Creating Corra Foundation – reflections on a transformative year

As an organisation we’re a bit like people born on the 29 February in a leap year. Although we’ve been around for 33 years, today we celebrate our 1st birthday… as Corra Foundation.

As well as being an excuse for cake, this seems like a good point at which to stop and reflect on the journey that got us to our name and brand. Rebranding is something many charities do, whether to breathe fresh life into how they present themselves, or because they are changing and their name and brand need to change too. For Corra Foundation, we had two reasons: the ending of our historic relationship with the bank; and the need for a brand that reflects the organisation now and in the future.

So, a year ago we became Corra Foundation.

This was the result of a lot of work and thinking among our staff and Trustees, as well as with many of our partners, trying to reach a name and brand that would support our aspirations into the future.

We realised early in the process that the range of our work – grant making, community development, influencing policy and practice, offering services via our social enterprise – meant that a ‘does what it says on the tin’ name wasn’t an option.

Through the many conversations we had it became clear that people wanted a brand that was gently Scottish, that felt inclusive and inviting, and that reflected the idea of creating change.

Visually, our brand is intended to bring to mind ripples, capturing our aspiration to create change that reaches further than our organisation, and that has some lasting impact. Earlier versions of the logo used only closed circles and our staff in particular felt that this didn’t match the open, inclusive approach that we seek to display.

The colours are a subtle nod to our history, taken from the Duncan Modern tartan and giving us a connection to the Reverend Henry Duncan. Reverend Henry Duncan established the savings bank movement (the roots of the TSB bank) in Scotland with the aim of providing access to banking for people throughout communities, not just those with the greatest means.

And so, to the name; Corra. We looked far and wide for inspiration and considered many many options. Corra comes from Scots mythology and relates to ideas of looking to the future, to knowledge and to change. People liked that is sounded Scottish and that it manages to sound both soft and bold at the same time. And that seemed to reflect our organisation. We want to be a foundation that people want to work with. But being soft doesn’t mean being timid.

Our name has changed but our mission remains the same; to make a difference to people and communities, by encouraging positive change, opportunities, fairness and growth of aspirations, which improve quality of life. We will only achieve that if we are bold, perhaps even brave at times.

We still have work to do to make sure everyone knows who we are, but we’ve been lucky to receive warm, often curious responses to the rebrand. In our first year as Corra Foundation we’ve tried new approaches, developed our existing work and had the privilege of continuing old friendships whilst also forging new ones. These relationships – with individuals, communities and organisations – continue to be at the heart of how we work.

One last thing before heading off to eat the aforementioned cake – we should really answer the question we most often get asked about our name…

Corra rhythms with ‘Laura’ (not ‘Nora’) (but really we don’t mind how you say it).

 

Original Blog post on Third Force News on 27th August  

 

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