Marquette, WARF announce 2018 'Force for Positive Change' finalists

March 9, 2018

Winners will be announced live at event March 22

MILWAUKEE — Marquette University and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation have announced the finalists for the 2018 Force for Positive Change awards. This statewide competition focuses on social entrepreneurship as a model for solving social or environmental challenges in ways that are sustainable and just and that generate impactful change in Wisconsin.

"We were blown away by the quality of applications we received, and we want to congratulate all of the finalists in this year's Force for Positive Change," said Kelsey Otero, associate director of social innovation at Marquette. "Finalists are from all corners of the state, and the diversity of ideas and solutions is inspiring. This is a great example of how Wisconsin is creating and leading social impact efforts that are replicable and scalable."

Finalists include: 7 Rivers Recycling, ACTS Housing, Apricity, Artisan Dental LLC, Cathedral Squared Enterprises, Chrysalis, Compost Crusader LLC, Cream City Conservation & Consulting LLC, Derute Consulting Cooperative, Evergreen Credit Union, Eye Heart World Inc., Families & Schools Together, Inc., Forward Community Investments, Harambee Village: Pregnancy, Childbirth & Breastfeeding Care, Islands of Brilliance, Kickapoo Coffee Roasters, Leonardo Academy, Little Free Library, Maydm, Mayville Open Door Inc dba The Open Door Coffeehouse, Opportunity Inc., Rise Together, Soar Fox Cities Inc., Spring Green Timber Growers, St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care, STEMhero LLC, The Driftless Cafe, The Local Food Experiment LLC, Urban League of Greater Madison, WasteCap Resource Solutions Inc., Willy Street Co-op, and Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative Corporation.

This year, more than $100,000 in funding will recognize eight winners, who will each receive $12,500, and two student-run social ventures will each receive $1,000. Winners must be an incorporated enterprise — a nonprofit, for-profit or hybrid company — with a revenue-generating product or service, and they must address a significant social and/or environmental challenge in Wisconsin through their products, services or operations. Staff must be based in Wisconsin.

Award winners will be announced at the end of The Force for Positive Change event on March 22, hosted at Marquette University. The event will also feature speakers from American Family Insurance, Incourage Community Foundation, nationally recognized Ashoka Fellows, and a discussion with philanthropists John and Tashia Morgridge.

"This is the second 'Force for Positive Change' competition in Wisconsin. The event and awards are the brainchild of John and Tashia Morgridge, natives of Wauwatosa who have a long history of philanthropy in the state," said Laura Heisler of WARF. "We are excited to collaborate with so many others in Wisconsin and celebrate these amazing forces of positive change and inspire the next generation of social entrepreneurs."

Marquette University and WARF are heading the competition, in conjunction with John and Tashia Morgridge, American Family Insurance, Ashoka, The Commons, the Morgridge Institute for Research, Promega Corporation, StartingBlock Madison, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business, Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council, Wisconsin Technology Council and Wisconsin Campus Compact.

For more information or to apply, visit

Contact Heisler at (608) 316-4392 or Otero at (414) 288-4990 with questions.

The Force for Positive Change Award Competition is sponsored by Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and Marquette University. Entries were accepted from November 1, 2017, through January 19, 2018. Entries will be judged by a panel of judges selected by the sponsors. 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 visit