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How a leading hospice organization has grown by reshaping perceptions about end-of-life care.

Unexpected Truths.
Stories Well Told.

The Challenge

With compassionate care options for every stage of serious illness, Gilchrist is Maryland’s leading nonprofit provider of serious illness and end-of-life care. As COVID-19 transformed the care landscape, Gilchrist faced significant census reductions. Sensing a paradigm shift, Cathy Hamel, CEO, believed the organization needed a strategic and marketing refresh. In Q3 2022, thanks to the agency’s exclusive focus and deep domain expertise in healthcare, and its varied market research strategy and marketing capabilities, Gilchrist selected Sage Growth Partners to reshape and assert its voice.



Ascertain quantitative consumer perception about Gilchrist and its wider competitive landscape to identify factors impacting growth


Identify a data-driven new organizational identity that would leverage Gilchrist’s unique value propositions and differentiate the brand within the broader market


Recast perceptions of hospice while increasing market awareness and patient census through a comprehensive suite of authentic “voice of patient” marketing assets and outreach tactics

The Work

Consumer research study and IDIs

Sage conducted quantitative consumer research and a series of in-depth interviews (IDIs) to ascertain baseline perceptions on the Gilchrist brand and hospice care.

Brand identity shift

Sage helped Gilchrist pivot from a practical tagline to one that captures the organization’s essential compassion, care, and respect for life.

Comprehensive messaging suite

From mission and vision to value propositions and differentiators, Sage equipped Gilchrist with new messaging specially written to target varied key stakeholders.

Robust sales and marketing strategy

An entirely new program designed to overhaul business development practices, leverage moving new creative, and resonate at each stage of the sales process.

Work Samples


“Gilchrist truly changed everything [for us].” Ron Berk celebrates the memory of his mother, Anne Berk, a former Rockette and verifiable “ball of fire,” who at one point graduated from hospice care and taught dance to other nursing home residents. Ron credits Gilchrist for allowing Anne to live every moment fully.

“He continued to smile until the morning he passed. I could not thank Gilchrist enough.” Sonsy Gaba on the experience of her son, Mo, who was beloved by Baltimoreans for his unbridled passion for the local sports teams and his infectious personality, who passed away from cancer at a young age.

“If it weren’t for [Gilchrist], she would not have had that time.” Kathy Catzen’s mother was a “pistol,” a WWII codebreaker with a zest for life. Thanks to Gilchrist’s compassionate care, she was able to return to her favorite place—her cabin in the Poconos—one last time to celebrate her 100th birthday.

“[The Gilchrist] team of professionals are angels on Earth.” Marjorie Rodgers Cheshire reflects on the unbelievably compassionate care her mother received at Gilchrist for her end-of-life experience. She notes her memories of this time are joyful, like her mother always was, thanks to the “gift” of care from their GIlchrist team.

“They were really there to help me.” Amy Enright, now a Gilchrist nurse, reflects on how the amazing team at Gilchrist changed her perspective on her parents’ end-of-life care. They helped her realize that for now, she’s a daughter, not a nurse, which allowed her to feel like it was all going to be okay.

“I’ll never forget the marvelous salute [they organized] for Oscar.” Rikki Spector, a tenured Baltimore politician, reflects on the touching military salute Gilchrist organized for her life partner, Oscar Brilliant, a celebrated war veteran.

“We just had a wonderful last year together.” Carol Grap will always cherish the last year of memories she made with her mom, thanks to the amazing care she received from the team at Gilchrist. Together, they went out to spread cheer by singing and entertaining at other nursing homes.


For their evocative campaign ads featuring heartfelt true stories of compassionate serious
illness and hospice care, Sage and Gilchrist were honored with an Hermes Creative Award.