Challenge Scholars

Challenge Scholars

Well Design Studio worked with Grand Rapids Public Schools and Grand Rapids Community Foundation to guide the parent-focused marketing for their joint Challenge Scholars program, a promise scholarship for students graduating from Union High School. While many in the community support the Challenge Scholars, many parents were not encouraging their students to participate.

“Our work with Well Design has been productive and successful for Challenge Scholars—the firm helped with revitalizing communication strategy, deep research with constituents, collateral material design and designing messaging and action around a grassroots effort. The work is high quality and thoughtful.”

– Cris Kutzli, Challenge Scholars Director, Grand Rapids Community Foundation

Through research, utilizing our community-centered design approach in conjunction with the Westside Collaborative, we found that parents did not understand the scholarship program or its intentions. Once they understood the project, our team found that the current messaging was not sending the appropriate message – it was too generic and broad. As an example, the original marketing was focused on this idea of “free college” and “dream big. However, through research, we learned that those ideas were missing the mark and, for free college, we were sending the wrong message to parents and students.

Instead, these parents were looking to for support with education and setting their kids up for success. Our message changed from “Free College” and “Dream Big” to “You’ve bought their school clothes, let us pay for their college,” and variations on that idea. This message focused on the support and the pride a parent takes in helping their child.

As this program targets a heavily Latinx community, Well Design Studio developed messaging using a Spanish-first copywriting approach. The firm wrote distinct copy in both English and Spanish that better fit the needs of the community. Further, Well developed a new program that worked with “champions,” which are nonprofits and businesses that serve this population, to help promote the scholarship and cheer on the students as they achieve their goals.

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