How the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation Leveraged Text2Give to Increase Awareness and Drive Fundraising



Creating a legacy of hope for social justice, the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation was established in 2005 by the family members of Emmett Louis Till (July 25, 1941 – August 28, 1955) who was viciously murdered in a historic, racially motivated hate-crime. In the aftermath, Mamie Till, Emmett’s Mother, made intentional decisions to demonstrate the brutality inflicted on her son to the world. Mamie defied authorities and insisted on her son’s unorthodox, open casket during his funeral. That decision propelled the modern day civil rights movement.

Flash forward 65 years, justice has not been served. The fight against social and racial disparity continues in our country. The Emmett Till Legacy Foundation carries on the struggle for peace, nonviolence, civil and human rights, social and economic justice, criminal justice reform and the fight against hate that impacts us all. Emmett’s family yearns for truth, justice, and healing. The Foundation is committed to serving victims and providing the exhaustive support needed to navigate the tumultuous unsolved homicides in civil rights cases.



After 65 years since Emmett Till’s death, the homicide case outrageously remains open with the Department of Justice Unsolved Civil Rights Crimes. In July 2020, with a glimmer of opportunity based on new information in the case openly divulged by the only remaining living accomplice, the Emmett Till Legacy took action to advocate once again for justice in the memory of Emmett. A petition requiring 20,000 signatures was created to influence appropriate charges, indictment, and apology in the final opportunity for justice.

The Emmett Till Legacy Foundation needed a new and mobile platform to rally people, provide information on the status of the case, garner support, and quickly and easily capture signatures. The Foundation had a long relied on the The Wakeman Agency for public relations and communication support. Sensitive to Emmett’s story and recognizing the opportunities were narrowing and timing was critical, The Wakeman Agency stepped in and took action. Known as “the people behind the people at the forefront of social change and innovation,” The Wakeman Agency is an award-winning social change firm that is a trusted strategic advisor and consultancy for nonprofit and corporate industry disruptors globally.



The Wakeman Agency, ever vigilant for justice, devised a comprehensive plan for execution. As part of the strategy, The Wakeman Agency recognized the need for mobile technology and relied upon software developer, OneCause to configure a personalized mobile experience for petition signors.

The OneCause team determined the OneCause Text2Give solution would not only optimize the experience but also serve as a delivery mechanism to fight mis-information and create an urgent call to action.

Together with OneCause, the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation and The Wakeman Agency mapped out an innovative plan for the mobile texting platform:

  • Reserve keyword: “Emmett”
  • Develop a personalized, branded, mobile site
  • Create a simple, call-to-action form to capture petition signatures
  • Publish a mobile leaderboard to display the real-time signature count
  • Design call-to-action opportunities for social sharing
  • Promote Emmett’s story through immediately accessible mobile landing pages
  • Rally audiences through push notifications
  • Cultivate social proof through real-time signor leaderboard
  • Facilitate gratitude via auto text and email

But there was more that OneCause was able to offer.

The “OneCause Cares – Kickstart your Cause” is an employee driven benefit program available to every full-time employee at OneCause. It is part of the company’s social responsibility initiatives and commitment to invest in our communities and impact positive change.

Under the program, each full-time employee may sponsor a nonprofit organization on an annual basis. The sponsorship includes granting OneCause software free of charge to an employee’s nonprofit of choice.

The Emmett Till story resonated profoundly with one New York based OneCauser who used the employee benefit to award the Text2Give software to the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation at no cost. As word spread internally, pride and engagement intensified within the OneCause workplaces and outwardly on social outlets. Passionate about the cause and mindful about affecting change in their own teams, OneCause rallied a call-to-action during a lunch and learn meeting which drove immediate signatures and support.

According to Jennifer Lynn, Chief of Staff from The Wakeman Agency, “The Foundation is thrilled.” Lynn further shared the sentiments from the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation: “This is doing what we wanted it to do. People are still signing the petition which helps place pressure on authorities to take action and bring about long-overdue justice for Emmett.”

Lynn added, “The campaign is keeping a steady drum-beat that the Foundation wanted in terms of pressure as they continue to try to bring long-overdue closure, action, and justice for Emmett Till.”



The outcome from this unique use case was inspiring.

  • Achieved over 20,000 signatures and counting
  • Renewed awareness for a 65-year-old case
  • Comprehensive information shared easily through mobile and social outlets

Connect with a Cause

Ready to sign the petition? Text: Emmett, To: 243725

Connect with Emmet Till Legacy Foundation by accessing their website.

Wrapping Up!

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