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Connell's Community Collaboration

Updated: April 15, 2022

As a market research and brand strategy consultancy, we help companies shape their futures by better understanding and connecting to the people they serve. Now more than ever, we want to use these same skills to help those in the local community who may not otherwise be able to afford our services.

Through the annual Connell Community Collaboration (we adore alliteration – a lot), The Connell Group will select one Chicago-based organization who will receive a pro bono strategy and research project worth up to $40,000.

Applications will be open from April 18th through May 20th!


Ready to apply? Please apply here.

Have more questions? Keep reading!


What is Connell’s Community Collaboration (or Cx3)?

  • Connell’s Community Collaboration (or Cx3) is an initiative aimed at applying The Connell Group’s strengths and expertise to helping the community around us. We want to lend our market research and brand strategy talents to local, determined organizations that are focused on bettering the community — whether that be through health, education, social welfare, community development, or beyond! By helping wonderful organizations increase their impact, we can do our part to make the world a better place.


Why are we doing it?

  • Chicago is home to many incredible companies and we have had the pleasure to work with many of them. However, we know that there are also extraordinary organizations that cannot get the capacity building services they need to reach their needs and goals. We want to help them grow too! We put a lot of love and effort into our industry client work… now we want to work with you.


Who should apply?

  • Local organizations focused on health, well-being, education, social welfare, and community development
    • 501c(3), 501c(4), and 501c(7)
    • Community Centers
    • Incubators/startups focused on health, well-being, education, social welfare, and community development
    • Don’t see your specific type of organization? Don’t worry – we have an option for “Other!”


  • Our selection criteria is focused on choosing an organization that:
    • Is trying to make our city a better place focusing on health, well-being, education, social welfare, or community development
    • Expresses a need for services, and has limited funds/resources
    • Is excited about the opportunity to work with a team of consultants ready to help develop and execute a research program tailored to their needs
    • Has the ability to execute on strategic recommendations

Why should your organization apply? (Spoiler: Because it’s awesome.)


  • It’s tough saving the world! You’re the heroes. We’re here to help.
  • If your organization is in need of any of the following, please apply!
    • Prioritizing initiatives to focus on the work that has the biggest impact
    • Understanding your audience's most important or unmet needs
    • Raising awareness of your company or organization
    • Balancing long-term goals with short-term business needs
    • Creating a plan for growth
    • Defining your target audience
    • Differentiating vs. similar organizations
    • Increasing revenues/fundraising
    • Launching a rebranding initiative
    • Launching new products or services
    • Activate your audience’s experience
    • Mapping your audience’s journey (decision making, purchase, etc.)
    • Refining external communication and marketing efforts
    • Increasing volunteer/staff engagement


What’s with the application?

  • We just want to get to know you a bit and understand your organization’s goals. We promise this one’s short (~15 minutes).
  • Applications are open from April 18th until May 20th.


What happens after you apply?

  • We will select four finalists that we'll ask to participate in a one-hour introductory call.
  • The winner will be announced at the end of June and we will kick off the project immediately.



  • If there is one thing we’ve learned in over 20 years in business, it’s that every situation is unique. If you have a specific question unique to your organization, please don’t hesitate to shoot us an email (


Past Grant Recipients

2021: As our 2021 grant recipient, The Connell Group collaborated with Communities In Schools of Chicago. CIS of Chicago surrounds students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. Through our research and strategic efforts, we created customized audience messaging maps to drive higher engagement and ultimately increase CIS of Chicago’s community impact.


2020: As our 2020 grant recipient, The Connell Group collaborated with Minds Matter Chicago. Minds Matter Chicago connects driven and determined students from low-income families with the people, preparation, and possibilities to succeed in college, create their future, and change the world. Using our strategic thinking, our team formed a holistic engagement plan that outlined various critical pathways to ensuring the sustainability of their mission and goals.


2019: As our 2019 grant recipient, The Connell Group collaborated with Imerman Angels. Imerman Angels is a support network for cancer fighters, survivors and caregivers that was created on the belief that no one should have to face cancer alone. Through our research and brand strategy expertise, we worked with Imerman Angels to create a compelling and cohesive brand narrative that effectively communicates what their organization does.