Introducing the Business with Purpose Scholarship Recipients
In Fall of 2018, Clif Bar launched the Business with Purpose Scholarship to inspire and enable tomorrow’s business leaders to become a positive force for change. The scholarship was specifically designed to address the financial roadblock of student loans for graduating college seniors, after results from a Clif Bar & Company survey found that nearly 60 percent of young adults ages 18–34 believe that debt from their education limits their ability to pursue a job or career they care about. The survey also found that student loan debt is their #1 financial burden.
The goal of the one-year scholarship is to create opportunities for college graduates to pursue meaningful experiences they may not be able to afford due to pressure to take the first high-paying job offer that comes their way. The scholarship is uniquely designed to not only address financial concerns but also offer mentoring from CLIF Bar & Company employees for up to 12 months.
“At CLIF, the freedom to prioritize our values over short-term gains has been key to our success for more than 25 years,” said Gary Erickson, founder, owner, and co-chief executive of CLIF Bar & Company. “With this scholarship, we hope to inspire the next generation to prioritize purpose at a pivotal moment in their lives, rather than letting conventional wisdom or financial realities determine which path they take after college.”
Selected from a highly competitive group of applicants, the four CLIF Bar & Company Business with Purpose Scholarship recipients will receive up to $37,172 — the average student loan debt — and a $3,000 monthly stipend, in addition to ongoing mentoring.
We are pleased to announce our four scholarship recipients — Aldo Jansel, Mac Dvorak, Maria Rose Belding, and Olivia Greenspan — and are thrilled to support them in their year of purpose.
Aldo Jansel, a civil engineering graduate from Florida International University, is on a mission to help solve the global sanitation crisis by making dry, compostable toilets a reality in developing nations around the world. In conjunction with the Berlin-based organization, Non-Water Sanitation, Aldo’s year of purpose will begin in Africa and take him on a journey to 12 countries with the highest rates of open defecation. He will build toilets in rural communities, provide education on ecological sanitation, and help train local entrepreneurs, with a goal of launching his own portable toilet company.
Mac Dvorak, a graduate of Hampshire College, will be working with the National Eating Disorder Association’s Body Project and the Lindsey Meyer Teen Institute on a program to help middle and high school age girls develop positive body image and self-esteem. With a goal of linking in-class curriculum with experiential learning, Mac will be combining this work with a four-month outdoor education program at the Outward Bound School of Philadelphia. Mac’s future goal is to develop a social enterprise that supports young women with a holistic view of emotional and physical health. Mac uses they/them/their pronouns.
Maria Rose Belding, a graduate of American University, will spend her year of purpose transitioning from her role as executive director of MEANS (Matching Excess And Needs for Stability) an award-winning national food donation database she started, to become chairwoman of the board. During this transition, she will begin working at a healthcare-focused think tank in Washington, DC, tackling some of the biggest problems in healthcare today. With ambitions to go to medical school and become an emergency room physician, Maria Rose intends to apply her learnings from MEANS to help fix the American health system.
Olivia Greenspan, a graduate of Fordham University, Olivia’s year of purpose will be to continue as co-founder of TILL (Today’s Industrial Living Landscapes) a Connecticut-based organization whose mission is to heal contaminated brownfields for use as sustainable mixed-use property. Olivia’s year will also be spent expanding TILL: bioFASHIONtech, a company offering ecological options for the clothing industry. This includes work on Connecticut’s first and only ecological fashion incubator located at Stamford Town Center.
“Gary and I knew we had to do something when we learned today’s college graduates feel so burdened by debt that they can’t justify exploring meaningful experiences that could lead them to a career with purpose,” said Kit Crawford, CLIF Bar & Company owner and co-chief executive. “Before CLIF, I hadn’t run a food company, but I had spent years volunteering. That led me to design a community service program that’s integral to our business model. I’m proof that you don’t need to start in the boardroom to land there.