The Problem

The Caterpillar Foundation had been making grants on a quid pro quo for many years, following a traditional corporate foundation path. Partnerships were siloed from the Foundation’s giving strategy and there was zero connection from the Foundation’s giving to the business’ mission to position its products to advance sustainable progress and improve living standards.

The Strategy

To elevate a well-known foundation with a $50 million annual budget from an operational to strategic posture, Handshake overhauled its purpose and mission and built a thought leadership platform – Together Stronger – to position the Foundation for increased impact and influence. Handshake also built a partner ecosystem for the Foundation with partners that intersect with and impact its business.As the Foundation refined its mission, Handshake relaunched the Together Stronger website and built an entirely new activation for trade shows, exploring and explaining the Foundation's areas of expertise. The Community Builder activation puts visitors in the shoes of decision makers as they make key choices about resilience in the community through natural infrastructure, traditional construction, and investment in skills.

The Outcome

The Foundation’s strategic approach shifted from traditional grantmaking and siloed partnerships to a strategic integration of partner and grant activation with a through-line back to the business mission. Since the beginning of our engagement, the Foundation’s partner ecosystem has grown by 50% and has reached its goal of alleviating poverty for 50 million people.