Foundations for Change: Structuring Your Social Startup

You've got an idea to change the world and are developing tech to make it happen - but where should your new venture live?
This class, geared at digital entrepreneurs, app developers, and tech-savvy changemakers, covers nonprofit and profit-with-purpose structures for socially-minded startups that want to stay nimble, grow quickly, and position themselves for maximum impact.

This will be an interactive session with plenty of opportunity for discussion and Q&A.
Some of the topics covered:
- For profit or nonprofit? What are the pros and cons of the different organizational structures and how hard are they to start?
- What are your legal duties to investors, stakeholders, and the public? How does this affect your ability to prioritize social good over profit?
- Who owns intellectual property created in each kind of organization and what does this mean for your long-term success?
- How can you use crowdfunding to launch your new venture?
- What are the rules on internet, mobile, and digital advocacy?  How can you maximize your ability to create change?

Wesley Adams

Wesley Adams

As a serial entrepreneur, Wesley has helped launch more than a dozen new ventures including for-profits, 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) organizations.  He is currently the COO at Purpose Foundation, an incubator for new social movements, where he helped launch Webby Honoree, a global advocacy organization employing people on multiple continents that has grown to nearly 1 million members in the last year.

Before joining Purpose Foundation, Wesley was a founding partner at The Icon Group, a hospitality development and event marketing agency with properties around the country, including the James Beard Foundation Award-nominated restaurant La Condesa in Austin. He previously launched several high-profile nightlife venues in Miami and has worked with clients such as Universal Studios, ESPN, Diesel, Playstation and Moet Hennessy to create indelible branded experiences and produce performance- and celebrity-driven events.

Wesley has worked in consumer engagement for the past decade, specializing in event marketing and sponsorship integration. In addition, he is a founding member of the New York LGBT Community Center's Young Leaders Council and is currently helping to produce documentary films on LGBT identity in the US and on diverse for-profit and non-profit approaches to conservation and sustainability.


Gene Gurkoff

Gene is a lawyer and entrepreneur who develops social media applications to promote social good. His latest application, Charity Miles, is a free iPhone/Android app that enables people to earn money for charity while walking, running or biking.

Before launching his business, Gene worked as a lawyer for two New York firms where, in addition to his corporate practice, he served as the pro bono General Counsel to The Michael J. Fox Foundation For Parkinson’s Research. Gene maintains a private corporate practice and continues to advise The Michael J. Fox Foundation and several other non-profit organizations pro bono.

In addition to representing The Michael J. Fox Foundation, Gene founded Team Fox, the foundation’s grassroots fundraising arm. Since 2005, Team Fox has grown to over 2,000 members who have collectively raised over $10 million for Parkinson’s Research.

As a lawyer, Gene advises corporate and non-profit clients on an array of structural, operational, financial, political and tax issues. Through his involvement with Team Fox, Gene continues to grapple with the various challenges of creating and growing grassroots movements. And, as an entrepreneur, Gene actively seeks to develop technological (and other) solutions to these challenges.  Gene graduated from Harvard Law School and Northwestern University where his studies focused on creative problem solving.

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