EMS & JDRF Work Together To Connect The Type 1 Diabetes Community

We do a reasonable amount of web development and online marketing work with non-profits. We enjoy helping organizations and companies that make the world a better place. One of our proudest achievements in our first 10 years in business has been our recent work and partnership with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation – now known simply as JDRF.

As a company, we always strive to accomplish big success for our clients. Our wish is that our websites will somehow help make the world a better place, change someone’s life or outlook, or in this case help a worthy nonprofit to become stronger and more connected to its constituents and community.

Our personal company goal, even preceding any official involvement with the organization, was to use the power of the web to connect millions of individuals, families and groups surrounding Type 1 Diabetes to JDRF. Little did we know that the volunteer work we had started with the Greater Bay Area Chapter two years ago would lead to the opportunity to turn our dream into a reality.

After proving our company moxie to the Greater Bay Area chapter through donating web marketing, strategy and design services, we were awarded an official task. We were commissioned to help the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter build a website to increase communications with its Bay Area audience of roughly 75,000 individuals touched by Type 1 Diabetes.


We started this journey by developing a relationship with Patrick McKowen, the Bay Area chapter’s Internet and marketing department head. We expressed our desire to do something special, something that had the potential to make a profound difference in the Type 1 diabetes community; not just in the SF Bay Area, but worldwide. Patrick McKowen shared this vision and helped to put a big-vision plan into play.

Together we worked towards the development of a website, a highly customized social media integrated website built in WordPress. Our target was to craft an easy and effective user experience that was both powerful and easy to manage by non-technical staff. In essence, a cutting-edge website that would change the way the organization published branded information while also allowing for highly individualized community building, social networking and publishing – all on a small budget.

We all knew that individual chapter staff resources are stretched so thin that any technical complications or steep learning curves could eliminate the project entirely. The website had to be great, powerful, and very easy to use.

Our involvement and partnership with Patrick McKowen lead to the development of a new custom web template and system developed using the Thesis, a powerful framework for WordPress. The project spanned over six months and 300 hundred hours of custom design and programming by a small team dedicated to this project.

This advanced and strategically optimized web system has now been adopted by eight chapters in the Western United States including: Los Angeles, Orange County, San Francisco Bay Area, Northern California, Las Vegas, Oregon / Washington, Desert Southwest AZ (Phoenix Metro), and Dallas, Texas.

The plan that originally started with a goal of connecting 75,000 Bay Area individuals in the Type 1 community has now expanded into a community of millions throughout the Western US – and is growing.

Small and large chapters throughout the West now have cutting-edge websites that are helping them publish event information, share valuable content and messaging from the National office in New York in a manner that is consistent with the brand. More importantly, it is enabling vital information to be easily found for individuals and family members of people involved in the Type 1 diabetes community.

Christine holding sign

Equity Marketing Solutions is a company that lives with the reality of Type 1 Diabetes in our office every day as one of our owners, Christine Arenson, was diagnosed at age 7 and has lived with it for over 35 years. Because of this, EMS has worked with and volunteered services for several Type 1 and Diabetes specific organizations over the years including the American Diabetes Association, Kids Rock The World, Keyvive and Dance Out Diabetes.

This project started with a simple vision – help people, who help others, use the web for good. We are proud and honored to be a part of the Type 1 community, to be a trusted partner of the JDRF and are thankful for the Chapters that have taken a chance with to adopt this new way of using the web. It is project like this, that place principle over profit, that give us the drive to meet each new day.

For more information about this project, please contact Andrew Arenson of EMS or Patrick McKowen of the JDRF. We encourage any questions or comments.


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