Key Medium Supports Philadelphia’s Frontline and Regional Partners During the Pandemic

Few digital agencies are more recognized than Key Medium regarding excellence in community service. For six-plus weeks initially, I did not take my salary so that the Key Medium could continue to deliver pro bono projects and ensure our vendors and team were paid on time. We’ve won over forty-three awards in the last two years, six during the coronavirus pandemic in the past month. Our continued successes, measured by impact on people first and then how we drive value and growth, are due to our close collaboration with our excellent partners.

We are working to strengthen initiatives, partnerships, and efforts for Greater Philadelphia’s workforce and food systems during this crucial time. We are also working with education providers to secure our City’s future and strengthen various partner efforts and new initiatives. Our efforts were recently featured alongside Verizon as an inspiring story in our business community; give it a read!

Some of our digital efforts are listed below, and many of our past two months’ work has been pro bono.

Grounded in Philly

This high-interest project is all about bringing green spaces back to each Philadelphia neighborhood. As Philadelphia’s resource ecosystem, we built this platform to promote access to land to alleviate food insecurity and poverty and improve the overall community’s health through greater open green space and community gardening spaces.

Urban Agriculture Philadelphia

There are tons of resources on the site. We have continued our collaboration with the urban agriculture community to make resources available to growers during the pandemic and even well before it. It was relaunched and rebranded, pro bono, for the Public Interest Law Center’s Garden Justice Legal Initiative just over a year ago.

Coding for Causes is Key Medium’s way of devoting time to the local community. We give time and in-kind donations to local projects through this program. Many are about food security; we also work with career development and other civic programs.

Our award-winning work with Grounded in Philly was done through our Coding for Causes program, which just added yet another award to recognize our creative work. It was recently recognized with a Silver in the 2020 Muse Creative Awards competition hosted by International Awards Associate.

Philly Food Finder

Food insecurity affects many people in large cities, or when people don’t know where their next meal will come from. One of the main problems is finding food that is already available for those in need, as well as the assistance programs available like Meals on Wheels for Senior Citizens and SNAP/WIC benefits for families. During the same time, we embarked on the Grounded in Philly initiative in 2018; we also noticed a broken Through our Coding for Causes program, we provided the technical support for Philly Food Finder to relaunch to make it usable and accessible. We teamed up with FPAC/The Mayor’s Office of Sustainability in late 2018 to make this project a reality, re-launching December 2018 in its second iteration.

Then, more recently, the Mayor’s Office lost a key staff person and while the project was well-received, the City did not have the will or resources to sustain it. We happily took it over without support and embarked on a rebrand and redesign for its third iteration. Initially slated for a start date during the Summer, the Coronavirus pandemic saw a 10X jump in traffic. We naturally decided to respond, and in four days, we launched the rebrand and redesigned Philly Food Finder on March 23rd, 2020, which happened to be the same day as the State of Pennsylvania and Philadelphia’s stay-at-home order. Here’s how it looks now:

Philly Food Finder

We also created a ‘get involved’ page to help the area’s largest food bank, Share Food Program, gain more volunteers to support their efforts to distribute food in overdrive to 40 sites.

Not just that, but Key Medium’s Ali Jaffar and former Director of Project Delivery and sustainability expert Meghan Grever also provided an initial consultation to the food bank, which led to the improvement of their volunteer management process, which integrated with their donor management system (DonorPerfect), and saved potentially tens of thousands (vs. if they were to develop their volunteer management tool, which is part of what we were initially asked to consult on). Their volunteers needed to integrate with the donor management system since a finding was that volunteers turn into donors.

The results? The Philly Food Finder website has seen a tremendous 94% reduction in bounce rate (the lower, the better, since it means higher engagement) from March 23, 2020, to April 20, 2020! See web analytics, compared to the same period, last year (March 23, 2019, to April 20, 2019):

Website analytics to accurately portray the improvement in user experience and to show the increased demand thanks to the pandemic

To top it off, Philly Food Finder was also recognized with a Silver in the 2020 Muse Creative Awards competition hosted by International Awards Associate. Credit also goes to Destiny Simmons, former freelance Digital Designer at Key Medium, for the brand identity design and for supporting the effort following a streamlined design sprint.

Community Integrated Services

This creative employment agency, the largest in Pennsylvania and Delaware, enables people to find employees who face obstacles. They provide career transitions, job placement, and job support for people. Through our Coding for Causes program, Key Medium became a community partner alongside organizations like BNY Melon and Target.

