We had an awesome second week of GivingPoint’s Social Innovators Academy! We were hosted this week at The Cottage School in Roswell. The five students this week came from The Galloway School, Alpharetta High School, Hillgrove High School, and Georgia Cyber Academy. Each student spent the week learning from industry experts and working on passion projects to help them become better social entrepreneurs.


The students included: Gracelyn L. from Georgia Cyber Academy; Ian C. from The Galloway School; Ariana G. from Hillgrove High School; and from Alpharetta High School we had Vaishu A., Rohit D., and Khushi M.

Day One

The week started with a session on Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship from Ted Bradford. Ted is currently the Director of Operations at Constellations, which is the coworking space our office is at, but he also shared more of his journey and work history and all the ways he has been a social entrepreneur over the years. In the afternoon, we heard from Caitlin O’Donnell Ferguson, the Project Manager for Goizueta Business School at Emory University. Caitlin actually presented Monday and Tuesday, and we are so grateful for all the knowledge she shared with the students! Monday’s presentation focused on Project Management and Goal Setting.

Day Two

Day two started with a Strategic Leadership presentation and activities. Dr. Steven Palmer, the Head of School for The Cottage School, lead the presentation and shared insight such as “don’t follow your passion; follow your opportunities and bring your passion along with you.” In the afternoon, Caitlin returned, this time to share her expertise on Budgeting and Fundraising. Additionally, the afternoon was spent beginning to workshop ideas for the student’s projects.

Day Three

Wednesday was all about Perfecting Your Pitch and Networking, with lots of opportunities for the students to start practicing both skills. Carisa Turner, APR, Director of Communications and Public Relations for Roswell Inc, came by in the morning to walk the students through the important aspects of a pitch- whether it be a 60-second elevator speech, or a five minute presentation, like the students would be doing on Friday. In the afternoon, Sharla Calloway, Director of Volunteer Services for North Fulton Community Charities in Roswell, helped the students learn Networking skills, which they then spent some time practicing later that afternoon. Additionally, our students had the opportunity to practice both their pitch and networking when two of our board members, Doug Curling and Moses Brown, stopped by to meet the students and hear about their projects.

Day Four

Thursday, day four, was focused on Event Planning and Partnerships. We heard from Holly York, Director of Development at The Drake House, as she talked through the challenges and strengths of each student’s proposed project. Later on Thursday, our students were given a tour of The Cottage School by Brenda Hall, Director of Admissions. They rode around campus in style! The service project this week involved our students helping The Cottage School with an upcoming project of theirs; brainstorming ideas for the “Purple Brick Road” the school is building.

Day Five

Our final session of the week was Branding and Marketing, lead by Ranielle Barbas, Associate Creative Director at Havas Sports and Entertainment. Ranielle talked through the importance of a brand and how it can make a huge difference for the student’s nonprofits and projects. The rest of Friday was spent in preparation for the Minnow-vation Presentations in the afternoon- GivingPoint’s own mini-Shark Tank. The judges for Minnow-vation were Amy Gates, GivingPoint’s Executive Director, Doug Curling, a GivingPoint board member and owner of New Kent Capital, and Kurt Hilbert, of Hilbert Law.

Each student did a great job using the skills they honed all week to present their project!


  • Vaishu’s project is called Philm and focused on producing videos for nonprofits to help share their story and message in the community.
  • Ian is continuing a project started by a GivingPoint alum, Game Givers, which provides video games to hospitalized children for entertainment.
  • Rohit wants to focus on access to clean water for the slums of India.
  • Ariana created a project called The Teacher Provider, which helps ensure that teachers have a good environment for their classrooms and their students by helping provide school supplies so that teachers don’t have to pay out of pocket.
  • Gracelyn’s focus is on social justice and equity, and wants to provide the basics of human care for people who endure troubling obstacles and help reduce stress during their path to citizenship.
  • And lastly, Khushi wants to use her project, Women in STEM, to inform girls of all possible STEM-related careers and to support and empower them to be successful in their field.

We ended the week with a mini graduation ceremony for the students, recognizing and celebrating everything they had learned and accomplished over the week. Even though the workshops are done, we will continue to work with the students to help them implement their project ideas and continue to turn their #PassionToAction!