Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation

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Marquette, WARF announce 2022 Force for Positive Change winners

Person in a field holding a wooden box containing vegetables such as beans, potatoes, red peppers, onions, etc.

Winners were announced live during the conference in Madison on Nov. 16

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

MADISON, Wis. – Marquette University and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) have announced the winners of the 2022 Force for Positive Change awards. This year’s awards were the fifth time this statewide competition recognized social entrepreneurship as a model for solving social or environmental challenges in a way that is sustainable, just and generates impactful change in Wisconsin. A total of $67,000 in prize money was awarded to 13 organizations.

“We continue to be inspired by organizations from all sectors and all corners of Wisconsin that are engaging in helping their communities thrive. Each year, we meet new organizations engaged in social impact and doing incredibly meaningful work,” said Laura Heisler, co-chair of the Force for Positive Change planning committee and director of programming for WARF.

This year’s winners, each receiving a cash prize of $10,000, were:

  • AFAR Inc. dba The Ability Center, Milwaukee
  • Cream City Conservation, Milwaukee
  • DANEnet, Madison

The special consideration winners also each received a cash prize of $10,000:

  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion: CLIMB USA, Milwaukee
  • Organizational Resilience: Mad Local Food Group LLC dba Pasture and Plenty, Madison
  • Rural Prosperity: Wild Bearies, Wisconsin Dells

In addition, the following organizations received honorable mentions and a $1,000 cash prize:

  • Dane County Humane Society Wildlife Center, Madison
  • Dynamic Family Solutions LLC, Butte des Morts
  • Midwest Bikeshare Inc. dba Bublr Bikes, Milwaukee
  • Nehemiah Center for Urban Leadership Development, Madison
  • Presbyterian Student Center Foundation (Pres House), Madison
  • Urban Triage, Madison
  • The Way Out Inc., Milwaukee

The winners were selected from 65 initial applications that were then narrowed to 28 finalists by an expert panel of judges from industry, academia and the social entrepreneurship sector.

Award winners were announced at the end of the Force for Positive Change conference, Building Resilient Individuals, Organizations and Communities Through Social Enterprise. The conference featured a day of networking and engaging speakers, including a fireside chat between philanthropists John and Tashia Morgridge and Reverend 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 moderated the discussion on building resilient community through social impact.

Other sessions featured 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 Native Nations, transformational initiatives underway across the region and a bus tour of social enterprises in Madison.

“I am more impressed each year by the caliber of the organizations applying for these awards. We can be proud of the high-impact work taking place across the state to embrace social entrepreneurship,” said Kelsey Otero, co-chair of the Force for Positive Change planning committee and head of Marquette University’s 707 Hub, which houses the Social Innovation Initiative.Social.

Marquette University and WARF 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. Entries were accepted July 18 through September 22, 2022. Entries were judged by a panel of judges selected by the sponsors. 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) 316-4392 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.

About Marquette University
Marquette University is a Catholic, Jesuit university located near the heart of downtown Milwaukee that offers a comprehensive range of majors in 11 nationally and internationally recognized colleges and schools. Through the formation of hearts and minds, Marquette prepares our 11,100 undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and professional students to lead, excel and serve as agents of positive change. And, we deliver results. Ranked in the top 20% of national universities, Marquette is recognized for its undergraduate teaching, innovation and career preparation as the sixth-best university in the country for job placement. Our focus on student success and immersive, personalized learning experiences encourages students to think critically and engage with the world around them. When students graduate with a Marquette degree, they are truly prepared and called to Be The Difference.