Case Study

The Memorial Foundation

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Over the past twenty years, The Memorial Foundation has become a successful, respected and progressive nonprofit foundation, leaving an indelible footprint on the Middle Tennessee community.

The Foundation collaborates with and supports dozens of nonprofits throughout the region to enhance the quality of life for thousands of Middle Tennesseans, and responds to diverse community needs –partnering with agencies that focus on health, human & social services, education, senior citizens, youth and children, community service, and substance abuse.

The Memorial Foundation (Nashville, TN) annual report spread created by DVL Seigenthaler

Challenges / Objectives / Implementation

DVL Seigenthaler produces The Foundation’s annual reports. One particular year, our charge was to not only provide necessary information about The Foundation’s organizational and financial aspects, but also convey the incredible power that one person has to influence another person’s’ life, a theme The Foundation often sees in its agencies. Ultimately, The Foundation seeks to foster further support of the nonprofits it serves, not simply by providing them with funds, but by shining a spotlight on their success and accomplishments. This requires bringing the people and stories impacted by the grants to life in a highly visual, action-packed annual report.

DVL Seigenthaler developed an inspiring concept and theme for the report, titled: “Torches: Lighting a Path.” So much of The Foundation’s and its agencies’ impact come from influencing the course of someone else’s life. By holding a torch to light another’s path, one inevitably brightens one’s own. Integral to these agencies’ good works are the role models, mentors and teachers who pass along values, life skills, knowledge, career guidance, professional ambition, and passion. Hence, a torch is passed from person to person to person.

The target audience for the report included donors and opinion leaders throughout Middle Tennessee, and Executive Directors and Board members of Middle Tennessee nonprofits.


The Memorial Foundation’s staff and Board of Directors used the annual report as an important marketing and communications tool throughout the following year. As The Foundation’s only marketing piece, it focused on the ultimate impact of the grants provided. Each of the ten agencies profiled in the report relayed to The Foundation that they received positive feedback and enhanced visibility – and additional volunteer and financial support – due to the credibility provided by their inclusion in the piece.

The annual report also was successful in putting forth the idea that everyone can be a “teacher” regardless of their training, further clarifying the mission of The Foundation to fund a wide and highly impactful range of nonprofits in Middle Tennessee. The annual report helped to solidify The Foundation’s reputation as a thought leader and major funder of worthy area nonprofits while encouraging individuals to use their gifts and experiences to help guide others. At The Foundation’s Board meeting shortly after the annual report was delivered, the chair of The Memorial Foundation said, “This is the best annual report we ever produced in terms of conveying who we really are – who the nonprofits are – and the most valuable difference that grants make within the community.”