Organization Overview

Each year, Bricks Without Straw selects a West Virginia-based charitable organization to be part of the Frank Brown Community Partnership, providing the organization with website and branding services from Bricks Without Straw free of charge. Through this partnership program, Bricks Without Straw contributes upgraded technology capabilities for an organization that is dedicated to the well-being of West Virginians but lacks sufficient funds or expertise to upgrade. Family Refuge Center was recently chosen to participate in the Frank Brown Community Partnership.

Family Refuge Center (FRC) was founded over 40 years ago with the mission to end physical, sexual, and emotional abuse in families. FRC provides comprehensive domestic violence prevention services in its five locations in the tri-county area. Since its founding in 1979, FRC has grown rapidly, the result of becoming more widely recognized in the communities it serves and an increasing demand for its services.

In his work of enhancing the technology and branding at Family Refuge Center, Jamie Summers-Brown worked most closely with Kenosha Davenport (past Executive Director), Jessica Bender (Director of Community Education), and Stephanie Moore (Executive Director).

Modernizing the Antiquated

“Our website was extremely outdated,” explains Jessica. “The format just wasn’t conducive to giving folks great information.” She further details that the website featured random opinionated blogs that didn’t provide enough helpful content. Staff who had previously been responsible for the website were no longer with the organization, and the website suffered in their absence. Kenosha adds her candid assessment: “We needed the website to be updated and accessible.”

FRC was unable to fund the necessary upgrades but learned about the Frank Brown Community Partnership program. Kenosha submitted the application, and she believes the FRC was selected because of the organization’s compelling story.

“Jamie was brought on to do an overhaul,” says Stephanie, “and this was our opportunity to have someone with marketing expertise to build and monitor our website, to make it a more useful tool in communicating with the public.” Jamie’s task of website reconstruction involved changing the contact information, reformatting pages, and uploading current images.

 “He gave the website a more modern look,” notes Kenosha. “He made it easier for people to get to the information they needed, and he created clickable forms that could be submitted online.” Kenosha says those enhancements drove more traffic to the website.

Moving Through Challenges, Making an Impact

Stephanie acknowledges that FRC underwent staffing changes during the website upgrade, which hindered continuity and made the upgrade process longer and more challenging that anyone had expected. “We relied on email a lot during our staffing transitions,” adds Jessica, “and through email we talked about the new structure of the website; Jamie led with design suggestions, and I provided some input on the format.” Kenosha was most impressed with Jamie’s ability to listen throughout the upgrade. “He has a really good ear and he communicated and came back with great interpretations of what I wanted in the design.”

Despite the challenges brought on by transition, FRC staff members speak of ways in which Jamie went beyond his original task of simply overhauling the website. “He asked us how we recruited volunteers and what opportunities we provided for them,” says Jessica, “then he offered insight from his own experience with designing websites for other organizations that utilize volunteers. We had a very minimal volunteer database, but now I anticipate that it will grow.”

The logo redesign has also made a lasting positive impact on the Family Refuge Center. Kenosha remembers, “The new logo really brought a lot of awareness to the organization because it hadn’t been refreshed in a while. We celebrated our 40th anniversary that year and it made our graphics really pop, which drew more attention. We developed new promo materials using the new logo and we made great use of it.”

FRC also benefits from their access to basic website analytics. “We now get a report of the activity on the website,” says Stephanie, “which helps us to know where our viewers are going the most. Our board has enjoyed seeing this report.”

As part of the grant awarded to the FRC, Jamie continues to provide technical assistance and upgrades at no cost to the organization.

Reflecting on the Upgrade Experience

Throughout his work with FRC, Jamie purposed not only to redesign the website, but to help the organization better utilize it. Stephanie was impressed by Jamie’s immediate responses to her emails. Jessica adds that his work helped FRC staff become aware of needed adjustments. “He provided feedback and input on things we never had on our website, like the Message from the Director and a list of senior leadership,” she says.

Kenosha’s experience likely reflects the sentiments of all the FRC staff. “Jamie made the process easy, not overly complex for a non-tech person. He stuck with us through a very unique period of transition.” Regarding the opportunity, Kenosha’s words are heartfelt: “I don’t know how else we would’ve been able to afford the upgrade he provided.”

For more information on the Frank Brown Community Partnership, click here.

Bricks Without Straw is a digital agency and design agency based in South Charleston, WV United States and Ota, Tokyo, Japan.

We offer a range of web design services including: web development, e-commerce services and email marketing. We also offer a range of graphic design services including logo design and exhibition stands.

We love working with clients of all sizes in a range of industry sectors, creating and implementing inspiring and hard working concepts and campaigns for business-business and business-consumer clients.

Valicia Leary

Bricks Without Straw has continued to exceed our expectations with their design work, support and attention to detail. We would highly recommend their services. They have a wonderful team and we enjoy our working relationship with them.

Carol Fulks

Bricks Without Straw has continued to exceed our expectations with their design work, support and attention to detail. We would highly recommend their services. They have a wonderful team and we enjoy our working relationship with them.

Patti Hamliton

Bricks Without Straw is bringing our association into the 21st Century! He brings us ideas and innovation for our web site and other tools of technology that help us enhance our image and our message.

Rebecca McPhail

Bricks Without Straw has continued to exceed our expectations with their design work, support and attention to detail. We would highly recommend their services. They have a wonderful team and we enjoy our working relationship with them.

Bill Raney

Jamie is one of the most committed and energetic professionals we have ever worked with over the years. He seems to work all the time with full 24-7 accessibility and immediate response. Bricks Without Straw has raised our collective confidence for maximizing opportunities in today’s world. We simply could not have done it without them.

Jan Vineyard

The demands and responsibilities to our members mandate that the online presence of our associations and our internet capabilities are reliable and seamless. Add creativity to that mix and one gets the complete package with Jamie Summers-Brown and his staff at Bricks without Straw.