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The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation

Campus, Faculty, and Student Impact Report February 2018


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o strengthen its impact across its network, the Sullivan Foundation has also experimented with helping campuses develop comprehensive strategic plans to expand their social innovation and entrepreneurship student experiences, faculty coursework, and community engagement. The first campus engagement plan was with Berry College. Through a multi-month strategic planning process, Berry emerged with several key initiatives including:

to create the inaugural Sullivan Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship Regional Hub. Through this partnership, Sullivan aspires to achieve several outcomes including: • Expanding experiential learning opportunities for students across Sullivan’s regional school network to increase their awareness of and engagement in social innovation & entrepreneurship;

• Helping faculty members across the network enhance • Launching a Center for Entrepreneurship Incubator; their teaching and practice in social innovation & • Creating a speaker series focused on social entrepreneurship including access to guest speakers, entrepreneurship; field trips, a supportive community of practitioners, • Developing a social entrepreneurship toolkit for etc.; faculty and students; • Growing a regional social innovation SPARK • Enhancing participating schools’ campus culture and overall community impact by being connected to the conference for students with support from Sullivan; regional hub; and • Exploring a living-learning community called “Impact • Increasing opportunities for shared learning and collaboration between university leadership, faculty, Cottage.” and students across the regional network; and In combination with the goal of growing the number • Establishing a highly innovative regional hub that of available courses available to students, the number of can serve as a model for other regions across the faculty engaged in this work, and their broader community southeast that attracts media attention and additional impact - Berry’s has set out to transform its campus culture funding support. in a way that is directly consistent with the ethos of its founder, Martha Berry (a pioneering social entrepreneur in It is through these types of efforts, we believe Sullivan can her own right), and prepare the next generation problem- make a profound difference across its network of schools solver to take on tomorrow’s challenges. and the communities in which they serve - contributing to sustained positive impact in our region and beyond. The Sullivan Foundation is now in conversations with Campbell University about creating Campbell University


Campus Impact

Students from Campbell University—and members of the school’s Social Entrepreneurship Club— attending an Ignite retreat in spring 2017.


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ollins College is one of the Sullivan Foundation’s oldest and most engaged partners. The relationship between the two dates all the way back to the Foundation’s earliest days. Hamilton Holt, Rollins’s eighth president, and George Sullivan, son of Algernon Sydney Sullivan, partnered to bring the Sullivan Award to campus. The first was given out in 1927, three years before the Foundation was even formally chartered. Rollins has continued to give out the Award (three are now given each year, two to students and one to a community member), and the relationship between Rollins and Sullivan has been one of tremendous mutual benefit. In 1936, the two institutions collaborated to establish the Sullivan Scholars Program, providing scholarships to juniors and seniors for exceptional community service. That program exists to this day, and in many ways is the precursor to the modern Sullivan scholarship program, which provides assistance to students on more than 30 campuses throughout the Southeast. Rollins and Sullivan have grown hand-in-hand over the last century. Rollins has taken a chance on the programming the Foundation has developed over the last ten years, sending over 30 students and a dozen faculty members to retreats and summits. The benefit to those participants is tangible. “The Sullivan Foundation allowed me to participate in an amazing weekend that changed my mindset from dreaming to believing I could tackle any project,” says Julie Sparks, a Rollins student who attended the fall 2016 Ignite retreat.

Cindy Montero, who attended Ignite in the spring of the same year, echoes that sentiment. “This was an unforgettable experience that connected me to likeminded individuals who also challenged my thinking, motivated me, and hold me accountable,” she says. The faith and support of institutions like Rollins has helped Sullivan build tremendously successful programs. Those programs, in turn, have fostered stronger service cultures on campuses and helped introduce relatively new concepts like social entrepreneurship to schools. Rollins established an entire social entrepreneurship major in 2013, just two decades after the very first class anywhere on the subject was taught at Harvard in 1993. Professor Tonia Warnecke, who helped design that major, was also selected as a Sullivan Faculty Fellow in 2016. Through recognition, support, and inspiration, the Sullivan Foundation has built a lasting impact on Rollins College and its students and faculty. Sullivan’s founding principles are reflected in the students coming out of Rollins today. “Mr. Sullivan lived a life in which he included everyone, put others before himself, and was so incredibly selfless, says Courtney Durbin, a Sullivan Scholar from the class of 2015. “I try to live his way every single day. I know that I have so much more to do in my life to accomplish half of what Mr. Sullivan did, but it is my goal to live the best life possible every single day.”


