The Challenge

Today, in Oakland, California, less than half of third graders read at grade-level. The Oakland Literacy Coalition brings together families, schools and community partners all committed to the reading success of Oakland’s youngest learners.

When we first met with the Rogers Foundation’s Cassie Perham and Sanam Jorjani, they sought strategic communications to better engage their audiences and champion literacy in their home town. Initially, MDC fulfilled their capacity needs for storytelling and to expand their digital presence.



We quickly came to the conclusion that by shifting and focusing their strategy, the Coalition could be a better literacy catalyst. Through our close work with these two rising leaders, Oakland Reads 2020 was re-positioned as a citizen engagement campaign of the Oakland Literacy Coalition. And the Coalition shifted to emphasizing its strongest work – supporting and strengthening Oakland’s active and diverse literacy tutors, teachers and advocates. The Oakland Literacy Coalition is now an independent organization, its clarity of purpose and connection to partners are stronger than ever.



MDC provided the strategic communications counsel and capacity to support the Coalition’s move to independence and a strategy that shapes their community approach. A new website highlights its independent identity as a catalyst and literacy champion.  






Beginning with audience research , MDC worked closely with the Coalition to shape their brand and empower the coalition’s literacy work through a new website. 

MDC communications support enabled one of our foundation initiatives to successfully evolve into an independent coalition. Today, aided by MDC’s counsel, the Oakland Literacy Coalition has launched a new strategy, brand identity and website that empowers the coalition to work together so that all of "Oakland kids learn and love to read.”

Rhonnel Sotelo, Executive Director, The Rogers Family Foundation