Volunteering, mentoring, giving back
When we set our vision to be everyone’s favorite agency, we were intentionally broad about who we included in “everyone.” We wanted to maximize our impact, helping to grow both good brands and good people.
While we are in the business of solving creative problems for our clients, enriching our communities is also an important part of who we are. We see it as our responsibility to show support for our communities by problem solving for those with whom we have common threads and shared beliefs. Connecting locally and giving back unites us, helps foster a sense of belonging and creates safety. It’s the part of our culture that brings out the best in us; the part that elicits the most excitement and the most pride. Every one of us at Hook has had help along the way, and we want to do all we can to spread that good fortune.
Over the past few years, we’ve narrowed the focus of our volunteering, mentoring and pro-bono work to the causes our entire team can rally around.
Youth empowerment and mentorship
Today, those efforts include exposing young people in our local communities to creative opportunities. We’ve found that working with young people is a way for us to open the window to our industry, promote curiosity and create more opportunities for them to make magic. Additionally, it’s a way for us to seed the future talent pool and bring more diverse perspectives to our company and the industry.
This focus began many years ago when a team of designers, writers, and developers from our Ann Arbor office volunteered their time to help a local teen center called The Neutral Zone further their mission to promote personal growth through artistic expression, community leadership, and the exchange of ideas. We first jumped in to teach the kids how to create and maintain their organization’s website, and over time began mentoring them in the launch of a writing program.
Our team learned as much as those kids did in the process, and the relationship inspired us to expand our mentorship outreach to include a multifaceted curriculum with Alexander Hamilton High School in Culver City, CA. We also created a pen pal-style program, pairing Hook team members with design students from HBCUs and local community colleges.
To reach younger kids still developing an interest in art, we’ve partnered with the Ann Arbor Arts Center, an organization dedicated to sparking creativity in people of all ages and artistic abilities. For their annual summer camps, we have provided funding, programming, and staffing throughout the camp’s 5-week run. In the past several years, we've made claymation movies, tie-dyed hundreds of tees and taught practical tools for expressing and developing creativity. And when we couldn't meet in person due to the pandemic, we provided ArtBoxes to kids with limited access to supplies through a partnership with the Ann Arbor Art Center and Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Metro Detroit.
Adding our voice to
the year’s biggest conversations
In addition to this company-wide focus on youth empowerment, we encourage everyone to use their creative talents for the good of the world. Each year our teams choose the issues they support, and as a result…
We partnered with the U.S. Vote Foundation to launch a digital campaign that helps energize young people to get out and vote in the 2018 midterm elections.
In 2019, we focused our efforts on the climate crisis, creating an animated film and site to inspire others to educate themselves about the urgency of the situation and seek opportunities to get involved in the solution.
In 2020, we turned our attention to the COVID-19 pandemic. We repurposed our technical skills to design and 3D print face shields for frontline workers, and our creative team helped develop a digital campaign to promote A2 Helps, a charity created to support local businesses and frontline workers in our hometown.
And since 2020 was the year that felt like three, our teams also jumped in to help raise funding and awareness for Safe Place for Youth (SPY), a teen center in Los Angeles. More here.
We continued working with SPY throughout 2021, and also launched Cut the Quarantine, a campaign with Locks of Love that turned an unexpected side effect of the pandemic (no haircuts!) into a chance to help children experiencing medical hair loss. More here.
The most rewarding effort, however, has been supporting our people as they act on their own inspirations, most recently creating websites to inspire individuals to vote and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement with protest art.