Since 2012, the Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance has reached out to Solomon McCown to provide community relations and public affairs work.
With an ambitious goal of transforming the lives of more than 100,000 residents, the Alliance needed a communications partner to raise awareness of its Great Neighborhoods program. The program supports grassroots coalitions seeking to focus community stakeholders on the creation of well-planned housing, small businesses and green spaces that are close to public transportation so residents can work, shop and play where they live. SM& provided planning, coaching and consulting expertise for groups in five urban communities in and outside of Boston, meeting with each community coalition to develop top-line key messages to guide outreach to residents, leaders, government officials and businesses. We created five written and customized communications plans to elevate awareness of the program through a combined effort of community, media and government relations. We identified anecdotes and individuals and conducted successful media outreach on behalf of the program to illustrate momentum, convey program milestones, and tell the personal stories of people who have been directly impacted by the program, resulting in local and national media interest.
SM& also worked with the Alliance to develop a communications strategy to gain exposure for its Zoning Reform Legislation in key legislative districts, as well as reach business leaders and Massachusetts voters. We placed op-eds highlighting the benefits of the law for each region in 16 publications across the Commonwealth while the legislation was pending, many of them co-authored by local elected officials or stakeholders. The Boston Globe editorialized in support of the bill—twice, and this work was recently recognized by the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Planning Association.
Through the Alliance’s social media channels, SM& raised awareness of the Brownfields Redevelopment Fund, a program that funds the assessment and cleanup of contaminated sites around the Commonwealth and supported the Alliance’s grassroots campaign to drive constituents to contact their legislators in support of the Fund. SM& also served as an intermediary between the Alliance and the MassINC Polling Group, to facilitate a statewide survey to determine support for the Fund that was released to legislative leaders and the public. The Boston Globe also editorialized in support of recapitalizing the Brownfields Redevelopment Fund.