Bringing the conversation to light around depression and suicide so that no one suffers in darkness
In 2014, the Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation was created on the principle of bringing the conversation to light around mental health, specifically depression and suicide, after the tragic loss of Jordan Elizabeth Harris. Suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in the United States with approximately 1.2 million suicide attempts every year. Yet the stigma around depression and suicide remains. In order to fight these harrowing statistics, Schaefer had the honor of partnering with the JEHF in 2022 to support and promote their second Light the Trail Ride.
The Ride: A 1,800 mile journey of hope
The Light the Trail Ride is a cross country biking excursion that is supported by riders and donors who wish to pledge their time and support to bring awareness and reduce the stigma of depression and suicide. It is the cornerstone effort of the JEHF and the ride strives to encourage supporters to share their stories and give others all over the country a safe place to speak about their experiences with mental health. Between the two rides in 2017 and 2022, The Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation has raised significant funding and awareness around the gravity of this topic and been able to support continued research focused on treating depression, suicide prevention training, creating resources and facilitating education opportunities.
Schaefer had the privilege of serving as the marketing partner of LTTR to promote their second ride in 2022. They came to us with a challenge in lack of awareness and support of the their efforts, and we were able to work together through strategic planning, digital asset development and collateral material creation to re-launch the Ride because it aligns with our values as an agency and we were able to share our expertise and skillset. In addition, Schaefer saw the opportunity to bring this crucial event to life in the eyes of more people through a documentary film and trailer. Available budget was an obstacle, however Schaefer was compelled to support this initiative and solicited a like minded partner out of Milwaukee, WI called Z2 Marketing who was willing to provide supporting video production services in exchange for involvement with this powerful initiative. Schaefer was able to donate the remainder of investment to continue bringing the Light the Trail mission to life. What followed was the production of a documentary that captures the riders along their journey in addition to their own personal, compelling stories. This video further advances the mission of Light the Trail and the Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation, and Schaefer’s goal through these collective efforts was to walk alongside this inspirational team to make their event a success and champion their cause.
User experience and activation of the #Ride4 effort
Another key motivator around the effort is the promotion and honor of the #Ride4’s of each rider and the community at large. This is a unique way that the riders and the foundation overall can bring the stories forward of loved ones whos lives have been tragically taken as a result of suicide. Schaefer had a unique opportunity to strategize the best way to promote the submission of Ride4’s and prioritize their position on the website to encourage form fills and subsequent promotion of these empowering tributes on the LTT social media pages.
Schaefer implemented numerous functional and user experience updates to create a more seamless tool to promote and accept donations in advance of the ride, as well as encourage Ride4 submission and sponsorship form fill. In addition to these optimizations, Schaefer also streamlined the Foundation’s existing CRM to further encourage passionate individuals to get involved with the next Ride and the Foundation overall.
Elevating the user experience and showcasing excellence
In addition to digital services, it was important to the client that Schaefer provide traditional marketing services that properly married the digital presence with the real life iteration of the brand and its mission. The Schaefer Account Service and Creative team worked closely alongside the Foundation’s team to ensure a delivery of marketing support materials that communicated the very real impact that mental health has on people and manifested this in printed one pager material, bike shop promotional flyers, and a rebuild of the LTT primary logo for 2022 that would support ongoing efforts for the team internally as they navigated the route in real time.
Overall, the sentiment behind this impactful project is the direct alignment with Schaefer’s mission and ultimate goal to Make Life Better. It’s at the core of what we do and a foundational piece of how we interact with and serve our clients, our partners, and our colleagues inside and outside of work. The Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation and the Light the Trail initiative are a real life embodiment of this mission and we’re proud to call them partners in work that truly matters, and to have played a small part in making this event a success.
Get involved or share your story
Whether you participate in a future Light the Trail Ride, make a donation, or share a story, you are helping bring the conversation around mental illness and suicide awareness to light and bringing us one step closer to living in a world where suicide is never the choice.
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or a crisis, help is available. Please dial 988 for support via the suicide prevention hotline.