Entitlements Destroy Lives

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Aug2014-EDL-banner

Client: Entitlements Destroy Lives (entitlementsdestroylives.com)
Summary: Start-up materials for this educational think tank, including business plan, research report, infographics and website.

Overview

Entitlements Destroy Lives (“EDL”) is a 501(c)3 educational think tank that was founded in 2011 by Jim Morris, a retired businessman, inventor and welfare reform activist in Charlottesville, VA (bio).  See a video interview I did with Jim on the purpose of EDL, and what he hopes to accomplish through it, here.

EDL focuses exclusively on America’s welfare entitlement problem. Its mission is two-fold:

  • To expose the destructive impact that the welfare entitlement mentality* has on recipients, and on America’s economy and culture.
    (*Defined as the belief among able-bodied individuals that because they exist on U.S. soil, or exist elsewhere but qualify for aid programs, they are “entitled” to an alphabet soup of subsidies, benefits and giveaways programs, paid for by working Americans.)
  • To help match those who are caught up in the “entitlement entanglement,” as Jim terms it, with the resources necessary to obtain jobs and educational opportunities, and the encouragement and support mechanisms to become self-reliant

Here is the executive summary of the project (1 page):

EDL Executive Summary by jonsutz

If you’d like to obtain the full EDL business plan, please email Jim or me.


Origins of the project, and my role in developing it

Bumper-Sticker-Charlottesville-VA-entitlements-smallIn 2010, a mutual acquaintance referred Jim to me, as a potential writing, editing and graphic design asset, to help him develop an idea he had for a print book he wished to write, which he titled “Entitlements Destroy Initiative” (he had bumper stickers created with this slogan).  The more we talked, though, and after Jim learned about the book I was writing at the time – in part, about struggling to survive, independently, after an accident left me with a partially-disabling neuromuscular disorder (fibromyalgia) – the more I became convinced of two things:

  • That as the project would largely be aimed at young people who may have gotten caught up in the welfare entitlements mindset, and read far more online than in print, the project should take the form of a website and e-book, rather than a printed book.
  • That the project should be renamed “Entitlements Destroy Lives,” as it is our shared belief that the welfare entitlement mentality destroys more than just initiative – it destroys the lives of those who adopt it, and children they bring into the world, who have little choice but to adopt it, as well.

Jim came to concur with my counsel, he hired me to do ongoing, part-time, as-needed consulting on the project, particularly:

  • To help flush out and develop the specific, conceptual framework of EDL.
  • To design the architectural framework for a “sketch” of the website, to show prospective donors what it might look like.
  • To research and develop the business plan.
  • To conceptualize the entire EDL message into one simple, unifying graphic logo and website banner.

The EDL president’s comments on the value of my work

“Jon has been tremendously important to the Entitlements Destroy Lives project. While I had the idea for this organization, I had no idea how to convey it to people, or to use the Internet as a tool to start this project. Through his graphic design and writing abilities, Jon has been able to convey EDL’s core message in a very coherent and persuasive way.

“As we move forward, Jon’s talents will need to be utilized in many areas, because he is an extremely talented individual in visual presentation, through graphics and through his oral representations. I would strongly recommend Jon to anyone who has a project that needs this kind of clarity brought to it.”

Jim Morris, Founder & President


Samples of the work products I created for EDL

Note on the EDL logo variations: The only element of EDL’s media that I did personally produce was its original logo/banner (it was produced by an outside artist), which you will see in some of the elements that follow.  I did, however, later produce a simplified version of it, based on the same concept, which is at the top of this page, and in the banner of the website.

Although a significant portion of the work I did for EDL is confidential, some of it is already in the public domain (on the website).  Here is a sampling:


The EDL website

In conjunction with Jim, I developed the information architecture of the website (entitlementsdestroylives.com):

01-08-2015 EDL front page

I also researched and wrote the copy for most of the site’s content, including several original articles, among them:

“The only true charity”

“A brief history of welfare entitlements”

“Social Security pays ‘disabled’ man to live as 350lb. ‘adult baby’”


 Infographics regarding U.S. spending on welfare entitlements (at all levels)

One of the first tasks Jim assigned to me was to research federal spending, to determine how much taxpayer money is being devoted to catering to all U.S. welfare entitlement programs (and how much additional money the U.S. is borrowing to do so).  Here is the result of our combined work, over six months:


Ad concepts for EDL

Although my work parameters did not encompass theorizing public promotional and outreach media, the more deeply I got into developing the content of EDL’s business plan, several ideas for ads occurred to me, which would enable EDL to delve further into the cruelty and destruction that is wrought by the welfare entitlement mentality.  I opted to pursue these ideas as my time and inspiration permitted, on a non-compensated, volunteer basis.

The first two items are graphic depictions of a print ad campaign concept:

EDL-Cruelty-child
EDL-Cruelty-mother-baby

The following two items are variants of script outlines I wrote for a humorous TV commercial campaign for EDL.  The point was to depict the unanticipated humiliation that results from allowing the simplest of one’s abilities – to ride a bicycle – to atrophy, due to one’s embracing of the welfare entitlement mentality, and taxpayers’ enabling of it.  Specifically, a man is being held upright on a bicycle by taxpayers, who also push him along, when he encounters people who are riding their own bicycles, under their own power and control: one, his “dream girl”; the other, a child.

Appendix4 – Sample Ads 2 by jonsutz

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