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out of their comfort zones and finding their way to Sullivan programming.

An early adopter of the Ignite retreat as a resource for its students, Sewanee has sent a steadily-increasing stream of participants, with over 30 students having gone through the weekend. Faculty participation has been strong as well, with 10 faculty members attending the Sullivan Faculty Summit and two selected as Faculty Fellows.

“The Sullivan Nashville field trip was more than just talking to business owners,” he says. “It was learning their inspirations and their dreams, and how those dreams came to fruition. More importantly, it was a glimpse into what our own dreams could become.”

ewanee: The University of the South is an institution deeply rooted in tradition, forged in the mold of the classic liberal arts college. It is also a place where, especially in recent years, tradition has managed to remain strong alongside a spirit of innovation and social engagement.

Pradip Malde, a photographer and professor of art, was one of those Fellows. He used the resources provided by the Foundation to create a truly unique and immersive documentary photography course that took students to two high-poverty areas—one relatively distant in Haiti and one practically in Sewanee’s back yard in Grundy County, Tennessee. Malde sees the act of creating art and the act of creating empathy as one and the same. “I believe that art-making stands to put into a shared place our most personal attitudes and most enduring concerns, and in doing so, is essentially a social practice,” he says. “It follows then, that I am less concerned by art as a selfexpressive practice and more interested by the way it helps create bonds and connections.” Students have felt the Foundation’s impact both through the inroads it has made onto campus and through coming

Cole Porter, who attended a Sullivan Field Trip to Nashville in 2016, gained critical insights into the nuts and bolts of social entrepreneurship, but also drew much needed inspiration.

Ignite retreat participants have come away with similar enthusiasm. Sharron Bockman attended a 2016 retreat and came away with much more than she bargained for. “I went into the weekend not knowing what to expect,” she says. “I came out knowing my plan for the future.” A culture of social innovation has grown rapidly at Sewanee among the gothic stone buildings and towering, ancient trees. In addition to traditional service opportunities such as spring break mission trips, the university has established its Babson Center for Global Commerce, which includes a social entrepreneurship component. The center supports social entrepreneurs in a variety of ways, including pitch competitions for students with big ideas for business with a social improvement bent. Those competitions have even been judged by some of Sullivan’s own, including Foundation president Steve McDavid.


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n addition to the retreats and summits, the In turn, by accepting the Fellowship, Faculty Fellows Sullivan Foundation also launched a unique faculty agree to: fellowship in 2014 for faculty members interested in deepening their impact in their classrooms and • Advance a class-related or community initiative that advances the teaching and practice of social communities. innovation and entrepreneurship; Through the Fellowship, the Sullivan Foundation • Participate actively in the Sullivan peer-learning provides: community including pre-scheduled calls with peer • Customized guidance on proposed projects/class design, access to relevant teaching resources, and introductions to a network of speakers and leading social innovators and entrepreneurs; • Access to potential funding to implement and scale fellowship project; • A peer learning group; • Facilitation opportunities through the Sullivan Ignite retreats with professional coaching; • Two retreats to advance your work as a faculty fellow and deepen your understanding of the social innovation and entrepreneurship field; • Direct connections to the social innovation and entrepreneurship community across the Sullivan network as well as nationally and globally; • Opportunities to contribute to Sullivan’s social entrepreneurship investment strategy in students, faculty, and campuses across the Sullivan network through Sullivan’s Faculty Advisory Board; • Ongoing support as an alumni of the faculty fellowship; and • Recognition for contributions as a Faculty Fellow by Sullivan.

