Force for Positive Change

Awards and event for organizations making a social impact in Wisconsin

Force for Positive Change logo
Congratulations to the winners of the 2019 Force for Positive Change awards!


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

  • Artisan Dental LLC (Madison)
  • The Community Warehouse (Milwaukee)
  • Maydm Inc. (Madison)
  • Nelson and Pade Inc. (Montello)
  • Rebel Green LLC (Mequon)
  • 7 Rivers Recycling LLC (Onalaska) 
  • Soaring Independent Cooperative (Madison)

In addition, there was a new category of honorable mentions with each of the following organizations receiving a $1,000 cash prize:

  • Acme Nerd Games (Barneveld)
  • Compost Crusader (St. Francis)
  • Earthbound Environmental Solutions (Eau Claire)
  • Islands of Brilliance (Milwaukee)
  • Little John’s Restaurant (Fitchburg)
  • Roots4Change Cooperative (Madison)

2019 Force for Positive Change conference

What: Our third annual celebration of social innovation and entrepreneurship in Wisconsin, featuring talks, panels, networking and more for students, social entrepreneurs and the community.

When: Friday, November 15, 2019 | Noon – 5 p.m.
Registration opens at 11 a.m.

Cost: $30 (all students are FREE with student ID)

Where: Lambeau Field, 1265 Lombardi Avenue, Green Bay

Optional pre-conference bus tour of social enterprise in the Fox Valley: Experience social innovation in Green Bay and the Fox Valley. For the first time as part of the Force for Positive Change, we will be offering an exclusive tour of social innovation organizations and the opportunity for participants to learn from the leadership at each of these organizations.

The bus will leave from Titletown Tech at 9 a.m. and will return by 10:30. The tour includes stops at:

Calling all Wisconsin college and university students: Financial support is available for transportation to and from the conference, and registration for students is FREE! To learn more, contact Laura Heisler (, 608-316-4302) or Kelsey Otero (, 414-288-4990).

11 a.m. - Noon: Registration

Noon - 1 p.m.: Keynote (Professor Richard Davidson)

Well-being is a skill: Science demonstrates how we can make the world kinder, wiser and more compassionate

This talk will consider scientific evidence that suggests that we can change our brains by transforming our minds and cultivate habits of mind that will improve well-being. These include happiness, resilience, compassion and emotional balance. Each of these characteristics is instantiated in brain circuits that exhibit plasticity and thus can be shaped and modified by experience and training. Mental training to cultivate well-being has profound implications for social entrepreneurs, changemakers and anyone wishing to make an impact in the world.

1 - 2 p.m.: A conversation with Green Bay Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy and Wisconsin philanthropists John and Tashia Morgridge

2 - 2:15 p.m.: Break and transition to breakouts

2:15 - 3:15 p.m.: Concurrent breakouts

Investing with impact

Learn from investment leaders in the Midwest about how their organizations are seeking a positive impact on society without compromising financial returns. From the recent launch of the American Family Institute to the expansion of Impact Engine’s venture fund, there is a growing community that believes intentional investing can help scale social impact. Learn about how the funds were started, how social entrepreneurs can work more effectively with impact investors, and what the future of impact investing in the Midwest looks like.

Moderator: Adam Schrager


The power of your story: Harnessing narrative to enhance your impact

Holly Walter Kerby (chemist, PI, award-winning playwright and educator, founder and director of Fusion Science Theater, Community College Faculty of the Year) of Story Form Science will share insights on how to craft a compelling narrative along with social entrepreneurs Winnie Karanja (Maydm) and Aaron Olson (Novomoto) who will tell their stories and discuss their storytelling journeys.

Your social innovation journey starts here

Are you interested in having a career with purpose but not sure what that means or where to look? Hear from changemakers who have taken different paths to create impact – everything from working at a nonprofit, to starting a social enterprise, and even finding opportunities within the corporate sector to innovate for good. Understand different ways to develop your own skills and experiences to maximize impact. This candid conversation will be moderated by students from St. Norbert’s College.


3:15 - 3:45 p.m.: Refreshments and exhibits

3:45 - 4:30 p.m.: Ashoka Fellows (Rachel Armstrong)

Welcoming change: Stories from Ashoka Fellows on the frontlines of change

Hear from leading social entrepreneurs whose system-changing innovations solve deep-rooted problems in Wisconsin and beyond. These Ashoka Fellows have worked tirelessly to build a better world and will share wisdom and lessons learned from their own journey. Learn from them how to look at problems differently, and instead see solutions and opportunities to create change.

4:30 - 5 p.m.: Force for Positive Change awards ceremony

5 p.m.: Event concludes

Force for Positive Change competition rules

All competition participants must agree to the competition rules before submitting their application. By submitting your application, you agree to abide by the competition rules. For more information, check our Frequently Asked Questions and rules document.

Summary of  rules
  1. You must submit an application to be entered into the Force for Positive Change competition. The competition will proceed through two phases. The deadline for submitting an application for Phase I is September 15, 2019.

  2. A subset of applicants will be selected to advance to Phase II of the Force for Positive Change
    competition. Applicants invited to advance to Phase II will be selected by a panel of judges. Phase I
    applications will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

    a. Extent to which the organization has strong connections to Wisconsin through its staff, investors, directors, clients/customers.
    b. Degree to which their organization values and measures beneficial societal impact in Wisconsin.
    c. Ability to demonstrate financial sustainability.

  3. Phase II applicants will be invited to submit additional information in written form and in an interview
    with a team of judges. Phase II applicants will be notified no later than October 1, 2019, and Phase II applications will be due on October 15, 2019. Phase II applications will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

    a. Degree to which their organization pursues an innovative approach to a societal challenge in Wisconsin.
    b. Probability of continued success and ability to be a force for positive change in Wisconsin.
    c. The organization’s plans for future implementation and growth.

  4. At least 12 finalists will be announced no later than November 8, 2019. Finalists will be required to attend in
    person or to designate a representative of their organization to attend the Force for Positive Change event at
    Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on November 15, 2019, to be considered for a prize.

Winners will be announced at the November 15, 2019, Force for Positive Change event at Lambeau Field. At least six cash prizes of $10,000 will be awarded to organizations working towards progress on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

In addition, up to two cash prizes of $1,000 will be awarded to eligible student organizations/entrepreneurs.

If you have any questions about these rules, please contact Laura Heisler at, 608-316-4392 or Kelsey Otero at, 414-288-4990.

The Force for Positive Change award competition is sponsored by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and Marquette University. The odds of winning depend on the number and quality of entries received. No purchase necessary to enter. Void where prohibited. For full official rules click here.


If you have questions, please email or call 608-316-4392 or or call at 414-288-4990.