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Ignite retreat attendee

Diane Ford


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.”

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