Client Quotes

“Any organization leadership would count themselves fortunate to be represented by Conlon & Dunn Public Strategies. Working with them for over a decade, I can well summarize their work with words that should appear more frequently in this day and age: utmost integrity. To be advised by Conlon & Dunn means that not only do you have the services of those who knows how to work the labyrinthine minutia of Springfield on your organization’s behalf, but you also have a team that respects your cause as a mirror of its own.”

–Dominic Belmonte
CEO, The Golden Apple Foundation

Our approach translates into results for our clients. The following describes some accomplishments that are
representative of our work:

  • Secured $1.6 million in capital funding in the 2009 Illinois Capital bill, enabling ACCESS to improve patient facilities and better serve its nearly 200,000 low-income patients in Cook and DuPage Counties
  • Negotiated restoration of over $5 million in funding for ACCESS’s breast cancer screening programs
  • Cultivated ACCESS’s exceptionally strong relationships with Illinois legislators who represent the patients ACCESS serves at its 35 health centers
  • Negotiated with the City of Chicago to resolve zoning and planning issues that threatened the continuation of a $6.7 million NIH grant for a health disparities research center in Chicago’s impoverished Englewood community
  • Played a key role in convincing the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago to convene a Healthy Communities Chicago Regional Summit, which was moderated by ACCESS CEO Donna Thompson
  • Successfully resolved zoning and other operational issues with municipalities where ACCESS health centers are located
  • Developed advocacy materials and conducted targeted outreach that generated legislative, executive, and judicial support for the use of Vivitrol, Alkermes’s revolutionary alcohol and opioid addiction treatment medication, in Illinois public sector programs
  • Obtained the backing of senior members of the Illinois House and Senate and the Quinn Administration for a study of medication assisted treatment for the prevention of relapse in alcohol and opioid addiction and helped facilitate the development of such a study by the Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse.
  • Obtained $1,000,000 in new funding in the DHS FY 2014 and 2015 budgets for the DASA study
  • Developed and executed a legislative advocacy plan in support of Allendale’s request for capital funding to replace the aging infrastructure on the 100-year-old campus of this youth mental health treatment and education provider
  • Obtained the support of the leadership and both houses in the General Assembly, on both sides of the aisle and throughout the state, resulting in approval of $4.2 million for Allendale in the 2009 Capital Bill
  • Managed Phase One of this campaign to strengthen Chicago’s indoor air ordinances and ban smoking in all Chicago workplaces, including restaurants and bars, which ultimately resulted in the passage of a comprehensive clean indoor air ordinance in 2005
  • Developed the initial campaign strategy and provided guidance on media relations, polling, legislative briefing, opposition research, and ongoing communications with public officials
  • United the efforts of four nonprofit clients and three consultants and developed a cohesive campaign strategy, which included public education, grassroots organizing, direct lobbying of aldermen, and grass-tops coalition building among community groups, clergy, and other key players from diverse communities throughout Chicago
  • Led the creation of the highly-respected Center for Tax and Budget Accountability (CTBA), an Illinois think tank that promotes progressive fiscal policies at the state level
  • Developed the organization’s core messages, shaped its strategic direction, and recruited its executive director and many initial board members
  • Advocated CTBA’s policy agenda in the Illinois General Assembly, playing a key role in the passage of Illinois’ Earned Income Tax Credit and CTBA’s successful campaign to retain the Illinois estate tax, which has saved the state millions in tax revenue
  • During the first years of this cutting-edge organization, Conlon & Dunn served as close advisers, identified new sources of funding, assisted with strategic planning, helped create a governing board of directors, and drafted organizational bylaws
  • Championed the group’s work throughout Chicago’s civic community, built relationships with decision makers, and arranged for the pro bono services that led to the branding and logo of the CeaseFire program, which resulted in shootings dropping as much as 67% in targeted neighborhoods
  • In collaboration with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), and the Association of American Railroads (AAR), Conlon & Dunn provided public relations services for Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency Program (CREATE)
  • Developed a multi-media communications strategy that included development of materials (brochure, website, etc.) to be used as core communications tools in educating community stakeholders and the general public
  • Developed a strategic response to opposition by public and municipal officials to the construction of certain cell sites in 2009 and 2010
  • Addressed these officials’ concerns and negotiated the successful resolution of zoning and community relations issues, thereby clearing the path for the build out of Cricket’s cell site network in its Chicago market
  • When the State of Illinois threatened to eliminate all funding for substance abuse treatment in 2012, Conlon & Dunn helped preserve funding for Gateway and other providers by developing and managing an intensive grassroots campaign, media response, and lobbying effort in coordination with the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association (IADDA) and other allies
  • Orchestrated IL Department of Human Services selection of Gateway for participation in its newly-funded FY 2014 pilot program for medication-assisted alcohol and substance abuse treatment
