Reframing Human Services


Illinois Partners is a leader in developing key resources to increase equity and the visibility of the issues facing the human services sector

We are leading a statewide initiative to change the conversation on the sector in partnership with the National Human Services Assembly.

We host workshops throughout the state and engage in statewide planning and implementation of reframing, an evidence-based approach to communicating with the public on human services developed by the FrameWorks Institute, a Washington, DC-based communications think tank.

Our Collective Goal

  • Create a new narrative for the human services sector
  • Change the way we tell our story and accomplishments
  • Change the way the public thinks about human services

Over 700 human service professionals, including CEOs, board members, and communications, advocacy and development leaders have attended our reframing presentations and workshops.

We aim to build broader and sustainable support for human services by elevating this new language in the public discourse, changing how the general public and legislators think about our sector, and training nonprofit leaders, as well as the business and civic community, on the new reframing initiative.

Backed by Research

The National Assembly engaged FrameWorks to create this unique approach to identify the most effective ways to reframe human services.

FrameWorks’ team of social scientists, cultural linguists, and anthropologists conducted a study of nearly 5,000 people, along with focus groups, and found that values, such as human potential and well-being, combined with the power of analogy, resonate with the public. The research determined not just WHAT the public thinks about a particular issue, but WHY.

The reframing initiative was generously funded by the Woods Fund of Chicago, Fry Foundation, Polk Bros Foundation, The Kresge Foundation and Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Reframing Aging Initiative

The Reframing Aging Initiative is a social change effort designed to promote a realistic and more positive view of aging and older people among the public and counter ageist thinking and behavior. Illinois Partners builds on our human services reframing work by also following guidelines for this important and related initiative which includes using inclusive, neutral language such as “older person” or “older adult” and avoiding terms that suggest frailty or disempowerment. 

The Reframing Aging Initiative is intended to:

  • improve the public’s understanding of what aging means;
  • highlight the many ways that older people contribute to our society;
  • counter ageism and promote policies and programs to support people as they continue throughout life.

For more Information about Reframing Aging, visit

Our Reframing Aging Initiative training was made possible through a generous grant from RRF Foundation for Aging. 

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Human services matter to ALL of us.