Sullivan Faculty Fellows as well as one-on-one calls with the Fellowship Coordinator;

• Attend all required fall retreats and the spring Sullivan Ignite Summits including giving presentations about their project over the course of the fellowship; • Write up lessons learned from the fellowship project for the Sullivan website and newsletter; • Serve as a Sullivan Faculty Advisor to provide input on Sullivan’s strategic direction; • Upon graduating from the Fellowship, participate as an alumni mentor and active participant in the Sullivan community; • Serve as a “Sullivan faculty ambassador” on their campus – connecting students, faculty, and administrators to opportunities within the Sullivan community; and • ·Allow Sullivan to showcase their work and profile on its website. Since the launch of the Fellowship four years ago, 28 faculty members from twelve different campuses have participated. The fellowship projects have produced


Faculty Impact Sewanee art professor Pradip Malde speaks with locals while leading students on a documentary photography trip to Haiti. The trip, which was coupled with a similar outing in Grundy County, Tennessee, near the Sewanee campus, is part of a course Malde developed while serving as a Sullivan Faculty Fellow.

over 15 new classes that are integrating social innovation and entrepreneurship into a broad range of disciplines ranging from economics, to education, to women’s leadership, to photography, to psychology. Outside of the classroom, Fellows have also helped to foster stronger relationships between the campus and the community. For example, Faculty Fellow Pradip Malbe created a course and experiential project that took photography students from Sewanee to neighboring Grundy County (one of the poorest counties in TN) to directly understand the needs of the local community and to help them tell their story. Faculty Fellow Susan

Conradsen developed an experience for students from Berry College to connect with social enterprise leaders in Atlanta and Fellow Joe Sprangel helped Mary Baldwin develop an executive education program focused on for-benefit companies among others. For a full list of the Sullivan Faculty Fellows and descriptions of their projects please see the Sullivan Foundation’s website.


2014 - 2015 Faculty Fellow

Casey Dexter

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asey Dexter is a developmental psychologist and works in the psychology department at Berry College in Georgia. In 2014, the provost of the college approached him about possibly being a member of the inaugural class of Sullivan Faculty Fellows. While he was intrigued, he wasn’t sure he was a natural fit for the program. “My first introduction to social entrepreneurship was probably with a business model like Tom’s [shoes],” says Dexter. “This buy-one-give-one philosophy. And really that was about as much as I’d thought about it. Okay, that’s cool. That’s great. A business that gives back.” Being an inquisitive person (not to mention a junior faculty member eager to please), however, Dexter felt giving it a try was worth his while. He began to look more extensively into what social entrepreneurship was all about, and, at the same time, what the Sullivan Foundation was all about. “I was impressed to learn how long they’d been supporting civic engagement and community service,” says Dexter. “Not being from the Southeast originally, I wasn’t aware of the impact they’d had in the region for such a long time.” Dexter began thinking about social entrepreneurship much more intentionally and started to search for any connections he could find between developmental psychology and social innovation. During his fellowship, Dexter developed a course called “Social Innovation and the Psychology of Poverty,”

designed to introduce students to the potential causes and consequences of poverty. “We spend some time talking about psychology from a developmental standpoint, we spend some time talking about it socially,” says Dexter. “So, ‘what are the social situations and contexts that result or lead to poverty?’ We talk about it from a mental health standpoint. And then we dig into the nitty gritty of, ‘now we’ve gone over a bunch of ways to attack poverty, let’s come up with some really promising ideas of how you’re going to go about doing that.’” Dexter’s approach was all about focus. He asked students to identify specific problems they thought they could come up with useful solutions for. He also asked them as individuals to identify their own, individual strengths as changemakers and channel them usefully. Students developed proposals and learned the process hands-on. Their feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and Dexter’s own reflection on the experience reveals he ended up having a wonderful experience, too, despite his early misgivings. “I think that the greatest impact that the Sullivan Foundation and the fellowship had on me is just a greater awareness of ways to connect with college students,” he says. “This crosses outside of just the teacher-student relationship. This becomes something enmeshed in their lives. It becomes something that they hold very close to their morals, their ideals, their values that provide their compass as a person. That’s a whole different way to connect with students.”


