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Little City Honored Among ‘Best of the Best’ in Midwest for Community Relations and Improving Quality of Life in Society

Little City Foundation (LCF), renowned for serving children and adults with autism and other disabilities, received this year’s Publicity Club of Chicago (PCC) Quality-of-Life and Golden Trumpet Awards

With a modest budget, a noble mission and aggressive ambition, Little City last year rolled out a strategic integrated communications awareness campaign to educate and enlighten thousands of Chicagoans on the prevalence of autism and other disabilities. Early this month, the non-profit organization received two of the industry’s most prestigious accolades for the effectiveness of its efforts.

Little City’s awareness campaign developed in response to dwindling state budgets that placed individuals with autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), their families, and their communities in Illinois at great risk. It also evolved to combat the stigma associated with autism and the need to enlighten members of the greater Chicago community on the prevalence of disabilities in Illinois and throughout the country.
“At Little City, we not only provide the very best of services to hundreds of children and adults with disabilities, but we serve as a resource for the state community; we advocate and we educate,” commented Executive Director Shawn E. Jeffers. “Our marketing and communications team believed that an autism awareness campaign was one of the best ways to help mark our Golden Anniversary year in a way that would benefit all individuals with disabilities, and we agreed.”
The PCC serves as the premier communications industry association in Chicago, and hosted its 52nd annual Golden Trumpet Awards where it presented Little City with its esteemed “Edwin J. Shaughnessy Quality of Life Award” recognizing the year’s foremost contribution to improving quality of life in society through public relations—one of the coveted top four honors selected from winners spanning 22 categories.
Little City Executive Director Shawn E. Jeffers stands with Tina Maraccini, Lisa Hoffmann, Dana Rice and Board Member Sid Liebenson at the 52nd Annual Golden Trumpet Awards where the team won in ‘Community Relations” and ‘Quality of Life’—one of the coveted top four honors
“The statistics regarding autism and intellectual and developmental disabilities both on a national level and state level are alarming,” stated Director of Communications & Marketing Lisa Hoffmann. “Though there is support to search for a cure for autism, we wanted people to realize that there are individuals with pervasive needs who need support today, and Little City stands devoted to them through everyday service and leading-edge advancement in the field of disability care.”
“We had three major objectives for the campaign,” added Director of Strategic Market Engagement Dana Rice. “Educate the greater Chicago community on the prevalence of autism and other IDD, enlighten thousands by portraying individuals with autism in a positive light, and serve individuals with autism and their families by providing resources as well as encouraging support and inclusion within their neighboring communities.”
The autism awareness integrated communications campaign included “Little City TV: The Only Live Autism Awareness Show in Chicago,” web and social media promotion, media relations, direct marketing, television placement, outdoor media placement and print placement over the course of three months.
“The creative we developed focused on bright, smiling faces of children with simple, easy-to-read fonts and minimal copy on a clean, white background. The visual communications of many non-profits today often ‘victimize’ those they serve in order to grab attention,” commented Graphic Designer Tina Maraccini. “It was paramount to us to position our children and adults as they should be: happy and empowered.”
The campaign resulted in millions of impressions, thousands of web site visits, and hundreds of inquiries to Little City.
Little City’s autism awareness integrated communications campaign also received the PCC’s 2011 Golden Trumpet Award for community relations, which gives tribute to “communications programs seeking to serve, educate, enlighten or influence a specific community or communities.”
“Chicago is an incredible, national hub for the field of PR and communications, and to be spotlighted among this company of fellow practitioners is so humbling,” concluded Hoffmann. “I have no doubt in my mind that the mission of Little City, and the smiles and eyes of the children and adults we serve, drove us to do our absolute best for them…there’s nothing else I’d rather support…there are fewer things more worthy of attention.”

About Little City
Being a leader for 60 years, Little City continues to be inspirational and transformational in developing its 56-acre therapeutic community in Palatine. From a modest beginning of three homes and 16 residents primarily with Down syndrome, Little City has grown into a recognized leader offering a wide array of innovative services to more than 1,000 clients weekly. In addition to the Palatine location, Little City has a Community Services Office in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood, adult service centers in Palatine and Waukegan, and 15 adult community homes and one children’s group home located throughout suburban Cook and DuPage Counties.

Today, Little City’s comprehensive program portfolio includes vocational training and employment placement, foster care and adoption, home-based family support, health and wellness, recreation and therapeutic activities, disability awareness and community education, a day school and an award-winning arts program. Visit www.littlecity.org.


Tina Maraccini, Director of Communications & Marketing
Phone: (847) 221-7855

“Little City uses an affirming message – that it’s a good world, there’s a place for my kids in the world and Little City will help them find it.”

Rachel, mother of children receiving home-based support services