CMD, Tools for Change

Be bold, be insightful, be imaginative, and share success. These are the values that creative agency and Habitat for Humanity partner CMD lives and breathes each day. Co-owner Darren Rankin embodies these values as he is inspired by CMD’s commitment to community impact efforts. 

When Covid swept across the world at the beginning of March of last year, the Portland area’s economy and small businesses took a huge hit.  At the same time, Darren and his team at CMD found that they had a little spare time and wonderful talent to put to good use. 

“John O’Connell and I had the idea to create Open for Business, an initiative that exists today that we’re really excited about,” explains Darren. “In 2020 and early 2021 we helped around 40 different small businesses here in the Portland area and we are looking forward to doing more in 2022.”  

Darren describes the initiative as “match-making for small businesses and talent looking to help;” aligning creative talents, either freelancers or agencies, with small businesses that need some level of pro bono marketing and design resources. Now, as we head into the new year, Think Northwest, formerly known as the Portland Ad Federation, loved the Open for Business initiative so much that they are taking it on as one of their core social impact initiatives for 2022. 

In addition to supporting small businesses, CMD has a tradition of supporting local nonprofits through its own social impact committee. After their staff volunteered to build homes with Habitat in NE Portland’s Cully neighborhood, CMD decided to choose Habitat for Humanity Portland Region as its primary nonprofit pro bono partner for 2020 and 2021. 

“I just love the utility of getting out there on the build site, grabbing a shovel, getting dirty, and doing work,” shares Darren. “When the family sees their new house, you get chills, you get excited, and you realize you just did something amazing. Habitat for Humanity became a very easy partnership for us to focus on and continue.”

One of CMD’s first projects with Habitat was a complex task: to create an educational video and a brief overview of Portland’s legacy of systemic racism in housing that still continues to impact Black communities today. The video complements Habitat’s Race and Housing blog series and helps educate our local community on Portland’s history of discrimination.

During the final stages of Habitat’s $25-million Triple Your Impact campaign, CMD launched a bold and creative plan to help shine a spotlight on Habitat for Humanity’s local impact and inspire our community to be tools for change. The awareness campaign included a humorous television spot featuring local celebrities Storm Large, Amy Roloff, Matt Roloff, and Mel Brown.

“When I look at the work holistically, I really smile,” says Darren. “I think we worked with Habitat for Humanity on two different approaches that have two different points of impact, but are still complementary together.”

To learn more about the Be A Tool For Change campaign—and to make a gift to support Habitat’s goal to triple the number of people in safe, affordable homes—visit our Be A Tool page.

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