Mission Fuel program receives BizTimes Media 2020 Nonprofit Excellence Award for Social Enterprise
November 6, 2020
Cardinal Stritch University's Mission Fuel program received the BizTimes Media's 2020 Nonprofit Excellence Award for Social Enterprise. The award, which recognizes a nonprofit organization that demonstrates creative application of the principles of social enterprise in the operation and funding of the organization, was announced at today's seventh annual awards program that salutes southeastern Wisconsin's best corporate citizens and most effective nonprofit organizations. Watch the awards presentation here.
Launched in 2017, Mission Fuel applies a business accelerator model to assist nonprofit leadership teams with developing and implementing strategies to diversify revenue streams, become more entrepreneurial, and ultimately realize a more stable and self-sustainable future. Forty-nine leaders from 21 nonprofit organizations have participated in the first three Mission Fuel cohorts.
"Cardinal Stritch University is honored to receive the BizTimes Media 2020 Nonprofit Excellence Award for Social Enterprise for our Mission Fuel program," said Stritch Interim President Dr. Dan Scholz. "Social enterprise has been at the heart of our University since the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi founded the institution in 1937. Mission Fuel is just one example innovation at work at Stritch. The relationships we have created with nonprofit leadership teams will have a lasting impact on their organizations and those they serve, and demonstrates our ongoing commitment to making Milwaukee a better place to live, work and play. Congratulations to the other organizations and individuals who were recognized this year. You are making a significant difference our community and your good work is appreciated."
"Mission Fuel has become a catalytic development program that enhances non-profit leaders to rethink their operating business models to a more entrepreneurial focus," said Gene Manzanet, ''14, '16, Mission Fuel Board Chair and U.S. Bank Vice President for Community Lending Sales Manager (Milwaukee-Madison). "This allows them to meet the economic needs of the organization while serving the social needs of the community. We have seen incredible stories of alumni of the program go forward into this new economic environment with the confidence, skills and network that have allowed them to raise necessary funds, create powerful project teams that have brought their new business models and ideas to life. As a result of the work and partnership with those participating leaders has brought $8 million of additional investment into our Milwaukee community, serving our residents.
"Mission Fuel as an important part of Cardinal Stritch University which has brought forth an extremely important development tool for all our community leaders during an important time were organizations and business are all adjusting to a new and more challenging economic environment," Manzanet continued. "The University’s active support and leadership in innovation with Mission Fuel showcases its commitment to being part of developing active solutions that will help our communities and market areas. It is that passion and commitment that showcase the best of our Franciscan values in action."
Ger Thao, a Cohort 1 participant and operations Manager of the Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce, shared, "“Mission Fuel was a life-changing program that had transformed the way I approached my work. Through Mission Fuel, I was able to develop key leadership skills such as strategic planning and critical thinking. Mission Fuel had inspired me to further my education and pursue my MBA at Cardinal Stritch University. The support and guidance I received from the Mission Fuel team members after the program ended, allowed me to smoothly transition into graduate school and provided a great experience for me. With that support from the Mission Fuel program, I was able to finish my MBA program this past summer. Mission Fuel is a wonderful program with lasting beneficial impacts on the organizations and communities it touches.”
To learn more about Mission Fuel, contact Dr. Mark Gesner, Executive Director of The Stritch Hub for Innovation and Community Engaged Learning, or Mikal Wesley, Mission Fuel Project Coordinator.