  • Developed and managed a highly successful statewide outreach campaign including direct mail, phone banks, constituent events at Gateway centers throughout Illinois, as well as Springfield lobby days to help reposition Gateway as a preferred provider for private insurance clients
  • Obtained $550,000 in capital funding for a proposed adolescent treatment center in Aurora
  • Negotiated Quinn Administration approval of expanded authorization for Gateway to treat adolescents, an important part of the Foundation’s strategic plans
  • Introduced legislation (SB 1036) embodying Gateway’s innovative proposals for community-based treatment of nonviolent drug offenders
  • Despite the State’s continuing fiscal crisis, obtained $3.24 million in new state funding (a 40% increase) over fiscal years 2014 and 2015 for the Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois Program, enabling Golden Apple to expand this program and prepare even more highly-qualified, resilient, and diverse teachers to improve educational outcomes for thousands of students in under-resourced schools throughout the state
  • Successfully advanced legislation (HB 3999; P.A. 096-411) merging the Golden Apple Scholars Program with the Illinois Future Teacher Corps, thereby increasing funding for the Scholars program from $2.9 million to $4.9 million over four fiscal years
  • Successfully advanced legislation (HB 1334; P.A. 95-0939) reserving 200 Illinois Future Teacher Corps scholarships, valued at up to $15,000 per year, for Golden Apple Scholars
  • Won enactment of legislation (SB 1791; P.A. 98-0533) setting out the respective responsibilities of the Golden Apple Foundation and ISAC following the merger of the Scholars program with the Illinois Future Teacher Corps
  • Developed and managed a rapid response grassroots campaign which convinced ISAC to override its staff recommendation that the Scholars program be zeroed out in the FY 2011 budget
  • Designed and managed highly successful Golden Apple Springfield lobby days including testimony of up to 80 Golden Apple Scholars and staff before both House and Senate Appropriations Committees
  • Provided advice and counsel with respect to sensitive negotiations with the Chicago Park District, which led to a new agreement with Association, allowing the Grant Park Music Festival, an 80-year old tradition of free summer classical music concerts in Grant Park, to continue
  • Developed and executed a successful advocacy plan that resulted in Humana being awarded the contract to provide Medicare Advantage services to more than 7,000 Chicago Transit Authority retirees
  • Worked in crisis mode to defeat proposed tax expansion in Illinois that would have hurt the state’s railroad industry and eliminated thousands of jobs
  • Built a coalition of trade associations, unions, and advocacy groups in opposition to the tax hike
  • Wrote core materials, such as position papers and case studies
  • Developed and executed a media strategy that included a Springfield press conference, outreach to the major media markets around the state, a grassroots letter-writing campaign, and placement of editorials
  • Developed targeted, geographic-specific angles for press coverage and generated coverage in over 30 newspapers, which overwhelmingly voiced support for the railroads
  • Persuaded legislative leaders to remove the tax hike from the state budget
  • Guided MCHC on the development of a public affairs strategy to raise awareness about the nonprofit mission of hospitals in the Chicago area based on research documenting current perceptions among consumers and opinion leaders
  • Conducted a “boot camp” training seminar for hospital leadership to provide tools and tips for communicating with community and civic leaders
  • Coordinated a press/mobilization event on the economic impact of Chicago-area hospitals that generated coverage in 22 news sources, resulting in more than 1.4 million favorable media impressions in print, radio, and online outlets across the region
  • Designed and implemented a government relations strategy that has enabled the university to raise its profile with policy makers and achieve its objectives in Springfield.
  • Won enactment of legislation (SB 1845; P.A. 98-0603), passed during a six-day veto session, allowing alternative teacher certification programs run by National Louis to continue to operate
  • Won enactment of legislation (SB 2972; P.A. 98-0872) expanding the experience required to obtain Illinois State Board of Education Superintendent license endorsement
  • Developed and implemented a first-in-the-nation partnership between NLU and Groupon, which offered prospective students the opportunity to “test drive” NLU education classes and generated coverage in hundreds of broadcast and print media outlets around the country
  • Won enactment of legislation (SB 105; P.A. 98-0554) needed by RESA to allow Illinois utilities to provide a much-needed market settlement service for RESA member companies and other alternative energy suppliers
  • Convinced the General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) to reject regulations proposed by the Illinois Commerce Commission that would have had major adverse effects on member companies’ marketing programs
  • Worked with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force, and Illinois lawmakers to draft legislation addressing the causes of disparities in breast cancer treatment and mortality for low-income and minority women in Illinois
  • Led the messaging and advocacy campaign, created and managed a strong advocacy coalition of allied groups, and developed and implemented a strategy to build support for the proposed legislation
  • Despite an extremely difficult legislative environment, won enactment of the Breast Cancer Disparities Act of 2008, which made numerous critical changes in Illinois law to improve the detection and treatment of breast cancer, especially for low-income and minority women
  • Negotiated changes in legislation (SB 640; P.A. 98-0984) that would otherwise have significantly hampered Xerox’s management of Illinois’ child support payment system and increased the program’s costs