Changemaker Challenge

Changemaker Challenge

April 9th, 2021 from 3:00pm to 5:30pm on Zoom

The Changemaker Challenge is a pitch competition for any North Central student with idea for positive social impact - large or small.  Students can receive between $500 and $2500 to initiate a project on campus or in the local community, or to launch a non-profit or for-profit social venture - all ideas are welcome.  In the past, students have pitched ideas to address civil rights competency, financial literacy, food deserts, recycling and waste reduction, human trafficking, and more.


Interested in Attending?
In addition to hearing inspiring pitches from students, the Changemaker Challenge features a keynote speaker and optional breakout sessions with former students who previously pitched in the Challenge.  REGISTER HERE.


Keynote Speaker: Cheryl L. Dorsey

Cheryl L. Dorsey is a trailblazer in the social entrepreneurship movement, and the president of Echoing Green, a global nonprofit that supports emerging social entrepreneurs and invests deeply in their ideas and leadership. Prior to leading this social impact organization, Cheryl was a social entrepreneur herself and received an Echoing Green Fellowship in 1992 to help launch The Family Van, a community-based mobile health unit in Boston. Cheryl has a degree from Harvard Medical School, a master’s in public policy from Harvard Kennedy School, and a bachelor’s degree in history and science, graduating magna cum laude with the highest honors from Harvard-Radcliffe Colleges. She is a frequent speaker on racial justice and equity in philanthropy. She has advocated for equitable funding for leaders of color on panels organized by The Stanford Social Innovation Review, Skoll World Forum, The World Economic Forum, and more. Cheryl is an accomplished leader and influential changemaker, and we are very excited to welcome her to our campus as our 2021 Changemaker Challenge Keynote Speaker!

Meet Our Panel of Judges

Esther Benjamin '90

Esther T. Benjamin '90 has been a global executive in the public, private, and civil society sectors for more than 25 years. Before joining WES as CEO and executive director, Esther worked with Laureate Education, Inc., a leading global higher education organization. Esther, who serves on North Central College's Board of Trustees, advocates for international, immigrant, and/or refugee students to have have accessible and inclusive education opportunities.


Jon Deiter '75

Jon Deiter ’75 is the founder of Jon Deiter Soultions, LLC. His Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) company provides business strengthening techniques and goal setting strategies to assist small businesses in achieving their goals through growth and profit, all while practicing great leadership qualities along the way. Jon, an alum, has worked to create businesses, public companies, and other ventures that fuel his passion for servant leadership.

Sara Cantor

Sara Cantor is the co-founder and director of Greater Good Studio in Chicago. Greater Good Studio is a strategic design firm focused advancing equity. Sara and the team at Greater Good create human-centered programs, tools and experiences, and teach design to changemakers in organizations and communities. Greater Good Studio believes in the capacity of all people to create solutions that improve society. 

Scott Boyer

Scott is the founder and president of OWP Pharmaceuticals, a unique social enterprise focused on commercializing neuroscience products in the US market.  OWP fuels the ROW Foundation, which provides educational, diagnostic and treatment support to under-resourced people with epilepsy and associated psychiatric disorders globally. Prior to founding OWP and ROW, Scott led multi-million dollar sales and marketing efforts for numerous branded drugs in the pharmaceutical industry.


  • 3:00pm: Welcome and Keynote Address
  • 3:45pm: Pitch Competition
  • 4:45pm: Breakout Sessions with Changemaker Challenge Alumni:
    • Lyndsay Hartman '19 (Founder of Point to Point)
    • Tyler Jones '20 (Founder of Slab Outdoors)
  • 5:15pm: Recipients Announced