black and white historical photo of Brucemore


The Challenge

Preserving a single historic structure is no easy feat. Now add six more outbuildings and 26-acres of painstakingly manicured landscape to the mix, and you’re in for a hell of a ride.

Just ask Brucemore, the historic gem of Cedar Rapids. Although plans were made to sustain it in the 1980s, the amount of money needed to run and maintain the sprawling estate was grossly underestimated. Enter de Novo. We helped Brucemore embark on their first ever capital campaign in 2018 to catch up on preservation needs and plan for realistic preservation spends in the future.

Pride and Preservation logo
Gold Divider

Our Approach

We developed a multi-faceted campaign to tie Brucemore’s past to their present role as a community hub for the arts, history and culture. Positioning Brucemore as Cedar Rapids’ “living landmark,” we successfully demonstrated to donors its importance to current and future generations. The message resonated and Brucemore exceeded its $5M fundraising goal.

Brucemore roof in need of repair
Graphic of photo paper roof
black and white photo of a woman with two large dogs
Branded Brucemore preservation booklet

Pride & Preservation Video

The campaign included a case statement and related collateral, as well as a compelling video giving viewers a look both in and outside the mansion. Along with showing how Brucemore shaped our city over the last 100+ years, we helped viewers imagine what would happen if the mansion, its history and legacy weren’t preserved. Imagery is powerful—but activating your audience’s imagination can be an even more potent force.