CUDO Gives 2017

Over the weekend of March 31-April 1, CUDO held a create-a-thon to benefit Courage Connection, a local non-profit helping victims of domestic violence. The event, titled CUDO Gives, brought designers, artists, and other creatives to collaborate and produce original artwork that could be used in Courage Connection’s future marketing.

Courage Connection offers emergency shelter, transitional housing, counseling, tenant-based rental assistance, and job training to individuals who are escaping domestic violence. CUDO sought to create inspiring visuals and messaging that embodied the strength, resilience, and determination of the people served by Courage Connection.

Friday Night: Generating Ideas

CUDO Gives kicked-off Friday night at [co][lab] with a presentation from Courage Connection and a client of the organization sharing her personal story of fleeing an abusive relationship.

CUDO’s volunteers listened and asked questions, then transitioned brainstorming to the large whiteboard areas around the [co][lab]. Several central ideas emerged that would shape the rest of the session:


  1. Recognize that reaching out is a brave action
  2. Emphasize the positive; open doors to conversation by making a heartfelt connection with the public rather than being sensational or shocking
  3. Educate people so they can discern abusive situations, especially important for a younger audience
  4. Look to rebrand the victim/survivor, so a person is not defined by their past
  5. There are two audiences: the people in need of Courage Connection’s services, as well as the community at large, who may ignore or tune-out when approached by difficult subjects like domestic violence

The night wrapped up at 9pm with everyone having their fill of delicious pizza from neighboring Pizza M.

Saturday: Design Jamcudogives17_saturday2b

Saturday morning the event continued at Surface 51 with volunteers bringing their creative tools to the venue, who were then greeted with breakfast and coffee! In the conference room, the group shared and refined their ideas to work on.

At first, progress was slow, but steady. After lunch, the momentum picked up and the message we were all circling around became clear. This new tagline became the unifying thread of our individual pieces: It takes courage to connect.

The group came together at 4pm to wrap up our work and prepare for a presentation with Courage Connection. The work we shared in the conference room was powerful, emotional and uplifting. After a long day, we were excited to hear we had hit the mark with our creative efforts.

After the event, artists had the opportunity to finish their designs, prep for print and submit. See the finished pieces at this Connections in Lincoln Square Mall.


What It’s All About

CUDO Gives is an opportunity for creative professionals to make a difference in the community. It’s also a fun, challenging and incredibly rewarding event. The designs that we generated will help Courage Connection build greater awareness locally, reaching more people in need of their services as well as more donors and volunteers.

Moreover, this event demonstrates CUDO’s vision in action: Design to Make a Difference.

A very special thanks to Surface 51, Dixon Graphics, and Pizza M!