Nonprofit Provider Mather Hits Refresh On Its Brand

Mather LifeWays is now known simply as Mather.

The Evanston, Illinois-based senior living nonprofit officially dropped “LifeWays” from its name and introduced a new logo and look on Monday. The rebranding was aimed at updating the organization’s name for the next generation of senior living residents while still paying tribute to its namesake, Alonzo Mather.

“We wanted to ensure our brand continues to serve us well with the changing times and consumers,” Mather CEO and President Mary Leary told Senior Housing News. “And we wanted to further emphasize the uniqueness of our history and our story as we approach the 80th anniversary of the founding of our organization.”


Mather isn’t the only senior living provider hitting refresh in preparation of serving a new group of senior living residents. Other organizations across the industry are adopting names that emphasize lifestyle or wellness and avoid mentioning aging or retirement.

In its own rebranding exercise, Mather adopted a similar philosophy, Leary said. And, she noted that many other contemporary organizations outside of the senior living lindustry are shortening their names, as well.

“Coldwell Banker Richard Ellis is now CBRE, and Jones Lang LaSalle is now JLL,” Leary said. “So, we felt that shortening our name is consistent with the times in terms of what other companies are doing.”


Mather, an entrepreneur and inventor who died in 1941, left $6.2 million in a charitable trust to found The Mather Home, an entity that later became the senior living organization which now manages three life plan communities in Illinois and Arizona and has another on the way in Tysons, Virginia.

All of the organization’s life plan communities will keep their names in the rebranding, including The Mather in Evanston and the forthcoming community with the same name in Tysons. But not everything will stay the same: the Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging — which was was created in 1999 to conduct research that could help improve programs and housing for older adults — will shorten its name to the Mather Institute.

“Since our research positively impacts people of all ages, we felt that the institute should be ageless,” Leary said.

Mather also updated its logo and website, and the organization has adopted a new tagline: “Be Nextraordinary.” And, it’s rolling out new photos in its marketing collaterals.

“We’ll be using large, bolded orange quotation marks as part of our brand creative to help story-tell moments that we say are indescribable,” Leary said. “You might see photos [bordered by quotation marks] that have no words to go with them. That’s because you don’t need words to describe what the images evoke.”

The organization is no stranger to coming up with new words and phrases to change perceptions about the senior living industry. Its 12-person in-house marketing team previously coined the term “life plan community” in 2015 as an alternative for continuing care retirement community (CCRC). Mather also invented the word “repriorment” as a modern rethinking of the retirement concept.

Because Mather used its in-house marketing team, the costs of the rebrand were likely less than they may have been for other organizations, Leary added. She declined to say specifically how much the rebrand cost.

Discussions to rebrand Mather began in earnest about two years ago.

“We update our organization’s strategic plan every three years,” Leary said. “So, when we put together our most recent three-year strategic plan, we identified the rebranding as one of our key goals.”

The organization last refreshed its name in a major way 20 years ago when it adopted the Mather LifeWays moniker. In its latest rebranding, Mather wanted to come up with a new identity that told a story and connected with people emotionally.

The decision to shorten the organization’s name was a clear choice, considering the fact that many of the organization’s residents and their families already refer to the organization simply as “Mather.”

“We considered other names, including made-up names,” Leary said. “At the end of the day, we felt there was so much equity in the name Mather that it was the right decision for us.”

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