William Penn Charter School

Project: Viewbook

Partner: Turnaround Marketing Communications

The Strategy behind the Story

Revelation: Especially in a constrained economy, we wanted to make sure that access was a key message and that the viewbook did what the School itself does – opens its doors to reveal a friendly community, energy, opportunity and excitement inside. 

Abundance: Penn Charter has many of the qualities of an Ivy League university – a distinguished history, superb curricular and co-curricular opportunities for students, a community peopled by top students and faculty, and a state-of-the-art campus. We wanted to create a viewbook that unpacked this abundance in an exciting and accessible way.

Personality: Penn Charter people are extraordinary. The viewbook is infused with the voices, personal stories and photos of the Penn Charter people – students, faculty and coaches, parents, and graduates.


The Story

The dream of the classic education is very much like the American dream. The classic education doesn’t care where you were born, where you live, or what you wear. The classic education teaches how to think, not what to think. It’s an education that brings together your intelligence, new ideas, optimism, and work ethic so that you can go wherever you want in life. Penn Charter’s “Reinventing Classic” viewbook included six chapters: A History of Access, Reinvent Classic with Us in which “old” and “new” teaching methods and experiences were compared; All Three A’s – Academics, Arts, and Athletics; A Quaker Moral Compass to Find Your Way; Welcome Inside – a look behind Penn Charter’s red doors through photo overviews of Lower, Middle, and Upper School; Timeless Skill Set – short, quick profiles of a first grader through alumni and their takes on the Penn Charter skill sets they’ve acquired.


Project: Campaign Communication Strategy and Materials

Partner: Turnaround Marketing Communications

The campaign series that Jarrell and Turnaround developed to promote the $47 million "Frameworks for the Future" campaign for Penn Charter went beyond the realm of the traditional case statement. Donors were inspired to participate not only in the campaign but in the mission of the school. We started by engaging Penn Charter constituents in facilitated conversations about the school’s culture, their definitions of success, and their hopes for the future. These conversations were filmed and what might have been just research became content for an unconventional case statement that received the CASE national silver award, as well as a campaign video.

The four-part case statement of small keepsake books were titled:

Book I

Are You Part of Penn Charter’s Counter Culture?

Book II

How Do You Define Success?

Book III

What Gives You Hope?

Book IV

Will You Step Out of Line?

Each book involved potential donors in Penn Charter’s mission by asking a provocative question – while the reader and the alumni, parents, students, and teachers featured in the books bring their own hopes and beliefs to each question, their answers make the case that an investment in Penn Charter is an investment in a better world. Books III and IV also included donor stories and a detailed giving guide for donors at all levels. An overwhelming success, the campaign kickoff event was originally planned for 400 but 600 RSVPd and attended. The campaign closed in 2007, surpassing its original $40 million goal at $47 million.