March 7, 2017

Former Obama & Newsom Staffers Launch Communications and Advocacy Firm

Riff City opens in the Heartland and San Francisco to help environmental, civic and tech organizations reach key audiences online, in person and through the media; Organizing national coalition to respond to White House policies that put public health at risk

San Francisco, CA & Des Moines, IARiff City Strategies, a communications and advocacy firm started by former staffers for President Obama and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom launched today with a guide for reaching key audiences in the Trump era: tips for communicating on climate, tools for taking action and a playlist for inspiration.

In 2017, the founders of Riff City have brought CrowdJustice to the U.S., a social justice crowdfunding platform that successfully took on the Muslim ban and reunited two brothers from Yemen with their family; rolled out a national expansion of Digital Democracy to empower advocates, journalists and everyday citizens; launched a campaign to build a municipal broadband network and continue to lead the fight for victims of sexual assault in the military.

“Riff City CEO Brian Purchia and his team have helped bring the most significant policy changes to the military justice system in the last 50 years,” said Col. Don Christensen (ret.), former Chief Prosecutor of the U.S. Air Force and President of Protect Our Defenders. “They have given survivors and their families a voice, pressured elected leaders to support reform, and brought the issue into the national spotlight with groundbreaking online and media campaigns.”

Founding partner Liz Purchia Gannon spent eight years working for President Obama both on his Iowa campaigns and his administration as head of communications and national spokesperson at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. She led EPA communications on the Paris Agreement, Clean Power Plan, vehicle emissions standards, methane and more. She is now organizing national coalitions to protect public health and spur our transition to a clean energy economy.

“We’re giving voices to the disenfranchised, empowering communities and calling out backsliding on the environment and public health every step of the way,” said Purchia Gannon. “Life’s more fun when you’re in the arena. We’re taking the conversation out of D.C. and into communities, working with leaders, organizations and entrepreneurs to create and execute the best approaches to reach key audiences and deliver results.”

Riff City CEO and founder Brian Purchia has led some of the most high profile media and public policy efforts over the past decade at the intersection of government and technology. The former head of digital strategy for Newsom and spokesman has been called “genuinely innovative,” by Craigslist founder Craig Newmark. Purchia was the driving force behind the first open data law and open API in government and regularly advises civic startups like OpenGov, Bayes Impact and Accela. The San Francisco Chronicle has described Brian as Newsom’s “go-to guy for new, and especially social media” for his implementation of a new media strategy called “gutsy” and “brilliant” on NPR.

Riff City partner Max Wertheimer​ lends communications support and media strategy to local startups, civic technology companies, political campaigns and advocacy organizations. With a background in public policy, Max worked in the Office of Government Affairs for San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. Previously, Max worked at Burson-Marsteller, a global public relations firm, where he specialized in crisis communications strategy.

Riff City has offices in San Francisco, California and Des Moines, Iowa.

Riff City Resistance Playlist: 

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About Riff City Strategies:
Riff City Strategies is a full service communications and advocacy firm that works with civic-minded companies, environmental organizations, human rights groups and technology firms. Riff City creates and executes media strategies to reach key audiences and deliver results that matter. Whether it’s building a brand, announcing a new product or launching a campaign on a local, national or global scale. Our team of political, environmental, technology and public relations strategists help develop and share your story on the right platform.