2015 - 2016 Faculty Fellow

Christine Schott

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r. Christine Schott teaches medieval literature and creative writing at Erskine College, and focuses her academic research on medieval manuscript culture in northern Europe. She is also deeply passionate about social justice and community engagement. Schott was interested in finding ways to connect her teaching and her passion, which weren’t an obvious fit at first glance, when she encountered the Sullivan Foundation. Soon after, she became a Sullivan Faculty Fellow and began thinking about how to use the opportunity to make writing and community service a joint endeavor. “I am very interested in how the ordinary things we do in our lives can benefit both us and our community,” says Schott. “I am interested in the use of creative writing to raise awareness of underprivileged or underrepresented populations. Once they are on people’s radar in a positive way, it is easier to advocate for social justice as well as for business solutions that include and benefit them.” Schott’s idea: use the talents of her writing students to share the stories of a population that’s too often forgotten. In this particular case, that led her and her students to a local retirement community where students engaged with, and interviewed, the residents to learn about their lives. The students then took their research and composed essays about the residents. The final step in the process was to bring the essays back to share. The residents at the community benefitted from

the friendships they forged with young students as well as the opportunity to collaborate on an artistic undertaking with them—a rare opportunity for too many seniors. The students, meanwhile, encountered a new writing exercise to improve their skills while simultaneously gaining the wisdom that comes from engaging an older generation. While those results are already terrific, on at least one occasion the project exceeded anything Schott expected. On one trip to the center to share her students’ essays with the residents, she was met with some startling news. “One of the gentlemen interviewed had passed away suddenly the day before,” says Schott. “The activities coordinator was able to share the essay written about this man with his family, and so, unintentionally, this student had written a eulogy of sorts from his interview, which was given as a source of consolation to his loved ones.” Though Schott’s fellowship has ended, she continues to teach the course she developed with the help of the Sullivan, and it has proven very popular among her students. For Schott, it’s opened up a whole new way of thinking about structuring her teaching. “My courses are very classroom-based for the most part, but with this project, I can see the immediate impact of going off-campus and connecting with the local community,” she says. “There is definitely a market for contact between the residents and the college students, and potential for other endeavors that bring the two together.”


2016 - 2017 Faculty Fellow

Pradip Malde

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radip Malde is an artist, professor, and world traveler. His photography is held in collections at the Museum of the Art Institute in Chicago, Princeton University Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, Yale University Museum, and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh, among others. But, for Malde, art is about more than creating beautiful objects. It is inextricably linked to social action. “I believe that art-making stands to put into a shared place our most personal attitudes and most enduring concerns, and in doing so, is essentially a social practice,” he says. “It follows then, that I am less concerned by art as a selfexpressive practice and more interested by the way it helps create bonds and connections.” That socially conscious artistic approach brought Malde, who is a professor of art at Sewanee, to be selected as one of the Sullivan Faculty Fellows for 2016-2017. He is using his fellowship to design a program of study that includes courses in documentary photography and environmental studies. “Students begin to consider how an understanding of environmental and social relationships can lead to resilient and innovative communities, and from there to community-based action,” says Malde. “The course requires students to spend a majority of the time outside of traditional classroom spaces, with extensive field trips and home visits.”

Students in the program spend three weeks in Haiti and three in rural Grundy County, Tennessee, which is adjacent to Sewanee and has a poverty rate well above the national average. As Malde puts it in the course’s description, “students will understand the significance of the day-to-day in relation to larger environmental issues, and vice versa, and learn to glean concerns that persist and are shared by communities as different as those in Haiti and Tennessee.” Malde specializes in documentary photography, and much of the work he and his students do is about contextualizing communities, particularly those in need or suffering a loss. Photography, he believes, is especially capable of doing that contextualizing work. “Photography is a widely accepted and highly readable expression,” says Malde. “Its ‘language’ is easy to access. It stands as evidence of events and establishes histories.” The Sullivan Faculty Fellowship is a distinction Malde is honored by. Most important, though, is the opportunity it has afforded him to have an impact on art students who wish to actively engage with the communities they document. “I want students to know how we live,” he says, “and why things may be the way they are, and where small changes in our lives may lead to larger transformations.”


