Case Studies

NAMI San Mateo County Logo

Graybird Foundation worked with NAMI San Mateo County to build a new website and revitalize their online presence.

The Challenge

The National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) provides support, education, and advocacy for people with mental illness and their families. The organization began in the 1970s as a San Mateo grassroots movement and has since become a multi-million-dollar nonprofit with independently operating local chapters throughout the United States.

NAMI San Mateo County (NAMI SMC) approached Graybird for assistance with their marketing. While other local NAMI chapters in the Bay Area were attracting increasing amounts of donors, NAMI SMC was having difficulty competing for exposure and funding. We identified initial improvements and scoped a relatively short project to help NAMI SMC build a more modern website, develop stronger messaging for their audiences, and create a social media presence.

The Strategy

NAMI Website New

We believe that a highly functioning website can attract more supporters and better serve clients.

The first change NAMI San Mateo needed to take to gain improved local recognition was to refresh their website. In addition to building new web pages, Graybird Foundation also helped NAMI SMC develop targeted messages for visitors and create social media accounts to encourage community connections.


Marketing & Communications


A great-looking website is most effective with compelling content that inspires visitors to take action. We began our project with NAMI SMC by working with them to write audience-specific messages for the home page. These messages are calls-to-action for their four main audiences: individuals with a mental health diagnosis, families of individuals with mental health concerns, the San Mateo County community, and donors. The big, bold calls-to-action are moving messages that immediately encourage website visitors to find support, get involved, and donate.



LifeMoves Pyramid of Caring

Graybird Foundation partnered with interactive design agency StoverPix to develop a new, more modern and easy-to-use NAMI San Mateo website. Working along side NAMI SMC, we reorganized the website content and developed a cleaner, more efficient navigation. The new website is more visually appealing and presents information in such a way as to attract additional supporters, clients, and donors.


LifeMoves Pyramid of Caring
Facebook and Twitter logos

Social Media

The inexpensive power of social media is one of the most readily available marketing tools for any nonprofit. Graybird introduced Facebook and Twitter accounts to the NAMI SMC staff and trained them how to use those social media platforms. Our goal was to incrementally build a social media following that would allow clients and supporters of NAMI SMC to feel more in touch with the organization.

A New Presence for an Unheard Voice

For over 40 years, NAMI San Mateo County has worked tirelessly to provide hope, assistance and inclusion for people suffering from mental illness and their families in the community. The website update from Graybird Foundation is a small, yet important step in lending a voice to the organization that improves the lives of family, friends and neighbors who love and care for this very deserving segment of society.

quote-open-iconGraybird Foundation created a wonderful website to help us in our mission to attract more supporters. The site has more energy with the new client testimonial section, the calendar of events and compelling calls-to-actions.”

Helene Zimmerman, NAMI SMC Executive Director

Jill Grossman

Jill Grossman

Founder and CEO

As founder of Graybird Foundation, Jill is thrilled to give back to the Bay Area community that has given so much to so many. At Graybird, she is responsible for strategic planning, identifying opportunities, and executing fundraising efforts.

Jill has played an active role in several projects — most notably as executive producer of the documentary Surviving Skokie and as a task force member of the LifeMoves (formerly InnVisionShelterNetwork) rebranding initiative.

Even before founding Graybird, Jill was involved in several nonprofit marketing projects including the acquisition of two digital mammography systems at the San Mateo County Hospital and the 25th Anniversary fundraising video for ShelterNetwork. As a member of the Crystal Springs Uplands School board of trustees, Jill led the creation of Crystal’s mission statement, tagline and the 2009-2014 strategic plan as well as co-led the marketing/capital campaign efforts for the institution’s new Middle School. Her high technology communications experience includes executive roles at Silicon Graphics, Macromedia and Catapult Partners.

Jill has a BA in History with a minor in Business Administration from UCLA. Apart from Graybird, Jill enjoys hiking, skiing, traveling, movies and spending time with her three fabulous children and extended family. Oh, and she also loves the Golden State Warriors.

See Jill’s full professional background on LinkedIn.

You would never guess

I wear a size 10 shoe

I can’t function without

Music on a hike

Celebrity who would play me in a movie

Sandra Bullock (I wish!)

