Case Study:
The Markle Foundation

Markle Old


The Markle Foundation is a New York City based non-profit foundation that works to realize the potential of information technology to address previously intractable public problems for the economic security, health, and national security of all Americans.  

Markle's website is a portal to communicate their mission, upcoming events, news articles and a document library of around 1,000 reports, policy documents, and related material.

Markle engaged me because they felt the agency that was supporting them had dropped the ball.  They had a number of problems from security to performance and scalability. The site didn't properly reflect their mission. The document library was clumsy and documents were hard to find. Finally, the design was not responsive and was difficult to use on mobile phones. 


Once engaged by Markle, I performed an audit of the website and found the following issues:

  • The site was built on Drupal 6.
  • It had been over 1 year since the Drupal Maintenance and Security updates had been applied to core or any modules.
  • The original developers had modified Drupal Core so updates would be impossible.
  • Custom modules were not built following Drupal best practices and exposed a number of security vulnerabilities.  
  • Their web server was a Rackspace Virtual Cloud server while was not properly setup, not receiving regular updates. 
Markle Laptop

The Solution

Markle partnered with HD|Made to redesign the website while I handled the backend changes and implementation of the theme. The theme was built on Bootstrap 3.

With the upcoming End of Life of Drupal 6, the site was migrated to Drupal 7. The would preserve Markle's investment in the new site for come. Changes to Drupal Core were removed from their codebase. Where necessary new custom modules were built to create the same functionality. In order to better search the document library Apache SOLR was implemented.

The Admin interface was revamped giving the ability to site content producers to more easily create, edit and maintain the content.

The site was moved from Rackspace to Pantheon. Not only did this resolve that problem of server monitoring and maintenance, it reduced costs by 75%.