Meet Cole Dutton

Meet Cole Dutton

This week, we are proud to announce that the Sullivan Foundation will be hosting the first of several social media takeovers by students on Sullivan campuses. These students will spend a week talking about the changemaking happening on their campuses and showing the work the Sullivan Foundation is doing at colleges across the Southeast.

The first of these social media takeovers will be led by Andrew Cole Dutton. Cole is the founder of the NAIL Initiative, a native of Big Stone Gap Virginia, and a full-time student at Berea College. Cole also serves as a student ambassador for the Sullivan Foundation at Berea College. He is highly motivated to improve the lives of hard-working Americans, and champion the efforts of intelligent youth looking for ways to improve their communities with new and innovative ideas.

Finding New Paths

Cole says the Sullivan Foundation has helped him find new, innovative approaches to changemaking.

“The most creative ideas stem from the most childish of places. I have seen more creative ideas come from a group of high-school students than I have from organized planning meetings. The Sullivan Foundation stimulates those kinds of creativity-generating moments and champions young leaders looking to make a change on multiple college campuses.”

Making Connections

Sullivan has also played a role in building a strong network of changemakers, Cole says. The Ignite Retreat, in particular, has helped him meet fellow service-minded people.

“The connections I made in Sullivan allowed me to further develop my own skills as an entrepreneur and teach others how they, too, can be successful entrepreneurs. The connections I made with Sullivan have been an invaluable asset in my personal development and have connected me with more resources than I can count. I’ve had video calls and conferences with the people I met during the Ignite Retreat and have interacted with even more changemakers since.”

Igniting Change

Cole recommends the Ignite Retreat, which focuses on helping young changemakers find their passion and a plan to change their world, to anyone on any career path. The retreat is open to all college students, and takes place twice a year in North Carolina.

“The Ignite Retreat acts as an excellent introduction to innovation and entrepreneurship for any student on any career path. The Sullivan Foundation entrepreneurship teachings are implementable in any number of fields and are thus more applicable to students every-day lives.”

Taking First Steps

Cole launched the Next Appalachian Innovation Leaders (NAIL) Initiative, a program that focuses on getting kids in the Big Stone Gap the tools and connections they need to build an innovative community. (Keep an eye out next week to learn more about this project.)

Cole says the information he gained through the Ignite Retreat and the Sullivan Foundation helped him on his way to start the NAIL Inititative.

“After working tirelessly to found and organize a non-profit on my own, I learned quickly that what I gained from Sullivan comes in handy.”

Follow the Social Media Takeover

Cole will be running the Sullivan Foundation social media next week. To keep up with the awesome work he’s doing, follow his social media takeover on the Sullivan Foundation Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

7 Things You Should Know About the Ignite Retreat

7 Things You Should Know About the Ignite Retreat

How does spending a weekend in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina learning about how to change the world sound? Oh, did we mention you’ll go home with a ton of new friends who have the same passions and interests as you? And that you’ll gain invaluable insights to help you make your dreams a reality?

If any of this sounds good to you, you should consider attending the Ignite Retreat. This three-day event focuses on sparking change and helping young people start on their changemaking journey. Below are seven things you should know about the Ignite Retreat.

The Basics

The Ignite Retreat is held each October and April in North Carolina. It consists of a tribe of dedicated changemakers coming together to spark social change in three days. Whether you’re still working out what being a changemaker is about or finalizing details on a venture, you’ll find help at the Ignite Retreat.

This October, the retreat will take place on October 19 – October 21 in Asheville, North Carolina. Registration is $425 and includes all meals, housing, and access to an alumni community of changemakers, as well as to the programs offered at the retreat. The deadline to register is October 10.

There Are Different Tracks

We realize that not everyone at the Ignite Retreat is at the same place in their changemaking journey. Some people may just be figuring out what it means for them to live lives of service, while others may be making business plans for social enterprises. That’s why we created three different tracks you can choose from.

On the personal track, you’ll focus on understanding your skills and passions and building the mindset of a social entrepreneur. On the problems track, you’ll gain practical insights and concrete skills to help you tackle a specific issue. On the projects track, you’ll dive deeply into one initiative you’d like to develop to change your campus or community.

Your Network Will Grow

The Ignite Retreat provides a unique opportunity for changemakers all over the American Southeast to meet likeminded people. Being surrounded by a community of people with the same passion for changing the world, even for three days, is inspiring to say the least. But the connections go a little deeper than that.

As you continue on your path, you’ll discover that having a strong network is crucial to effecting change. The Ignite Retreat provides an invaluable network of connections you can call on for help, whether you need advice, encouragement, or a co-sponsor for a volunteer event. And you won’t only connect with the attendees at the current Ignite event – you’ll get connected to everyone who has ever attended an Ignite Retreat, including those who have already started their own changemaking initiatives.

You’ll Workshop Your Project

One of the biggest benefits of a strong network of fellow changemakers is the opportunity for feedback on ideas and projects. Talking to someone with more experience or just with a different perspective can uncover ideas you never would have thought of to make your project even better. You may also hear some cautionary tales that can help you avoid mistakes.

At the Ignite Retreat, you’ll have specially designated time for this kind of workshopping. Our workshops are hands-on and experiential to make sure you take away the most insight possible from your experience. We will give you plenty of time to work on a project, get clarity on potential career paths, or dig deeper into a passion of yours.

All College Students Are Welcome

While the Sullivan Foundation is a scholarship program focused on college campuses, you don’t have to be a scholarship student to attend. Maybe you want to run a nonprofit or a volunteer service alongside another career. Maybe you’re just finding out about the retreat or your passion for changemaking.

Whatever the circumstances, all college with a heart for change are welcome at the Ignite Retreat. Whether you are a business major planning on starting a social enterprise, an enthusiastic volunteer, or a new changemaker, there is a place for you. It’s never too late to start pursuing a life of service, and the Ignite Retreat is the perfect starting point.

You’ll Meet Awesome Changemakers

While the strong network of fellow changemakers at the Ignite Retreat is a huge benefit, the opportunities for connection don’t stop there. The retreat also includes a number of speakers and presenters who are experienced changemakers. There will also be a speaker from a successful social enterprise, such as Thistle Farms or BeeCosystem.

Facilitators and speakers at the event this year include Spud Marshall, director of student engagement for the Sullivan Foundation and chief catalyst at the co.space; Gabrielle Deculus, founder of Business Rules for Women; Chad Littlefield, founder of We!; and Harrison Wood, program coordinator of TFA Fellows. You’ll have plenty of time to hang out with these presenters and pick their brains about their experience.

You’ll Want to Come Back

The Ignite Retreat is a different experience every time, and we’re sure you’ll want to come back more than once. For one thing, the different tracks are prepared to walk you through every step of your changemaking journey. You may come the first year just wanting to figure out what on earth a social enterprise is and find yourself returning for a third year as a budding social entrepreneur.

About ten percent of the people at each Ignite Retreat have been to the event before. And the good news is you don’t even have to wait a whole year for your chance to attend again! The retreats are held in April and October each year and rotate between Asheville and Raleigh, North Carolina.

Registering for the Ignite Retreat

If you’ve ever had a dream of changing the world and haven’t known where to start, you need to come to the Ignite Retreat. We will give you tools to make your dream a reality and help you change your world. Why wait to start igniting change?

Registration for the upcoming Ignite Retreat is now open. The retreat will be held in Asheville, North Carolina on October 19 through October 21, and the deadline to register is October 10. Visit our website to secure your place today.