Two execs outline their mission to help nonprofits

Carolyn Berkowitz and Carrie Fox will launch Mission Partners in January.

Carolyn Berkowitz (L) and Carrie Fox
Carolyn Berkowitz (L) and Carrie Fox

WASHINGTON: Carrie Fox, founder of eponymous firm C.Fox Communications, and Carolyn Berkowitz, former president of the Capital One Foundation, have combined their expertise to bring nonprofits and corporations together with new agency Mission Partners.

After Berkowitz left her role at Capital One Foundation in October, Fox reached out to see what her next move was. Berkowitz had not yet decided.

"We have known each other for a long time in a lot of different ways," Fox said. "At Capital One she was responsible for giving out grants to communities and nonprofits, so she was the funder for a lot of the work I was doing the last couple of years. She also sits on the boards of several of my clients, so we have worked together in the past. We found that we had a significant amount in common."

Fox, who was already planning to launch Mission Partners, asked Berkowitz to be part of the new agency geared toward nonprofits and mission-driven companies. Berkowitz joined the new agency as a partner and Fox will be partner and CEO.

Fox said she had been working on Mission Partners for about a year and plans to launch the agency in January. But the nugget of the idea began about eight years ago, when she pivoted what C.Fox offered and who the agency worked with.

"In 2008, we made significant change to become fully mission-driven," Fox said. "We ended relationships with some clients and started working only for nonprofits and socially-conscious for-profits as their communications arm."

Now with Mission Partners, Fox and Berkowitz will be strategic advisers to their clients, helping them obtain funding and develop their missions, partnerships, and CSR initiatives, along with traditional communications work such as branding and campaigns.

C.Fox, which Fox founded 13 years ago, will essentially morph into Mission Partners. Some staff will stay on and Fox said they are also looking for new talent. Many C.Fox clients will also move over to Mission Partners.

"For a long time, we were seen as the interim communications manager, where you could call on us to do media relations, social media, or develop comms materials," Fox said. "It’s almost a shift of thinking from C.Fox, which was that interim communications manager, to an interim chief communications officer or chief innovation officer. It’s a different caliber of work now."

Fox herself said this area was attractive to her as she began "getting deeper and deeper into [her] own philanthropy," she said. Fox is involved with local community organizations like Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, Montgomery County, the Purpose Collaborative, and Community Profits -- the latter two she also co-founded.

"There’s no shortage of great communicators, but this was a niche that still needed to be filled, even more so after the president election," Fox added. "It seems like people have been waiting for someone to step up and figure this out. We’re happy to be in the mix and start to bridge that big gap between nonprofits and corporations."

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