After 47 years, Madison-area Urban Ministry (MUM) has changed its name to JustDane. The organization made the big announcement at their annual Partners for Change Luncheon, which was held virtually on June 24.
“We’re doing the same work, but we feel that ‘JustDane’ really reflects the breadth and inclusiveness of that work without getting us confused for church,” Linda Ketcham, executive director of JustDane, tells Madison365.
Since July of 1973, MUM has been helping to transform lives and social systems to create a just and equitable community. Their many programs inspire hope for individuals returning to the Dane County community after incarceration by breaking down the barriers that prevent them from fully participating in our community and the lives of their families.
Now, they will be doing the same transforming work under the name “JustDane.”
“We’ve been on this 2-3 year strategic planning process and one of the things over the last 5 years that people would say to us is ‘Hey, you serve more than Madison, so why does your name Madison?’” Ketcham says. “Increasingly we also heard from younger people that they were hesitant to sign up for services because the word ‘ministry’ was the same as ‘church’ so they thought they would be evangelized. People were confusing us with the church.
“There have been conversations happening going back two decades on whether our name is accurately reflecting what we are doing,” she adds. “I was probably one of the individuals in the process who was most hesitant to change the name in part because after 40-some years people really know you.”
And you have all those business cards and pens and cocktail napkins with “MUM” inscribed on them, right?
“We do. And we also have a logo that was clip art,” Ketcham laughs. “But now we have this beautiful logo with the diversity of colors and the star above the phoenix that is rising. We love it.”
The name change came after extensive brainstorming sessions with staff, board of directors and program participants.
“We at one point brainstormed 200 potential names,” Ketcham remembers “But the one that kept rising to the top and really resonated with people was ‘JustDane.’ It ties in with Just Bakery, it ties in the justice work. Justice is at the heart of what we do.”
“I had the opportunity to talk to Chuck Pfeifer [MUM director for the first 25 years] about this before he died and he was enthusiastic about this name change,” Ketcham adds. “I talked to Mary Kay Baum, the director for 8 years, and to Judge Everett Mitchell who was associate director from 2004-2010 and they were also enthusiastic about it.”
At Wednesday’s virtual Partners in Change Luncheon, JustDane made the name change official and they also dedicated a portion of the event to the life of Pfeifer.
“When Chuck took over the job at Madison-area Urban Ministry for the first 25 years, he had to take a vision and turn it into reality,” Ketcham said at the event. “During his 25 years as executive director, he guided MUM in standing with the poor and hurting … planting seeds of social change. He was a consistent voice for justice.”
Angela Russell, a board member for JustDane, said that one of the things that has really struck her during the time on the board has been how JustDane works so hard to embody the ideas of racial justice in its staffing, in its programming, and in its advocacy in the community.
“I’ve been doing racial equity for a while now and in Madison and there are a lot of organizations that talk about racial equity and racial justice but there are few organizations that are doing the work internally and externally at an individual level and a systemic level to make a change and JustDane is one of the few organizations that is doing the work at all levels,” Russell said.
At the Partners for Change Luncheon, the JustDane Visionary Award was presented posthumously to Amy Gannon, founder of Doyenne, a nonprofit company that helps female entrepreneurs. Gannon worked with MUM for many years.
“Amy was so talented and she was really critical in getting us to where we needed to be,” Ketcham says. “What an incredible legacy she has left in her work.”
CUNA Mutual was presented with the 2020 JustDane Partners in Change Award.
“CUNA was already supporting our program for children who have an incarcerated parent before I started 14 years ago,” Ketcham says. “They have been supporting our programs and initiatives for justice-involved individuals and families for almost two decades.
“And their $500,000 pledge in 2017, that was a game-changer for us,” she adds.
Ketcham gives a huge shout out to Becca Bryant at Urban Root Creative for the new JustDane logo and for Brandgarten for all of their help with the new name and rebranding efforts.
“It’s a logo that has meaning and is tied to our organizational values and our history. It all seemed to come together. We felt like the time was now,” she says. “We’re excited about the name change. We’re still doing the same things that we’ve always done with an eye toward doing even more.”