Faculty Testimonials “When I am at a Sullivan weekend event I come back with 20-30 items to follow up on, including examples of other schools and organizations doing work in social entrepreneurship. In those two days I am exposed to what would normally take me many weeks or months to find.” Joseph Sprangel, Mary Baldwin College

“The Sullivan Foundation has been helpful by providing a cohort of faculty members to assist in developing a stronger research agenda focusing on social entrepreneurship,” he says. “In addition, the resources have helped regarding teaching concepts of social entrepreneurship.” Jody Holland, University of Mississippi

“The Sullivan Foundation fellowship has helped to inspire and broaden my belief that all people are more than they think they are. Each and every one of us can and should stretch ourselves to do more to better our local and global communities. When we collaborate and care about each other we can only bring about positive difference in the lives of all.” Rhonda Waddell, St. Leo University “It created the time and space for me to think through things that promoted social change, and that was very powerful. Without this fellowship, I would not have been exposed to the material I was; I would not have come across it within my field. I think that is extremely important since this material has impacted how I teach a great deal. It was also great to have retreats and time to talk to others and bounce ideas off each other. I am grateful for the experience.” Susan Conradsen, Berry College

“I think the fellowship year, and my interactions with Sullivan more generally, have really fed the growth of my use of active learning techniques. More and more, I’m recognizing the intersection of social entrepreneurship education with service learning, problem-based learning, project-based learning, and other innovative approaches to higher ed.” Richard Meagher, Randolph-Macon College “Calling Sullivan a retreat is something of a misnomer. The experiences, training and growth add up to forward motion for students and faculty who charge into what the foundation has to offer.” Bruce Dorries, Mary Baldwin College


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he Sullivan Foundation has a long history of supporting individuals who care deeply about serving and leading in their communities. In service of that mission, the transformation I have witnessed at the Foundation over the past 7 years has been incredibly inspirational. In my role leading our programming efforts, I’ve watched firsthand as schools and students become turned on to the potential role they play in transforming the American Southeast. Our programming efforts have awakened over a thousand individuals to the way they can contribute to positive changemaking efforts. So often, we have found that students don’t know how to combine their skills and passions for creating good in the world. They lack the confidence and peer support to believe in themselves and explore opportunities to serve and lead available to them. After running more than a dozen Ignite Retreats, we have found that students tend to fall in one of three categories:

• Project: These students have a specific idea or initiative they’d like to bring to life, but need coaching to help them create a tangible action plan. Each of our programming initiatives are designed to help students in one of those three tracks. Our Ignite Retreat is designed to be the starting point for any student interested in serving, leading and contributing to change in their communities. We host two retreats per year which each have around 100 participants, and our attendance continues to grow - to the point that we maxed out our venue in fall 2017. The Field Trips are then designed to expose students to possible career paths they might explore as it relates to the ideas they were introduced to at the Ignite Retreat. We are hosting our second Field Trip to Chattanooga this March after an overwhelming response to our first trip to Nashville, where more than 60 students attended.

If, as a Foundation, we are deeply committed to inspiring lives of integrity and service, then we owe it to the schools in our network to invest in their students as emerging leaders. We continue to uncover an incredible need and desire on behalf of both our students and • Problems: These students care passionately about a faculty/staff to have programs like these to send their particular issue - from homelessness to sustainable students to. energy - but are looking for creative ways they can By inspiring students to take ownership over the contribute to solutions. change they want to see in the world, we are investing • Personal: These students feel lost on their campus and are seeking clarity on the role they play in leading change. They care about lots of different issues and are looking for some direction..


Student Impact

Participants at an Ignite retreat celebrate another successful weekend of learning, planning, and growing.

in exponentially more individuals who would be worthy of receiving the Sullivan Awards. Our schools - from students to the administration have come to respect the Sullivan Foundation as an organization committed to helping them develop nextgeneration leaders who will tackle the pressing problems facing many of our communities. Our programming efforts have been instrumental in establishing a network and tribe that individuals are proud to join. They give individuals a chance to see the work of the Sullivan Foundation in practice and meet others who are committed to similar efforts.

