Small Businesses Doing Big Things: Center for Functional Learning

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Storytelling is essential to being human. As writer Phillip Pullman puts it, “After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” Follow our latest success story of Small Businesses Doing Big Things: Center for Functional Learning!


Stories are also a powerful way to help children learn the essential skills and concepts of the world around them. This is what Kenneth E. Korber learned, first as a parent and then as an author and entrepreneur. In 2015, he was inspired by his son—a college music education major—to write a series of books featuring Grace

Who is Grace?

Grace is a musical note who came to life to teach kids about music, friendship, and more.

The more Ken wrote, the bigger Grace’s world became. Soon he realized that he was onto something: his books are the first to combine reading skills, music vocabulary, and health promotion for emerging readers ages 3 to 6.

With this realization and his background as a physician assistant, Ken was inspired to touch more children’s lives. He established the Center for Functional Learning (CFL), a 501(c)3 nonprofit based in Arlington Heights. Today through CFL, Grace’s stories and an array of customizable patient education and engagement resources are available to clinicians’ practices, pediatric dental offices, family medicine practices, children’s hospitals, and other settings focused on helping kids. They are designed to address health literacy in age-appropriate ways with measurable effectiveness for behavior change and knowledge retention.

Center for functional learning

Toy Fair Ready

When Ken was invited to present at the 2020 Toy Fair New York, he was thrilled. The trade show attracts companies from around the world to the Jacob K. Javits Center in Manhattan. More than 7,000 new toys and inventions are debuted each year.

The Center for Functional Learning needed a digital presence worthy of this opportunity. So Ken turned to the team at JRS Mar/Com. With a project kickoff in mid-December, an accelerated timeline was essential to meet the late-February dates for Toy Fair New York.

New York Toy Fair 2020
Toy Fair New York 2020

The first challenge was understanding—and expressing—the Center for Functional Learning’s unique market position. Its materials are for parents and caregivers, music teachers, and clinicians (think pediatricians, pediatric dentists, and family practice providers). The next was telling the CFL story in a way that connected its various dots. The final priority was ensuring a tight project timeline, since each step from site map to content writing to design/development has the potential to delay the overall launch timeline.

With careful attention to project timelines and details, the JRS Mar/Com team had Ken ready for Toy Fair New York—and for the rest of what 2020 holds for Center for Functional Learning. We hope you enjoy exploring the Center for Functional Learning’s new site and learning about another Small Business Doing Big Things in the Northwest Suburbs.

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