Welcoming the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund

The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund is part of Gord Downie’s legacy and embodies his commitment, and that of his family, to improve the lives of First Peoples. The Fund operates out of the Toronto Foundation.

The Fund is focused on cross-cultural education to support healing and recovery. The Downies and Wenjacks know we need to better understand each other before we can truly reconcile. The Fund will foster new relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, while strengthening the voices and work of groups already making a difference.

What did we do?

MediaStyle was brought in during the earliest stages of the Fund’s development. Given our work in social innovation and with Indigenous-serving organizations, this project allowed us to leverage all of our strengths.

Brand identity

The Fund needed a strong visual brand in order to make a big impact when it was first being introduced to Canadians. We leveraged Gord Downie’s iconic hat from August 2016’s Tragically Hip concert as the main identifier for the Fund’s logo.

It was important to strike a balance between an identity that can be used for fundraising purposes, while also being used for rock-style merchandise.

Communications and donor strategy

MediaStyle created the first donor information documents for the Fund, as well as created all public-facing digital properties.

Corporate positioning

MediaStyle completed an analysis of existing organizations currently doing work in Indigenous communities, and provided counsel about how the Fund would be able to make the most meaningful impact.

Through its collaboration with MediaStyle, the Fund was able to determine its mission and vision, and its objectives for its first six weeks and 18 months.

Media relations

MediaStyle collaborated with the Secret Path creative team and production company in order to create an earned media strategy that would maximize exposure and interest.

The Fund has a series of important and nuanced stories to tell. MediaStyle worked to ensure the best spokespeople were selected and prepared to help the Fund get off to a strong start.

Event management

The Fund’s first major events will be concert performances by Gord Downie at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa and Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto. The concerts also represented the official launch of Gord Downie’s Secret Path album and a graphic novel from artist Jeff Lemire.

MediaStyle has managed all protocols, ceremonial activities and dignitary invitations for these events.

It was important to ensure area Elders were consulted with, as well as the audience includes youth and Survivors.

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