Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation

Warf News & Media

2022 Force for Positive Change conference celebrates social impact in Wisconsin

Join us at the Discovery Building in Madison Nov. 16

Jeanan Yasiri Moe
Director of Strategic Communications
[email protected] | (608) 960-9892

MADISON — The fifth Force for Positive Change event, Building Resilient Individuals, Organizations and Communities Through Social Enterprise, will take place in Madison on Wednesday, November 16. The free conference features a day of networking, engaging speakers and awards for social entrepreneurs.

One of the highlights of the conference is a fireside chat between philanthropists John and Tashia Morgridge and the Reverend Dr. Alexander Gee, founder of the Nehemiah Center for Leadership Development and the new Center for Black Excellence and Culture in progress in South Madison. UW-Madison Professor Emerita Gloria Ladson-Billings will moderate this important discussion on building resilient community through social impact.

Other sessions feature past winners of the Force for Positive Change awards, leaders from sectors across the state on how they are creating meaningful change in their communities, lessons from ongoing initiatives led by two of Wisconsin’s 12 Native Nations, transformational initiatives underway across the region and an optional preconference bus tour of three social enterprise hubs in Madison.

Students, community members and organizations interested in learning more about social impact in Wisconsin are invited to attend the free conference, which will be held at the Discovery Building and on Zoom. Registration is requested but not required; registration and a full event schedule are available online. Lunch will be provided.

“As has been the case for the other instances of the Force for Positive Change event, we will feature sessions of interest both to current social entrepreneurs as well as people interested in exploring social impact as a career. It’s a great opportunity to meet a huge range of social entrepreneurs from across Wisconsin as well as people who share this interest and these values,” said Laura Heisler, director of programming for WARF and one of the organizers of the program.

The event will conclude with the announcement of the 2022 Force for Positive Change award winners. This is the fifth time the statewide competition will recognize social entrepreneurship as a model for solving social or environmental challenges in a way that is sustainable, just and generates impactful change in Wisconsin. At least $60,000 in prize money will be awarded.

The following organizations have been named as finalists:

  • Access to Independence, Madison
  • AFAR INC dba The Ability Center, Wauwatosa
  • African American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
  • Black Girl Magic Educational Services, Madison
  • CLIMB USA, Madison
  • Collaboration for Good, Madison
  • Cream City Conservation, Milwaukee
  • Curbside Composter, Madison
  • Dane County Humane Society, Madison
  • DANEnet, Madison
  • Dynamic Family Solutions, Butte des Morts
  • EQT by Design, Madison
  • Fellowship Open/MKE Fellows, Milwaukee
  • Mad Local Food Group dba Pasture and Plenty, Madison
  • Mayville Open Door Inc, Mayville
  • Midwest Bikeshare dba Bublr Bikes, Milwaukee
  • Movin’ Out, Madison
  • Nehemiah Center for Urban Leadership Development, Madison
  • Presbyterian Student Center Foundation (Pres House), Madison
  • Rape Crisis Center (RCC), Madison
  • Riverworks Development Corporation, Milwaukee
  • Stellar Tech Girls, Middleton
  • Step Up: Equity Matters, Sun Prairie
  • The Sherman Phoenix Foundation, Milwaukee
  • The Way Out, Milwaukee
  • Urban Triage, Madison
  • Wild Bearies, Wisconsin Dells
  • Williamson Street Co-op, Madison

The finalists were selected from more than 70 initial applications that were then narrowed to 28 finalists by an expert panel of judges from industry, academia and the social entrepreneurship sector.

“As someone who works with students and organizations interested in social entrepreneurship, I particularly appreciate that the Force for Positive Change recognizes and celebrates social enterprises that are up and running. It’s important for everyone in Wisconsin to see examples of organizations from both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors doing this important work and what it takes to run a high impact social enterprise,” said Kelsey Otero, director of innovation at the 707 Hub, Marquette University.

Marquette University and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation spearheaded the competition, in conjunction with John and Tashia Morgridge and American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact.

About the Force for Positive Change Awards

The Force for Positive Change Award Competition is sponsored by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and Marquette University as well as American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact. Entries were accepted July 18 through September 22, 2022. Entries were judged by a panel of judges selected by the sponsors from across Wisconsin. The odds of winning depend on the number and quality of entries received. For more information, including a list of official rules, visit warf.org/PositiveChange.

Contact Heisler at (608) 770-4134 or Otero at (414) 288-4990 with questions.

About WARF

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) helps steward the cycle of research, discovery, commercialization and investment for the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Founded in 1925 as an independent, nonprofit foundation, WARF manages more than 2,000 patents and an investment portfolio as it funds university research, obtains patents for campus discoveries and licenses inventions to industry. For more information, visit warf.org.