From our roots as Salva O’Renick, Will & Grail has a history of investing in initiatives that serve as catalyst for positive change. Promoting entrepreneurship, innovation and social good makes our community stronger, and testing new approaches to to solve complex challenges makes us better so our impact expands. Here are a few of the initiatives we’ve advanced.
Recognizing the need to foster a community culture of social innovation and purpose-driven business, Will & Grail launched Conquer for Good in March 2016. The initiative promotes awareness, education and connectivity highlighting the three forces of social change - entrepreneurial innovation, enterprise scale, and an egalitarian sense of good. The Conquer for Good experience includes an annual mini-conference, monthly Connect events, and stories that are captured locally and shared globally. Plans are in motion to take Conquer for Good into other communities and expand programming to fill gaps in the social innovation ecosystem.
In 2013, Salva O’Renick launched a free workspace community for entrepreneurs in marketing services, apparel and fashion. Utilizing space in a renovated century old factory that is home to Will & Grail, this initiative was recognized by the Downtown Council of Kansas City in 2016 for its contribution to the revitalization of downtown and efforts to build a more prosperous, vibrant and healthy community. Among the companies positively impacted by this effort are Charlie Hustle, Alpha Clothing, Niall, and Sandlot Goods.
From 2013 to 2015, Salva O’Renick’s business incubator, Ingenology, organized and hosted the NASA Space Apps Challenge in Kansas City. From 75 sites around the world, Kansas City earned global recognition each year of the competition. In 2013, Sol, the interplanetary weather app, won the Best Use of Data award, one of five categories in the competition. The White House honored Sol as a leading example of its 21st century government initiative. In 2014, a second global honor came to Kansas City for the web app Yorbit, which won the Most Inspiring award. Kansas City also won an honorable mention recognition in 2013, 2014 and 2015 - making it one of a handful of sites globally to win multiple awards. In addition to inspiring the tech community in Kansas City, the competition was a proving ground for rapid iteration and design thinking to drive solution development.
Seeing a lack of common definition for what a purpose-driven brand should look like, Will & Grail created Brand Believability to measure and understand this trend. The proprietary research process gathers quantitative and qualitative input to measure the perception of purpose against a simple benchmark: Do you believe an organization makes a profound, positive impact on lives, communities and the world, and why? Trends show the desire of customers, employees and investors to support organizations that act in a way that balances purpose and profitability. Brand Believability answers the key questions: Are you a brand I believe has a positive impact? And do I believe you mean what you say? Contact us to learn more.
Social change in communities involves a complex set of challenges that require new approaches for successful solution design. Will & Grail has invested resources to tackle community development initiatives that bridge barriers, promote opportunity and deliver integrated solutions that can drive sustainable change that can make a lasting difference. Examples include the use of design thinking to model a space that brings social entrepreneurship together with education, workforce development, financial coaching and community engagement in a neighborhood suffering the impacts of poverty. We are also leading the conversation about an integrated community development project, called Eastbridge, that combines entrepreneurial ventures, makers and manufacturers, centralized shipping and fulfillment, workforce development, transportation and livable neighborhoods - focused on inclusion and empowerment.