One of their major areas of work is helping to find supported employment for people with disabilities. They have remained on the job with these folks through the COVID-19 crisis, albeit in a substantially leaner capacity as they are a direct service provider.

While they have also stayed on the job during the pandemic, Key Medium noticed that the website we previously donated to did not have resources for individuals with disabilities (and their caregivers) to help them. So, we proactively contacted and built a resource center for individuals with special needs immediately.

Community Integrated Services

The entire Community Integrated Services website was created pro bono by Key Medium, and we are incredibly proud of our work with this agency. It was also recently recognized with a Silver in the 2020 Muse Creative Awards competition hosted by International Awards Associate and won multiple other awards last year.

Philadelphia Works

Key Medium initially helped Philadelphia Works’ website become a reality with a Coding for Causes discount during 2018-2019. We continue to be a mission-critical partner to propel the agency’s mission forward fully. They are a quasi-governmental nonprofit organization and official workforce development board of Philadelphia, which also manages the local PA CareerLink Philadelphia centers, which had to close during the stay-at-home order.

This agency provides help for over a thousand businesses that want to recruit workers and build out talent pipelines, for example.

They also provide career development resources to support thousands of workers annually through the four main PA CareerLink centers.

During the pandemic, we continued to support the mission of strengthening access to the opportunity to work and supporting essential hires for the many businesses like Instacart, Amazon, and various healthcare organizations that need personnel. We stepped in to support their rapid response efforts with specific resources for businesses.

Philadelphia careers

For workers, we created COVID resources and launched a new Career Seeker Virtual Resource Center. To improve the job seeker experience, we implemented self-help features and enhanced website personalization to support anxious career seekers.

Career Resources in Philadelphia

Community Learning Center

We are supporting this brand-new website through Coding for Causes to help bring educational opportunities to Philadelphians. As one of the State’s leading literacy and learning centers, their mission is to empower adults in Philadelphia facing economic disadvantage with the academic and employment skills necessary to realize their fullest potential at home and in the workforce.

This learning center provides second-language tutoring, GED prep, adult literacy, and other educational programs to improve lives and career opportunities. They have been around since 1987, working towards a Philadelphia where all adults possess the education and employment necessary to thrive.

Key Medium is happy to partner with the learning center, and we just launched their new website this week! Check it out:

Adult education in Philadelphia, digital literacy, and GED education

Philadelphia Workforce Impact Analysis

This was a pro bono analysis in a supporting role we completed for the city’s workforce system. We helped analyze the impact on workers and connected with various leading nonprofits, an economic think tank, a handful of City departments, and various civic partners like Boxplot Analytics and longtime Code for Philly member Salas Saraiya.

We are committed at Key Medium to securing workforce support for Philadelphia, with a keen eye on racial equity and inclusive opportunity and growth for all Philadelphians. Though we began working with the workforce system before the COVID-19 pandemic, we fostered enhanced collaboration. We provided rapid response technical services to propel support to all workers so that we emerge as a more resilient and equitable region.

Help Slow COVID-19

While this project wasn’t done through Coding for Causes, it is a fantastic launch we are proud of. It was built in 24 hours exactly. Launched on March 12, one day after the World Health Organization announced the pandemic, this award-winning site was made with our NJ partners.

Help Slow COVID-19

The effects of the public health crisis began only a day after the World Health Organization announced the pandemic. With this site, we are proud to support the health of individuals everywhere. To top it off, Help Slow COVID-19 reached over two-thousand executives, public health officials, and residents. It was recognized with a Gold in the 2020 Muse Creative Awards competition hosted by International Awards Associate.

Navigate, our Professional Employer Partner

Having to furlough many of their nearly two-thousand-person workforce may not have been that easy. So, we proactively stepped in to help if we could. While embarking on our efforts to Navigate, we completely shifted focus to supporting Navigate to communicate the uncertainty to their work family. We didn’t stop there; we also supported publishing a half-dozen pieces related to COVID relief and essential information. These tips help small businesses and include feature pieces like the easy-to-digest article on the new Payroll Protection Program and the Employer Retention Tax Credit.

As a fellow socially-responsible business supporting nonprofits that help children, Navigate is an exemplary PEO in Massachusetts. If you want to save money on health insurance, minimize employer liability, and alleviate the transactional HR work that may burden you or your team, check them out!

