Philanthropic group hires GSG for public transit push

NEW YORK: The Rockefeller Foundation has hired Global Strategy Group to oversee a $1.2 million grant that will raise awareness of the benefits of Bus Rapid Transit systems.

NEW YORK: The Rockefeller Foundation has hired Global Strategy Group to oversee a $1.2 million grant that will raise awareness of the benefits of Bus Rapid Transit systems.

The funds will be divided among GSG and outreach partners in Boston, Chicago, Nashville, and Pittsburgh.

The foundation chose the agency after a competitive RFP process. It had not previously worked with the firm, said Alan Sexton, EVP of communications and digital at GSG.

Benjamin De La Pena, associate director of the Rockefeller Foundation, said the organization hired GSG due to its experience managing multi-city communications and public affairs campaigns and transportation experience. 

Local partners include Boston's O'Neill and Associates, The Strategy Group in Nashville, Pittsburgh's Bravo Group, and Grisko in Chicago.

In each city, the teams will work with local officials, business leaders, community groups, nonprofits, and transportation advocates to launch research, communications, and community outreach efforts to raise awareness of BRT systems.

“I think our biggest challenges will be to convey what BRT is and how it can be used to better communities,” Sexton said.  

The systems are at various development stages in each of the four cities. The project will run through the end of this year.

BRT systems have high-capacity vehicles that use dedicated lanes, as well as elevated platforms that are level with the busses. They tend to have enclosed stations that allow for off-bus fare collection.

The Rockefeller Foundation is providing the funds because it recognizes public transportation is critical to encouraging economic development in communities, said Nick Turner, MD of the group, in a statement.

The organization has provided more than $6 million to support efforts to expand BRT for the past three years. Until this point, the foundation was primarily focused on supporting research and design.

Last summer, the Rockefeller Foundation hired Neill Coleman as VP of global communications.

This story was updated on April 11 with more information about the agency-hire process.

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