It’s important to build on the momentum we have created in the past few years and offer more opportunities for our network to connect face-to-face. The prospect of empowering our schools to join in on the efforts of offering regional programming through our Hub concept is exciting, and could result in tens of thousands of students being touched by the Sullivan Foundation’s mission.


ignite retreat attendee

Tamia Baker-Johnson

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amia Baker-Johnson is a student at Mary Baldwin University currently earning a degree in Economics. Prior to attending the Ashville Sullivan Foundation Ignite Retreat, she felt lost on how to apply her degree and hoped to use the retreat to narrow her career interests. The Ignite Retreat helped Baker-Johnson shape her future through connections made, self-introspect and the defining of her personal paths. After this experience, she plans to start her own entrepreneurship using her confidence gained and insight earned. “I think that the experience gave me a lot more confidence regarding entrepreneurship, business, and self-exploration. I was able to develop a personal impact statement, which empowers me and other young people so that they are able to recognize that their lives have a purpose and that they belong. I was able to use my passions, interests, and impact statement to plan possible routes following college graduation.” This renewed sense of direction empowered Tamia to develop a more stable and set course in life postgraduation. She has now decided to earn her accounting certification, project management certification and attend pharmacy or business school. Baker-Johnson even created a business plan, which she plans to continue working on throughout her schooling and post-grad journey.

Most notably, Baker-Johnson now has the goal to start her own non-profit business dedicated to assisting incarcerated black men. This realization came through the retreat itself as it taught her “anyone can be an entrepreneur, and that anything can be made into a business. I now have the confidence and insight to start one.” The retreat not only changed her professional goals, but her personal ones as well. In the friendships she made and mentors she learned from, Baker-Johnson felt herself experience profound and life-changing relationships. “I left the ignite retreat feeling confident that I could accomplish anything, and was eager to share the experience with my friends and family. I will never forget the things I was able to learn” Baker-Johnson said. “I made many connections that I still maintain today, both with the facilitators and with other college students that I was able to meet. The retreat helped me organize a defined, but living and changing plan for my future with the help of those I met there.” After her attendance at the Sullivan Foundation Ignite Retreat, Baker-Johnson felt the experience was truly surreal, “when I left I felt like my eyes were open and I could do anything that I put my mind to.”


ignite retreat attendee

Kelly Ruth Fuqua

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elly Ruth Fuqua is a student at Campbell University and president of the Campbell University Social Entrepreneurship Club. Her goal in attending a Sullivan Foundation Ignite Retreat was to develop more ideas and strategies for her club. Fuqua attended the Blue Ridge Assmebly YMCA where she was able to hone her passions and put them to a more practical use through her mentors and experience. “I bonded more with the facilitators than ever before. I came with a purpose and it helped already having an idea of what the experience would be like. You get out what you put in and I gained quite a lot!” Through her experience at the Ignite Retreat Fuqua has been able to put this insight to use in her club. The Campbell University Social Entrepreneurship Club is currently producing a video with multiple testimonies from the facilitators about various aspects of social entrepreneurship and how to get others involved. She is also utilizing the club to put together a virtual tour of the Ignite Retreat for others to use prior to their attendance to help future attendees get the most out of their experience. “My ideas on entrepreneurship did not change, but were reinforced, enhanced and made better. I am still planning on starting several non-profits later in life, but I know have more focused ideas and had help with my future plans” Fuqua said.

The Sullivan Retreat also redefined Fuqua’s ideas surrounding social work and community service. Prior to the retreat, she, and many others she spoke too, saw service work as more of a condition requirement. However, due to her time at the retreat, her opinion became more rounded and multi-dimensional. “Now I feel more that you should envelop the idea of community change. Introduce a new idea or product or service that will benefit that community, and you will change it, thus providing the service,” Fuqua said. Overall, Fuqua describes that the retreats inspires her in everyway and makes her a better whole. Through the relationships she created, the ideas she cultivated and her changed mindset, she felt she came out of the retreat a person more readily able to instigate change. “The retreat always inspires my efforts to give others in my community a mini-ignite experience much like the problem museum exercise,” Fuqua said. “I feel like it creates a ripple effect of change inside me and those around me. Those impacted by these exercises lead to multiple generations of this ripple. Like I said, my plans are to start several nonprofits soon and keep those ripples going!”


