Developing Citadel’s philanthropic strategy

The Challenge

In the spring of 2020, SYPartners partnered with Citadel to create a more impactful vision, strategy and execution plan for their philanthropy. Within the first month of our engagement a global pandemic hit America and the BLM movement gained widespread traction. 


Our challenge was to seize the moment to make a positive impact on society while remaining true to Citadel’s roots and values.


Philanthropic Strategy

Execution Planning 


Stakeholder Management



The Process

Our vision was to unify the city of Chicago—the birthplace of Citadel and its founder, and home to 35,000 high school seniors who were denied a traditional graduation ceremony as a result of the pandemic. The first move—in partnership with Citadel’s leadership, the mayor’s office and the ABC Localish team—was to build the strategic framework of Chicago’s virtual graduation. We wanted to make the entire experience hyperlocal with city partners. We developed the tagline “For Chicago, By Chicago,” which became a unifying component throughout this ceremony. 

The Results

The ceremony received over a million live views. After the graduation, Citadel helped develop a $50M, 4-year initiative to provide over 100,000 Chicago public school students broadband access. Inspired by research and the firsthand accounts of parents struggling to get their families connected to remote learning and other essential support, Citadel worked with the city and Chicago public schools to initiate this first-of-its-kind, scalable solution to address the issue and galvanize additional funders.