VIDEO: Inclusive Entrepreneurship at MCON 2016

 This post was written by Calvin Millien, Case Foundation intern.

At MCON 2016 this past June, one of the themes attendees explored was around inclusive entrepreneurship—lifting up all entrepreneurs, particularly women and people of color, in all places in order to create stronger communities, close the opportunity gap and scale creative solutions to persistent problems.

To delve into this subject, Derrick Feldmann, Founder of Achieve and MCON, hosted two special panelists: Karla Monterroso of Code2040, an organization that provides $40,000 to seven entrepreneurs of color determined to turn their ideas into reality; and Brian Ferguson of Start Line, an online platform designed to equip returning, formerly incarcerated citizens with the tools necessary to become active and entrepreneurial contributors to our society. Together, they discuss the entrepreneurial landscape and realities for Black and LatinX communities specifically. Hear their insights into how together, we can support inclusive entrepreneurship.

To see more from these great speakers, check out their exclusive Facebook Live interview with the Case Foundation’s own Jade Floyd.

The Power of Influence: Get Ready for MCON 2015

This post was written by Derrick Feldmann on behalf of the Case Foundation:

In 2010, Achieve and the Case Foundation began an effort to understand the dynamics between organizations and a new generation of donors and activists. Together, we established the Millennial Impact Project to fill a knowledge gap that existed in the field: How does the Millennial generation connect, involve and support causes?

This research has helped thousands of organizations and companies reach and activate this generation of do-gooders, but we didn’t want our findings to stay just on paper; we wanted to cultivate a learning experience. That is why we launched MCON in 2012, and it has since grown into the nation’s premier conference on the movements that are improving our world and how the next generation is shaping the work we do in communities across the country.

Year after year, MCON proves to be an unforgettable experience for every online and in-person attendee. Participants come from across the country to discover how the next generation is influencing their world and the way they operate within it. MCON provides the foundation for understanding today’s cause movements and how to move interest in a cause into action for a cause.

In that spirit, MCON 2015 will focus on the concept of influence. Specifically, we will explore the power of influence through “art, media business and place.” In today’s super connected world, we are constantly being influenced to act. This year, we want to understand how these four industries influence people to ‘do good’ and act on behalf of an issue. We will discuss ways to bring people together, activate the next generation and create company and organizational cultures that establish openness, accessibility and transparency.

To help the audience understand the power of influence, we’re gathering an incredible lineup of entrepreneurs, activists, artists and visionaries who are influencing others to ‘do good’.

Daniel Lubetzky, founder of KIND Snacks, will headline the first night of this two-day conference. Daniel is a pioneering social entrepreneur known in the international community for developing business models that integrate social objectives with sustainable market-driven forces. He founded KIND Healthy Snacks in 2004 with the mission of making the world a little kinder, one snack and act at a time. Today, KIND is available at more than 150,000 retailers and is the fastest-growing snack company in the U.S., and the KIND Movement has inspired nearly a million acts of kindness among its community.

In the art section, we’re highlighting designers and artists whose projects have increased awareness and inspired change. Sarah Urist Green is the creator and curator of The Art Assignment, an educational video series produced by PBS Digital Studios that introduces us to the most innovative minds in art today, practicing alternative approaches to art-making. Designer Stephen Kenn will also present on some of the ideas and works that have made him one of the most sought-after artists of our time.

This year, MCON also features several journalists and media professionals who are experts in highlighting social issues. Peter Koechley, for example, served as an editor for The Onion before co-founding Upworthy. To date, the Upworthy community has dedicated nearly 2 billion minutes of attention to important stories for a better world, ranging from the criminal justice system reform to advertising’s adverse effects on body image to clean energy.

The business session will include social entrepreneurs, companies and leaders who are transforming business models to influence social change. One speaker in this session, Daniel Jae-Won Lee, Executive Director of the Levi Strauss Foundation, will present on how his organization advances pioneering social change in the areas of HIV/AIDS, worker rights and well being, asset building and social justice in communities touched by Levi Strauss & Co.’s business.

The place session features civic and cause activists who are driving community and cultural change. Fagan Harris, CEO and President of Baltimore Corps, an organization dedicated to building a stronger Baltimore by mobilizing a new generation of leaders focused on urban renewal. We’ll also hear from the co-founder and president of the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative, Tyson Gersh. Tyson uses urban agriculture as a platform to promote education, sustainability and community to solve some of the social issues currently facing Detroit.

That just scratches what will happen at MCON this year.

You’ll want to attend MCON if you are a:

  • Cause leader seeking to change the culture of your organization and better engage a new generation of cause enthusiast.
  • Cause marketer looking to build an effective platform to move individuals from cause enthusiasm to action.
  • Cause enthusiast looking to embark on a new personal journey of social good that you haven’t yet defined.

Join us at MCON June 24-25 and discover the power of influence. There are two ways to experience this year’s event. Attend in person at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, or you can watch both days of speaker presentations online. Learn more and register at

Derrick Feldmann is the producer of MCON, the nation’s premier conference on Millennials and causes. He leads the research efforts for The Millennial Impact Project and serves as president of Achieve, a research and creative agency for causes.