Ignite retreat attendee

Diane Ford

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iane Ford is a student at Campbell University with the goal to become a corporate lawyer. Passionate about social issues, she believed herself too young to make an impact in her community until she encountered the Sullivan Foundation.

Ford was able to take a step towards realizing her dream of seeing disenfranchised people have basic needs. The Ignite Retreat also inspired in her a desire to own local businesses in low-income neighborhoods to further help members of those communities.

Once Ford learned about the Sullivan Foundation Ignite Retreats she was able to attend one in Asheville and another Elfland, North Carolina, where she became empowered to become a part of the solution.

Attending the retreats further encouraged Ford through the lasting bonds she formed with other students, “I believe in my generation so much more now because of the retreats. I was so impressed with each group I met and it makes me feel good to know there are other students that have the mindset of a changemaker.”

“My first retreat was an introduction to social entrepreneurship and it was a powerful experience,” Ford said. “I realized that so many students my age wanted to and were making impacts in their communities. It inspired me to rethink who I wanted to be in the world and how I was going to give back. It gave me true confidence in myself.” With this renewed purpose, Ford was able to plan a community event to make a lasting effect on her community. The retreat facilitators aided her with tactical advice and strategies on how to improve her ideas and increase the events reach. This community event, titled “Campbell SOUP,” is a public micro-grant competition modeled after Detroit SOUP. Ford’s program has already allowed established nonprofits and social entrepreneurs to compete for micro grants. She was able to award the winner with grants raised from door fees, university support and economic development center funding.

The facility mentors left an equally profound effect on her, “The facilitators are some of the greatest people I’ve ever met. They’re the best role models and I hope to achieve their level of service to others.” Since the Sullivan Retreat, Ford has moved closer still to her goals. “I’ve never been happier since realizing that my fulfillment comes from being a part of others successes and creating opportunity for others like someone once did for me” Ford said. “As a recent graduate, I have incorporated Sullivan’s teachings into my life post college. Although I still aspire to become a lawyer, I currently work for a nonprofit organization that lends to other nonprofits seeking to do good but lacking the necessary funding. I hope to continue to work with nonprofits as a counsel for them to help keep them sustainable.”


Student Testimonials “The retreat changed my perspective on how I want to make an impact. It gave me the push I needed to excel and believe in myself.” Juhee Bhatt, Furman University “I entered The Ignite Retreat hoping to leave with a todo list for how to take my idea from paper and make it a reality. Not only did it help me accomplish that, it also gave me a lot of important networking and feedback from people with completely different worldviews!” Matias Meirelles, Rollins College “The Sullivan Foundation field trip is one of the most academically fulfilling experiences I’ve had. Anyone looking to be both inspired and connected to a truly important network of community-builders should consider this incredible opportunity.”

“Participating in the Sullivan Ignite Retreat was time well spent - I learned many valuable lessons not only about entrepreneurship but also about our individual responsibility to make positive changes in the world.” Karen Cornejo Guillen, Shenandoah University “The Sullivan Retreat ignited my passion for social change and really put my sights towards making a difference with my future vision. I look forward to making that vision manifest with the tools and inspiration I gained in one weekend!” Erica Woods, Berea College “The Ignite Retreat helped me to surround myself with supportive people who genuinely care about making a sustainable social impact.” Isabel Mathews, Berry College

Jana M. Carpenter, Young Harris College “The field trip was at once a call to action and a reassurance that social entrepreneurship is not only feasible for young people, but a cause worth pursuing.” Grant McClure, Wofford College

“The Sullivan Ignite Retreat helped me to realize all that I was already doing in the field of changemaking and all that I am capable of doing in the future.” Anna Ruth, Shenandoah University


Colby DeVane and Gabrielle Deculus, Ignite retreat facilitators, speak to students at on a beautiful fall afternoon.

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