Case study // Radcliffe Foundation

A story-driven website design

The ECHO storytelling team wasted no time in outlining a path to execute the development of the new look and feel of the website. Thank you for your dedication and creativity.
— Lara Dauphinee, Director, The Radcliffe Foundation


The nonprofit Radcliffe Foundation was founded by successful Canadian mining and entertainment executive Frank Giustra. Since 1997, it has supported many causes both at home (from Streetohome to the Boys Club Network) and abroad, where it partners with global change makers like the International Crisis Group and the International Rescue Committee. The unprecedented refugee crisis in Syria, Turkey, and Greece was the catalyst for Radcliffe to redesign its website to raise awareness for this urgent need, raise funds, and more clearly explain its unique and proven private-sector approach to philanthropy and aid delivery.


  1. An audit of the current site’s content and presentation convinced us that our first priority was to clarify the foundation’s aims and its unique value proposition — the private-public approach that sets Radcliffe apart.
  2. Early planning included the creation of a URL to move the foundation from a corporate (.com) domain to a nonprofit one (.org). This signalled our intent to emphasize the charitable nature of the foundation, and to begin to shape visitors’ path through the site, from education to a commitment that they could help. We worked closely with the Radcliffe team to finesse our approach and delivered wireframes for site architecture that would productively guide users’ experiences.
  3. Story development involved understanding the Radcliffe Foundation’s core work. We sought to form larger narratives into which the site’s existing stories of struggle and success might fall. This included the founding story of how Frank Giustra originally became committed to philanthropy. On every page and in every story on the site, we also sought to connect back to Radcliffe’s mission, emphasizing the continuity of charity that the foundation has supported.
  4. Site design and development took place alongside content creation as our designers, developers, and story creators worked with the Radcliffe team to visually — and interactively — articulate the larger story.

The new customized WordPress site captures the Radcliffe Foundation’s passion and its unique, private-sector approach to aid delivery. Stories outlining the efficiency and power of this direct-impact philanthropy fill the site, leading visitors to that final moment when they cannot help but click the DONATE button, inspired to do their part to help the desperate and the resilient around the world.

One more cool thing

Partway through, Radcliffe announced it would collaborate with the Vancouver International Film Festival on a documentary contest to raise awareness about the refugee crisis. Grand prize: $20,000. We had only weeks to launch the site, and the high-profile jury was waiting. We didn’t let them down.