"Over the many years I have worked with Melcher+Tucker Consultants, I have always been impressed with their professionalism, strategic thinking and willingness to do what it takes to get things done. Their cheerful competence and wise guidance helped me and my organization successfully navigate through complex and challenging situations."
Illinois Collaboration on Youth
Message Development, Media Relations, Advocacy
Illinois Collaboration on Youth (ICOY) is the leading statewide membership organization advancing the interests of at-risk youth and families, delivering programs, services and advocacy. At a time of growing budgetary pressure on the human and social services sector, ICOY sought to raise visibility and understanding among the public, funders, and legislators of the importance of sustained support for community-based programs that keep juveniles out of the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Greater awareness became even more critical in 2016, when the State of Illinois, operating without a budget, stopped funding much of the sector.
Since 2012, Melcher+Tucker Consultants has worked with the CEO of ICOY and with the leadership of its member agencies to build targeted media relations and messaging campaigns aimed at key constituencies. We have assisted with writing new collateral describing programs and impact; provided counsel on building social media advocacy campaigns; and, helped write, edit and place Op-Eds and Letters to Editor across the State. MTC has positioned senior staff as expert resources throughout communities and with key legislators in the Illinois General Assembly. Beginning in mid-2016, we led all communications strategy and execution for Pay Now Illinois, the coalition of nearly 100 Illinois nonprofit agencies, organized by ICOY, suing state agencies and the Governor seeking payment for state contracts. MTC created messaging for the coalition, developed a Pay Now Illinois website, and coordinated all media outreach.
Leadership of ICOY member agencies and ICOY’s CEO are recognized as key voices on the importance of community alternatives to incarceration on youth, families, and on efficient allocation of public resources. These leaders are regularly cited across media and are authors of commentary throughout the State. Especially notable is the awareness raised through the Pay Now Illinois lawsuit and advocacy campaign, galvanizing media coverage, including editorial support, locally and nationally, around the central message that paying agreed-upon contracts is a basic business obligation. Pay Now Illinois has been featured in such outlets as the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune, Crain’s Chicago Business, Associated Press, Bloomberg, NPR, and Reuters, among others.