Future Works PHL

Future of Work for Philadelphia - logo design by Key Medium

As COVID continued to increase, accelerating change, we donated services, including a portion of the initial website design and development, user research, and brand identity design. We helped gain funding for establishing a new coalition towards ‘future-proofing.’ Initially, the relationship with the Founder of Future Works, Anne, was through the City’s Office of Workforce Development during March/April of 2020. As a Founding Member alongside the Federal Resource Bank of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Works, Tech Impact, Philadelphia OIC, Hopeworks, The Economy League of Greater Philadelphia, and more, we are glad to be able to network and meet future-minded leaders toward establishing regional change to prepare our region for shifts in the labor market, and towards family-sustaining wages.


Key Medium wants to lead change in our community. We donate twenty percent of our profits, primarily via in-kind services and with some cash. Our Coding for Causes program has impacted well over 250K people since 2017. We increased our support this year by nearly 400% to invest in better outcomes for people by supporting community-based organizations and regional initiatives and continuing to form strategic affiliations and collaborations. You can see more on our nonprofit web design examples and portfolio.

Our community has been able to find workforce support through access to opportunity, and they have been able to find food and learn about how to access assistance programs, along with land access, for example.

Like all cities, the historic city of Philadelphia has unique needs, and we are delighted to call it home. There are barriers to overcome when securing career development, adult education, and food sourcing for individuals and families. We use technology to help people improve their lives, that of their loved ones, and their families—strengthening the overall community.

By addressing change with people-first solutions, Key Medium seeks to demonstrate leadership and positively impact our community that truly lasts. We also work to influence policy and create strong, collaborative local networks that help benefit the entire city. We know that a Digital Divide exists and are working in the background to eliminate the lack of access to technology with our partners.

We are a triple-bottom-line (TBL) business. We are also Philadelphia’s most socially impactful agency, pound-for-pound. We are very proud of our services’ efficiency and role in improving our community, and we are optimistic about the growing resiliency of Philadelphians.

How Much Does It Cost To Provide Services?

With Key Medium, our team and company dollars go further. It costs us a dime on the dollar to help one family find food, learn about food benefits, find an education program, or learn about a career path. We believe that our hard work in this area is paying off, even if we don’t have complex indicators of a return in terms of profit. Our human-centered, strengths-based approach is centered around the United Nations SDGs and our ROI+I model or return on investment + impact. We seek value, growth, and impact as a triple-bottom-line business.

By streamlining our efforts and working with organizations invested in our community, we know we can continue our work in social innovation and social impact. Our pound-for-pound impact is hard to beat.

International Recognition

While we focus on local development, Key Medium competes internationally. In the last 24 months alone, we have competed in 12 international competitions. In total, we took home more than 51 creative awards. That’s a lot of paperweights and, in recent years, earned us the position of Philly’s top-recognized digital agency!

Regional Recognition

We’ve also received local recognition from the Chambers of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia, as well as from UpCity as a local excellence winner, from DC-based research firm Clutch for being top 10 for web development in Pennsylvania, a feature from GoodFirms for being a top branding company in America, and more recently a feature by as a Top 16 Marketing Agency in Philadelphia.

People inspire us to do better every day and we are excited about what the future holds at Key Medium! We know that with diligent and focused efforts to help people locally, we can pave the way for a better future for every Philadelphian.

If you’d like to collaborate, please get in touch here, explore our digital services, see more of our recent web design work for nonprofit organizations, and find free growth tips and insights in our Growth Library.

This post was recently updated February 2021.

Web Developer, UX Designer, Communicator, Brand Strategist and Search and Conversion Optimization Expert in Philadelphia

Ali Jaffar has been building dazzling websites and creating amazing online experiences for over a decade. His mastery of the latest innovations in web development results in world-class website experiences set apart by show-stopping style and seamless functionality. A sought-after consultant and 50-time award-winning storyteller, UX expert, and web developer — Ali lends his talents to build and bolster digital experiences for a wide array of clients — with a keen focus on web design for nonprofit organizations, B2B, and government agencies. When Ali’s not helping his clients grow or providing pro bono services via his Coding For Causes program, you can find him exploring beautiful open spaces with his dog, working on digital solutions like the Good Jobs Search Engine software, or doing yoga.

Connect with Ali on LinkedIn to continue the conversation, or follow him on Threads.