We believe in the power of ideas that shape America’s nonprofit foundations, colleges, universities, schools, museums, and more. The commitment of these institutions to initiating positive change, to developing tomorrow’s leaders, to advancing education and discovery and celebrating the powers of the imagination--these missions inspire us.

We have united in this work because of our shared conviction that the expertise of nonprofit organizations should have a vital place in the discourses of communities and in fact in national decision-making.

But we don’t come to this purpose merely as an abstract ideal. We are writers and teachers, trainers and editors, strategists and advocates. We have worked with foundation CEOs and laboratory researchers, college presidents and newly tenured faculty, scientists and humanists, technologists and social scientists, and those with extensive media experience and those new to the arena. It is work that energizes us, enlightens us, and motivates us and our colleagues to the same type of continuous improvement and growth that inspires the work of our clients.

Learn from our Experienced team

Our two principals, Pete Mackey and Andy Burness, together have more than 50 years of experience helping educational and other nonprofit institutions sharpen their ideas into an authentic voice and drive change.

Andy Burness founded his company more than 30 years ago with the unwavering mission to help extraordinary people tell their stories for the good of the world. Burness, one of the first public interest communications firms, is a full-service consultancy with a global practice based in Kenya working with leadership from universities and foundations around the world. Burness prides itself on going deep on diverse issue areas including human rights, equity, climate change, social determinants of health and science.

Andy's team understands that carefully crafted prose or presentations can have incredible impact, and their passion is to help leaders, scholars and researchers shape what they say and how they say it to successfully move their audiences to think or act.

Across the last 30 years, Pete Mackey has been the top communications officer at five different colleges, universities, and nonprofits foundations, including an R-1 public university, two elite liberal arts institutions, a national scholarship foundation, and an international science foundation. He has trained and written for everyone from college presidents and faculty to the deputy prime minister of Ireland.

The impact of Pete’s work includes strategies, op-eds, speeches, campaign communications, and published essays that have guided institutional missions, shaped national reputations, and brought the insights of numerous experts to audiences here and abroad.


Our work has been published in national newspapers and online media sources read by millions, and in newspapers and other print outlets in states across the U.S. A short list includes:


Pieces we’ve written (or helped others write) have covered topics from social science to medicine, higher education to global diplomacy. A short list includes: 

  • Leveraging a federal investment into infrastructure for health — The Hill
  • The patients we do not see — The Conversation
  • Eliminate the TB Scourge — The New York Times
  • Senators should question Gorsuch about views on ‘right to die’ — The Hill
  • Solving the climate crisis, one hospital at a time — Los Angeles Times
  • Tackle problems of policing, racism as public health issue — USA Today
  • The Art of “Muddling Through” — Stanford Social Innovation Review
  • Donors — Especially the Newly Wealthy — Need to Make Scientific Research a Priority — Chronicle of Philanthropy
  • Philly drink tax means a healthier, better educated city — Philadelphia Inquirer

Our Clients

Below is a sample list of some of the clients who have used our training programs.


Pete Mackey is one of the finest and most discerning writers I know, and a great listener. He takes even fragmentary ideas, quickly helps you clarify your own thinking, and efficiently produces compelling texts to fit any need.

John C. Bravman
President, Bucknell University


Over 25 years of partnership and collaboration I have repeatedly seen and experienced the skill of Burness in working with academic audiences, both as trainers and consultants on translation of research to maximize policy impact. Because of these experiences, I have hired (and continue to hire) the team for training of community and academic professionals. Simply stated, they are the best!

William H. Gates, Sr. Professor and Chair of the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Director, Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute



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