear, compelling, and concise enough to tell an organization’s story at a glance. At .orgSource we love meeting this challenge. We were honored to have the opportunity to put our skills to work for the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.


Col. Robert R. McCormick is a storied figure in Chicago philanthropy, journalism, and civic pride. McCormick was the editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune newspaper for more than 40 years.

Establishing the foundation that bears his name was among his many accomplishments and benefactions to the city. For 66 years, the Foundation has played a leading role in Chicago and across Illinois by developing educated, informed, and engaged citizens. The Foundation envisions a Chicagoland comprised of thriving communities where all individuals have the resources and opportunities to succeed, without regard to race, income, ethnicity, gender, or ZIP code.

In March 2020, when Timothy P. Knight became president and CEO of the $1.5 billion philanthropy, he saw an opportunity to make an even more significant impact.

Knight directed the communications team to take a more focused approach with the presentation of McCormick’s initiatives on the website. The team, led by the previous director of communications, Phil Zepeda, developed a streamlined content strategy that directs attention to the Foundation’s priority areas and the neighborhoods where it is investing, as well as highlighting partnerships.

.orgSource Vice President of Marketing and Communications Services, Jane Pearson, facilitated the website redesign. Pearson is a branding and marketing expert who excels at helping organizations translate their missions into platforms that move hearts and minds. She was eager to work with the Foundation team to create a site that would promote broad-based support for McCormick’s important work.

The challenge

Pearson helped the team to articulate their needs and develop an RFP that summarized those requirements. After thoroughly vetting applicants, the group chose ThirdWave LLC, a Chicago-based web developer,  to provide the technical expertise and creative inspiration.

The team began a series of weekly design meetings. They explored color palettes and layouts and discussed content strategy. The template they chose divides each page into three rectangles bisected horizontally. There are six asymmetrical spaces for images and content. The fresh, innovative style is enhanced by stunning photographs from the Foundation’s extensive library.

The group opted to let the images be the primary storytellers, with a streamlined narrative providing supplemental information.

The Solution

Launched in October 2021, the new website delivers a bold, contemporary, and succinct message with a design that captures attention. In addition, the improved navigation makes it easy to search and user-friendly.

Pearson and the team are hopeful that the new website will help the McCormick Foundation more clearly express its value to the Chicagoland community.

“It was a pleasure to work with this team,” Pearson advises. “They are committed to the Foundation’s mission, and it is always exciting for me to help people who are making the world a better place.”