A nerdy thing I love to do

Try to figure out who will win the Oscar in every category every year

My favorite vacation spot is

Sun Valley, Idaho

As a kid I was always in trouble for

Losing things

Favorite part of my job is

Working with my friends

Renee Spooner

Renee Spooner

Chief Marketing Officer

The Graybird Foundation clients inspire Renée to dig deep and make bold marketing moves on their behalf.  After a successful Silicon Valley career in high-tech marketing, she now combines her skills in branding, communications and project management with her passion to mentor nonprofit professionals. Clients on the Graybird roster include Berkeley Symphony, Crystal Springs Upland School, Foundation for a College Education, Gatepath, Golden State Youth Orchestra, LifeMoves, Reach for Home, and Surviving Skokie.

As Chief Marketing Office at Graybird Foundation, Renée is responsible for guiding client marketing strategy, bringing together skilled teams, and mentoring clients as they take ownership of their new brands.  She draws from a background in public relations, customer marketing and product launches, with previous management roles at Silicon Graphics, BEA/Oracle and VMware, and consulting with numerous startups.  Renée’s evolution into the nonprofit sector is her way of giving back.

The travel adventure on my bucket list is

Sailing the South Pacific

Celebrity who would play me in a movie

Joan Cusack

A nerdy thing I love to do

Is recite Paul Revere’s Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I [ … ] everyday

Pray for my children and my sanity

As a kid I was always in trouble for

Talking too much in class

My favorite restaurant is

Sam’s Chowder House in Half Moon Bay

Favorite part of my job

Mentoring up-and-coming marketers

Helen Boyer

Helen Boyer

Chief Operating Officer

As Chief Operating Officer of Graybird Foundation, Helen leads strategic planning, finance, operations and our grant process. She collaborates with project teams, guides client engagements and develops creative solutions that drive the foundation’s programs and goals.

Helen brings two decades of business management and operations experience to Graybird, spanning the corporate, non-profit, public and private sectors. Having lived internationally and travelled to more than 25 countries, she has a diverse professional background ranging from leadership roles in business development, product planning, logistics and process management to assisting underserved children in Ecuador, Costa Rica and Vietnam. Helen’s volunteer service deeply informs her life practice. She is honored to help individuals and businesses in her local community, in addition to her work at Graybird.

Helen graduated from UC Davis, with a BS in Textile Science. When she isn’t at Graybird Foundation you’ll find her riding her bike to the beach, listening to jazz at her favorite café, or up-cycling a new find. And, plagued with a serious case of wanderlust, she is always planning the next stamp for her passport. See Helen’s full professional background on LinkedIn.

You would never guess

I know the words to nearly every song in the musical “Funny Girl”

I can’t function without

My sisters

The travel adventure on my bucket list is

Angkor Wat in Cambodia

A nerdy thing I love to do

File my greeting cards by category

Favorite Podcast/Movie/Book/Play/Artist

Baraka, Shantaram, Into the Woods, Guayasamin

I [ … ] everyday

Chat during my commute with one of my best friends (for 38 years)

As a kid I was always in trouble for

Talking too much, especially to strangers

Favorite part of my job

Working with people who are guided by their hearts

Shelley Willig

Shelley Willig

Head of Education Practice

Shelley is obsessed with education; she believes that increasing the percentage of young people earning college degrees is a solution to many of the major issues plaguing our country today. Combining her 20 years in high-tech marketing with her role as Head of Education Practice at Graybird, Shelley is elated to lead projects for community based organizations working hard to get more students to and through college.

Since 2006, Shelley has been deeply involved in education nonprofits. She manages the volunteer college advising program at Foundation for a College Education where she also works directly with students. Shelley serves on the board of Mid-Peninsula High School, a CAIS school in Menlo Park. Prior to joining Graybird Foundation, Shelley served eight years as the Director of Admission at Trinity School, an independent elementary institution.

Shelley holds a BA in Communications from CSU Fullerton, and a certificate in College Admissions Counseling from UC Berkeley. When she is not touring college campuses, Shelley enjoys hiking, cooking, and dinners on the patio with her husband and four sons.

I can’t function without

The goofiness of my kids and husband

The travel adventure on my bucket list is

Hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro

I’ve always wanted to be


My hidden talent is

Cooking a pretty good meal in anybody’s kitchen with whatever I can find in the fridge and pantry

A nerdy thing I love to do

Read statistics about college admissions

Favorite Podcast/Movie/Book/Play/Artist

Stand By Me/Operating Instructions/Driving Miss Daisy/Elton John

As a kid I 

was never in trouble because I never got caught!

My favorite spot in the Bay Area is

Wunderlich Park Trails

Favorite part of my job

Working with people I admire

Reach for Home — Fund a Need Video