CaringBridge—the Eagan-based provider of websites that allow people dealing with major health issues to communicate with friends and family—has partnered with Hallmark Cards, Inc., to offer co-branded content.

CaringBridge and Kansas City, Missouri-based Hallmark, known for its ubiquitous greeting cards, jointly announced the partnership on Wednesday.

Visitors to CaringBridge’s sites often sign so-called “guestbooks” for their friends or family who are experiencing health problems. Under the terms of the partnership, site users will be able to select Hallmark-produced phrases and images to post in guestbooks. CaringBridge aims to have the Hallmark content available to its users by the end of this year.

Users of CaringBridge sites will not be charged to use the Hallmark content, and no money has been exchanged as part of the partnership, according to CaringBridge spokeswoman Melissa Maggio. The content that will be included is still being finalized, but it will “most likely be branded with Hallmark in some way,” she said.

The partnership extends beyond Hallmark phrases on CaringBridge’s sites, although the scope of the collaboration is still being refined. The organizations’ first co-branded initiative will occur in November, when they partner on a greeting card contest that seeks submissions for card design ideas.

Winners of the contest, which is being conducted in conjunction with National Family Caregivers Month, will see their designs brought to market, and CaringBridge and Hallmark will share the revenue generated by the card sales, Maggio said. The contest is an extension of an existing Hallmark program, and CaringBridge will promote it through its social media channels and blog.

The two organizations said they will “seek new ways to help people to reach out to each other.”

CaringBridge CEO Sona Mehring, who founded the nonprofit in 1997, visited Hallmark’s offices Wednesday to brainstorm other ways in which the two entities might expand their partnership, Maggio said.

“Loved ones come together to support each other on CaringBridge, but it can often be hard to know what to say,” Mehring said in a statement. “Adding Hallmark’s expertise in this area will enhance the experience for our users and help amplify love, hope, and compassion.”

Patti Streeper, vice president of corporate innovation in Hallmark's consumer solutions division, said in a statement that the organizations will “explore new ventures to address the needs of people and their caring communities when they need it most.”

Mehring, who earlier this year said she'd leave CaringBridge to run for Congress but ended up quickly dropping out of the race, recently released a book that details CaringBridge’s inception and includes first-hand narratives from CaringBridge users.

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