This past July when Twitter ditched the bird logo and was rebranded as “X,” a lot of people scratched their heads. Considering that most of America knew what a “tweet” was, the name change seemed highly illogical. But experts understood. The change to “X” fit perfectly with the company’s goal to become a site for audio, video, messaging, payment, and banking, similar to WeChat in China. The little bird and Twitter handle did not fit the vision.
In fact, corporations change names a lot. In 1996 a company named BackRub changed its name to Google. Google means "a million zeros." That says a lot about what Google would become. Blue Ribbon Sports became Nike, after the goddess of victory. Brad’s Drink became Pepsi-Cola, and Burbn became Instagram. Cargo House is now Starbucks, AuctionWeb is eBay, and Cadabra is Amazon.
As constant as it seems for corporations to change names, they didn’t invent the practice. According to the Bible, when God changed a person’s name and gave him a new one, much like the corporations’ aim, it was to establish a new identity. He changed the elderly and childless Abram, meaning "high father," to “Abraham,” meaning "father of a multitude" and changed Abraham’s wife’s name from “Sarai,” meaning “my princess,” to “Sarah,” “mother of nations.” Every time someone said her name they were affirming her destiny.
After three months of our change from Unite Indy to 2nd Chance Indiana, we have felt a surge of growth associated directly with our new and more accurate name. We had already been working in six Indiana counties, but almost immediately that number more than doubled. The 2nd Chance Indiana name started attracting calls from corrections officials, other non-profits, churches, and individual reentrants from all around the state wanting help to improve the outcomes of reentrants in their areas.
As George Bernard Shaw said, “Progress is impossible without change.” With the new name, 2nd Chance Indiana not only describes what we do, but where we do it, and who we do it for. Every time people say the name “2nd Chance Indiana”—like for Sarah in the Bible—they are affirming and establishing the destiny of the what, where, and who of everything we do.
Entering our eighth year, we have just begun to tackle the peaks, but we are working with gifted sherpas from the city, the state, other non-profits, mentor groups, and volunteers of all sorts. In Zechariah 4, God says, Do not despise the days of small beginnings. Our days as Unite Indy were a necessary and meaningful time of planting, growing and leaning into the path we now follow. But as with “Twitter,” the handle no longer fit the vision, “2nd Chance Indiana” does.
“Nancy,” by the way, means “favor” or “grace.” Since I need as much of those things that I can get, I’ll stick with it.
Happy New Year!