Case Study: Thriving Populace & the 10% Healthier Initiative

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Nonprofit Founder Strives to Improve the Health of Mississippians


Return on Good helped Thriving Populace with these efforts:



  • Logo Redesign
  • Website Redesign
  • Set Up CRM/Hubspot
  • Hired Marketing Intern
  • Social Media Strategy
  • Marketing Materials/Collateral
  • PR Plan
  • Launch Event


  • Gift Pyramid
  • Audience Messaging Matrix
  • Pitch Deck
  • Animated Video Testimonials
  • Top 100 Prospect List
  • Ask Assistance
  • Grant Research
  • Fundraising Training


Gene would go on to become vice president and chief information officer at Memorial Hospital at Gulfport (Mississippi). It was in that role that he first learned troubling statistics about Mississippi, chiefly that it was among the nation’s unhealthiest states.

“It’s been a pretty ugly picture,” Gene says. “The current burden on our health system is not sustainable.”

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Mississippi, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The state also has the nation’s highest obesity rates with two in five adults obese or morbidly obese.

Knowing he wanted to do something to move the needle in a positive direction, Gene founded Thriving Populace, a nonprofit focused on transforming the health of Mississippi citizens. He plans to replicate the program in other locations as a blueprint for health improvement and equity.


Early in his career, Gene Thomas worked on the marketing side of technology. But in the late 1990s, he got “hooked” on healthcare after working with the Louisiana State University School of Medicine and then as CEO of a radiology company.

As an initiative for change, Thriving Populace brings together local medical leaders, their patients, innovative technology companies, and local and national celebrities to create a wellness and health equity opportunity. Under the umbrella of Thriving Populace, Gene created “10% Healthier,” a project aimed at giving patients the support they need to reduce their negative health indicators by at least 10%.

10 Percent Healthier Initiatives

“It’s time to do better for Mississippi patients,” Gene says. “Patients who are on track and in control of their health will lead longer, happier lives. This innovative program can help them achieve their goals.”


Gene registered Thriving Populace as a nonprofit corporation and set a short-term goal of raising $2.5 million in funding. It didn’t take long for him to realize he needed help to achieve his goal and to attract healthcare partners and program participants. While attending the 2022 Family Office Super Summit in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Gene discovered the ideal partner to move the nonprofit forward: Return on Good.

Return on Good Helps Thriving Populace to Thrive

Return on Good’s team of marketing and fundraising experts set to work to build a foundation of success for Thriving Populace and the 10% Healthier initiative. The strategic philanthropic collaborative developed a timeline to raise $2.5 million and launch 10% Healthier with an inaugural class of 50+ participants within six months.

Return on Good started on the marketing end with a deep discovery to understand key target audiences. The next step was to develop a messaging strategy so that Thriving Populace/10% Healthier could effectively communicate with key stakeholders, including doctors, business leaders, healthcare payers, and Mississippi citizens.

Next up was identifying 50 top donor prospects and 100+ influencers and then setting up a CRM Hubspot to track communication to them. To help the nonprofit handle the workload, Return on Good created a marketing intern job description and engaged the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast to find, hire and manage an intern.

Return on Good’s creative team developed a Thriving Populace logo that incorporates the 10% Healthier initiative. That branding effort, which includes a color palette and animated video testimonials, brought to life Gene’s vision for the nonprofit and its first project. Return on Good will also help Gene roll out a social media strategy, influencer strategy, redesigned website, and PR plan.

On the fundraising end, Return on Good’s strategists and fundraising experts met with Gene weekly to identify donor prospects, provide fundraising training, and conduct interviews with key constituents about the 10% Healthier initiative. Those interviews were used to create animated video testimonials that address major points about the program.

Return on Good will also provide ongoing fundraising assistance, including researching and applying for grants.

Before I partnered with Return on Good, I had a vision for what I wanted to achieve with Thriving Populace and the 10% Healthier initiative, but I didn’t have a roadmap forward,” Gene says. “Return on Good has provided that roadmap. With each call, with each deliverable, I see my vision coming to life. It’s exciting.

“It’s been hard work, no doubt about it, but each step of the way, Return on Good has been there. The team is smart, strategic, creative and a whole lot of fun to be around. I actually look forward to our calls."


The winners, Gene says, are the citizens of Mississippi who will benefit from having the support they deserve to achieve their healthiest and happiest lives.

“I look forward to seeing our efforts pay off and seeing Mississippi break this cycle to rank among the healthiest states in the years to come."


You can download this case study here.

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Learn Why Doctor's are Supporting 10% Healthier


Dr. Jimmy Dimitriades, MD

Dr. Kiki Oduba, MD  

Do you have an idea for a nonprofit? Do you have an existing nonprofit that is struggling with marketing and fundraising? Turn to the team of experts at Return on Good, a strategic philanthropy cooperative. Reach out for a confidential consultation.