A Minnesota Social Entrepreneur Wins $20,000

The four Social Entrepreneur’s Cup finalists. (L to R) Jennifer Leimaile Ho from Hearth Connection, Jason Edens from RREAL, Jim McCorkell from Admission Possible and Dr. Michael Helgeson from Apple Tree Dental. photo | Steve Floyd

Last Thursday I attended the Second Annual Engaged Philanthropy Conference, which was hosted by Social Venture Partners Minnesota (SVP). As I entered the banquet hall I immediately felt energized. People were enjoying coffee, mingling with peers and learning about local philanthropic efforts.

There was a heightened sense of excitement floating around the room because one of the four Social Entrepreneur’s Cup finalists would walk away with $20,000 USD to further its efforts. Who would it be? The four finalists in the running were Admission Possible, Rural Renewable Energy Alliance, Hearth Connection and Apple Tree Dental.

The keynote speaker Don Budinger, business and social entrepreneur. photo | Steve Floyd

Throughout the day we heard from a keynote speaker, business and social entrepreneur Don Budinger, attended informative learning sessions and listened to the finalists’ presentations.

After each organization gave its final pitch, SVP turned the floor over the audience. A buzz filled the room as soon as the emcee told us we would be casting a vote for our favorite organization. My table launched into a discussion about the finalist we all agreed on. After a slight debate between Apple Tree Dental and Admission Possible, we cast our vote for Admission Possible. Although each table had weighed in, the final decision came down to the Social Entrepreneur’s Cup judges.

After enjoying an engaging learning session about the ‘Power of Storytelling’ by Lori Jacobwith, I was ready to know the contest results. We all took our places in the banquet hall, and all eyes were on the four finalists. This was it.

Jason Edens, Director of RREAL. photo | Steve Floyd

Steve Bloom, SVP Founder and Board Chair explained that the judging process was difficult and race was close. In the end the first runner-up was Admission Possible, and the first place winner was Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL).

Jason Edens, director of RREAL, was elated. He walked up to the podium with a big smile and seemed to be in disbelief. He took a picture with SVP and quickly walked into the crowd. He was so excited by his win that he forgot to receive his check and say a few words. Edens laughed and made his way back up to the podium to express a heartfelt thank-you.

Jason Edens, Director of RREAL receives award from SVP Founder Steve Bloom. photo | Steve Floyd

Social Venture Partners MN
Admission Possible
Rural Renewable Energy Alliance
Hearth Connection
Apple Tree Dental

1 comment:

  1. It's great to see that social entrepreneurship is gaining momentum in Minnesota. There is a lot of energy on the coasts, and now MN is getting in the mix!

    Thanks for posting,