Four Promises

When The Pittsburgh Promise was founded,
it made four bold promises to the city:

1. Send all eligible urban youth to college
or trade school with a scholarship.

2. Promote the reform of urban schools so that Pittsburgh’s
young people are prepared for success.

3. Invest in its region’s workforce by preparing
the next generation of workers.

4. Raise $250 million to make all these things happen.

We worked with The Promise on a number of projects involving both educating the city’s youth about the program and strategizing and equipping the massive fundraising effort that supports the program.

Brand & Identity

When we began working with The Pittsburgh Promise, there was little brand recognition among city residents—especially given the remarkable amount of scholarship money it was raising. Our first goal was to clarify the organizational identity and promise to its audiences by ensuring visual and verbal brand consistency across all lines of communication. This meant redesigning everything with the same message and brand: emails, the website, donor thank you letters, and informational brochures.


The Promise’s annual fundraising goal was $15 million. We helped The Promise clarify and re-focus their message for each audience, which revolved around two key points: 1) This program was one of the most effective ways of addressing inequality in public schools, and 2) Equipping Pittsburgh’s youth with a college education would bring tremendous economic results for the city in the future.

We Are Pittsburgh’s Promise

A significant audience of The Pittsburgh Promise is the potential recipients of the scholarship: high school students in Pittsburgh Public Schools. The main problem The Promise faced was that many students were confused about how to get the scholarship. To address the problem, we facilitated a number of photo shoots to gather relevant assets, and then we created a simple, clear print piece that could be handed out to students in the lunchroom or school hallway. By featuring portraits of actual students in a school setting, we also made this piece aspirational. The result was a handout that simplified the requirements for the scholarship while providing a sense of pride and aspiration to the students of Pittsburgh Public Schools.


Cultivate carried this messaging into The Promise’s web presence by highlighting human stories and impressive numbers showing the difference the program was making. Part of this marketing included a custom “dashboard” featuring real-time fundraising goals and number of scholarships allocated.


As of May 2017, The Promise has reached some incredible goals that show the effectiveness of its fundraising efforts and the collaboration that we’re proud to be a part of.