Marquette, WARF announce 2019 ‘Force for Positive Change’ winners

Nov. 21, 2019

Winners were announced live at Lambeau Field event, Nov. 15

Force for Positive Change LogoMILWAUKEE — Marquette University and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation have announced the winners of the 2019 Force for Positive Change awards. This year’s awards were the third 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 $76,000 in prize money was awarded to 13 organizations.

“This year’s applicants took the competition to a new level,” said Kelsey Otero, associate director of social innovation at Marquette. “We are thrilled that such high-caliber social enterprises, both for-profit and nonprofit, throughout Wisconsin are creating so much impact to benefit our state.” 

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

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

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

The winners were selected from more than 115 initial applications that were then narrowed to 20 finalists by an expert panel of judges from industry, academia and the nonprofit sector.

Award winners were announced at the end of The Force for Positive Change event on Nov. 15, hosted at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. The event featured internationally renowned professor Richard Davidson of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, speakers from the American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact, Chicago’s Impact Investing, nationally recognized Ashoka Fellows, and a discussion between philanthropists John and Tashia Morgridge and Green Bay Packers’ President and CEO Mark Murphy. 

“Holding the event in Green Bay gave us the opportunity to connect with so many wonderful organizations in the Fox Valley,” said Laura Heisler, director of programming at WARF and co-producer of this year’s event.

Marquette University and WARF spearheaded the competition, in conjunction with John and Tashia Morgridge, American Family Insurance, Promega Corporation, Ashoka, gBeta, Fox Valley Technical College, the J.J. Keller Foundation, St. Norbert College, StartingBlock Madison, University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Discovery to Product and Division of Continuing Studies, and the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council. 

For more information 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 June 15, 2019, through Sept. 15, 2019. 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. No purchase necessary to enter. Void where prohibited. For full official rules visit

About Kevin Conway

Kevin Conway

Kevin is the associate director for university communication in the Office of University Relations. Contact Kevin at (414) 288-4745 or