Project Description

Sanctum House

michigan nonprofit public relations

Sanctum House, a metro Detroit non-profit sanctuary for women survivors of human trafficking, needed support for its launch of a three-phase $3 million capital campaign. Since opening in February 2018, Sanctum House has kept more than 55 women safe and free from their traffickers, providing them professional counseling, addiction therapy, education, legal services, life skills and job placement to return to healthy, productive lives. Phase I of the capital project supports purchasing property to triple capacity.

This campaign’s focus was three-fold:

  • To highlight the problem of human trafficking
  • To bring awareness to survivor assistance available at Sanctum House
  • To raise funds for the capital campaign

Sanctum House would benefit from hiring Marx Layne, an outside agency expert in media relations and integrated marketing solutions, which would lead the effort on media outreach, bringing awareness to the issue and funding to the capital campaign.

Most people are vaguely aware about the issue of human trafficking and have no idea how close it is to home in their own communities. Human trafficking is a complex issue, encompassing a variety of actions and steps. Some women aren’t even aware when they are being trafficked. To combat this lack of awareness, Marx Layne implemented a media strategy that focused not only on statistics and facts, but also humanized the issue by highlighting survivors and their stories.

During media interviews, survivors shared their gut-wrenching experiences. Most notably, the television program, “Spotlight on the News” airing on WXYZ TV 7, was scheduled to dedicate 15 minutes of its program to the issue of human trafficking, but after the emotionally charged interview, the host was moved to dedicate the entire 30-minute episode to the matter.

Marx Layne also leveraged media coverage opportunities surrounding National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month in January, reminding people about the need to help human trafficking victims though support for Sanctum House’s capital campaign.


Marx Layne managed the multi-faceted aspects of the media campaign through outreach to TV, print, radio and online news outlets. We conducted a strategic campaign, penning personalized pitches that resulted in several interview opportunities for the Sanctum House’s founder and human trafficking survivors who described their experiences and journey to a better life thanks to the support and assistance of Sanctum House.

Our team drafted all press materials, including a press release announcing the capital campaign that was distributed statewide and posted on the Michigan newswire. Another press release announced the Sanctum House’s 2nd annual Voices of Hope: Ending Human Trafficking virtual event. This event was hosted by Karen Drew, WDIV TV anchor and investigative reporter.

We also composed and shared an opinion piece on behalf of the Sanctum House founder that was published online and in print by several community newspapers.

To support campaign fundraising, our team of account professionals drafted ask letters, invitation letters, fact sheets and bios for the capital campaign’s press kit as well.

Marx Layne generated significant high-profile media coverage that surpassed the client’s expectations. Sanctum House was pleased with the efforts of our team to highlight its mission by spreading the word about how to identify signs of human trafficking as well as bringing awareness to how women get involved and how great their needs are once they escape from its perilous hold.

In addition to the extensive media coverage, the client secured commitments for more than $1.5 million in financial support for its capital campaign.

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