The Future of Your Nonprofit Organization And Why You Need to Join This Conversation

Written by Derrick Feldmann on behalf of the Case Foundation: 

“Why do you care so much about Millennials?”

A person in the audience at one of my recent speaking engagements asked me this question in relation to my research, The Millennial Impact, and the book I co-authored, Cause for Change: The Why and How of Nonprofit Millennial Engagement.

Seems like a reasonable question, but some of you may be surprised by my answer:

I care about Millennials getting involved in causes, but I care more about the state of the organizations that are trying to make a difference in our communities. I worry they are not prepared to engage Millennials who want to be involved and have not adapted to the growing business changes this generation and others are demanding, such as: transparency, real time reporting, digital connectedness, and collaborative leadership.

Lets face it. Today we are dealing with a whole new way to do business and social sector work that is playing an increasingly important role across sectors.

We have websites that allow us to connect with anyone needing help in communities we never heard of or have ever dreamed of visiting.

I can watch polar bears in the Arctic in real time to see what is happening to their ecosystem, and if so moved can support efforts to preserve their habitat with several clicks of a button.

The concept of workplace teams now means a team of individuals not based on location, but rather brought together by talent and expertise.

We hear about tragic news—such as the Boston bombings—one second after it happens in less than 140 characters.

This is not meant to scare us, but rather to help us change the way we operate … in order to easily invite anyone from anywhere ‘in’ who wants to help, or respond when asked by our constituents to react to local needs, and innovate when necessary.

Why so much attention on Millennials?

It’s simple.

  • They are the largest generation with more than 80 million in their ranks.
  • Their consumer discretionary spending amounts to $300 billion each year.
  • They are entering our workforce and as a result other generations are finding themselves challenged by this generation’s work/life blending concept.
  • They want to conquer the world.

Perhaps most importantly, they want to accomplish all of this regardless of what existing institutions are already trying to do. For some, this “Millennial” approach may be frustrating, while for others this only adds to the intrigue of this generation and increases their desire to find common ground with Millennials.

The bottom line is that Millennials want the same thing you do—to offer ideas, be challenged, and to create solutions to our pressing problems. They want to be involved in causes, but not every organization is open—open to the ways the generation seeks to be involved. Nor are they open to the idea that today’s public expectation is that the organization is more human and transparent than ever before. Millennials are knocking on the doors of these organizations and asking them to listen. Unfortunately, we see that some organizations shut them, and any generation that disagrees, out with the way they do business.

So then the question is whether or not all generations of constituents, volunteers, staff members, and leaders for a common good in our communities (however you define that community), can find a way to work together in order to reach the impact we all desire.

The answer is that we have to, because if we don’t, we run an even bigger risk. Jean Case, CEO of the Case Foundation, put it eloquently in the foreword of Cause for Change:

“If government or nonprofits aren’t moving fast or being effective, Millennials will channel their efforts through corporations or communities. And if corporations and communities aren’t working they’ll use their dollars, followers, and friends to demand change or to support those institutions that are making change happen on their terms.”

Rather than perpetuate the ongoing development of more organizations, why not find better ways to get Millennials and organizations working together?

So then what’s it going to take?

Organizations interested in operating differently—more openly, creating more collaborative work and constituent environments, and refining how external audiences can communicate with, involve and give so it is easier, faster, and more trustworthy.

At the same time, Millennials must be willing to come to organizations with better expectations of how institutions are ever evolving. This is a time of evolution where change does not happen overnight. Millennials must recognize that organizations possess much of the historical knowledge of community building and valuable ability to address needs.

We need an environment where both sides can excel with each other. Where conversation and dialogue about the newest ways to build these movements and how organizations can adapt.

That is why we built MCON—a platform to create dialogue among executive leaders wanting to engage the Millennial generation, but who need assistance to get going. MCON is a day of thought leadership from both Millennials and non-Millennials talking about their experiences, sharing what has failed, and collaborating on ways in which they will innovate as they go about their journey of redefining their organization. This year, MCON13 will take place on July 18 both online (FREE livestream) and in person (register) in Indianapolis, IN.

After MCON13, the conversation will continue with some of the best leaders and practitioners who are actively using social media, service and fundraising techniques to engage Millennials. This 12-month program, MI Talks, is included with every in person or online paid ticket to MCON. Participants will build upon the thought leadership gained at MCON13 with specific strategies and tactics from organizations such as Crochet Kids or

I know the generation may frustrate you and make you work hard for their dollars and time, but trust me, magic truly happens when Millennials and organizations come together for a common good. Join us at MCON13 to hear how your organization can get started with a new approach to how you work with and for a generation that is ready and waiting to be engaged.

Register to attend MCON in person or online on July 18 at

Derrick Feldmann is the CEO of Achieve Guidance. You can follow him on Twitter @derrickfeldmann.