From Rooster Magazine’s COLORADO’S YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS Issue:
We often hear music is the perfect vessel for doing good. Nothing could be closer to that mark than Conscious Alliance, a Boulder-based national nonprofit organization. It’s committed to supporting communities in crisis through hunger relief and youth empowerment initiatives that are organized at concerts and music events. Led by a young and enthusiastic executive director, Justin Levy, Conscious Alliance operates through ongoing grassroots food collection and hunger awareness programs. The donations then benefit local food pantries nationwide and at economically isolated Native American reservations. For Levy, it’s more than just music and charitable giving. He hopes to break the cycle of poverty by creating opportunity and inspiration for the younger generation.
What have you learned about yourself while running your business?
That I have a lot to learn, and that I must be patient yet persistent.
How do you keep up with the changing business landscape?
By creating the space for others’ input, ideas and innovation.
Where do you see your industry going in the future?
More strategic partnerships between organizations and companies.
How do you measure success?
We measure success in a number of ways: number of meals distributed annually; how well we sustain our current youth programs and our ability to enhance and grow our youth programs; our staff retention and overall staff well-being. Our goal is to always be increasing the amount of money spent on projects while keeping our overhead below 20 percent. Right now, the organization is operating with an overhead of 13.5 percent.
What’s the biggest myth in business?
That non-profits are 100 percent volunteer based with no business expenses. Non-profits are a business and, very much like a for-profit company, we have fixed monthly expenses and overhead. Although non-profit organizations are not selling a produce, they are providing an incredibly valuable service to the community. To provide a service, it takes funding and time. We look to individuals, foundations and companies to invest their time and financial commitments to make our work possible.
What was the toughest part about your first year in business?
The toughest part about my first year as executive director was learning the ins and outs of the organization’s financials while keeping up with the organization’s programming and staff management and somehow still making time for my personal life and overall well being.
Favorite business book:
Living an Extraordinary Life” by Robert White.
Favorite part about running your own business:
I truly enjoy getting to work with such a talented and inspiring group of individuals while working to make a difference in the life of others.
Best advice you’ve received:
Continue to step outside your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to fail.
Best advice you have for aspiring entrepreneurs:
Believe in yourself and your team.
Do you have any mentors?
Ray Piagentini, my high school guidance counselor, who truly believed in me as a leader and helped my develop my leadership skills. Lance Gentry, former president of Justin’s (Nut Butter) and Conscious Alliance board member. Lance was fearless in business while having a heart like no one else. He was truly fearless and radical, and because of that he created extraordinary results for himself and others. He passed away in 2012.
Other Recent Blog Posts
This year’s Top 5 Young Professionals and Fan Favorite have been named Denver – The 2016 GenXYZ ColoradoBiz Magazine celebration, now in its 7th year, recognized 25 outstanding young professionals for their excellence in business on Sept. 29. Mayor Michael Hancock addressed the event, which drew more than 200 people, and Denver Channel 7News Reporter & Producer Eric Lupher acted […]READ MORE »
Conscious Alliance Presents: 3RD ANNUAL ‘ART THAT FEEDS’ HARVEST CELEBRATION Featuring intimate musical and food performances Hosted by award winning chef Hosea Rosenberg of Musical entertainment by PATTERSON HOOD & MIKE COOLEY of Drive-By Truckers appearing as THE DIMMER TWINS Guests Will Enjoy: Small plates prepared by some of Boulder’s finest chefs and restaurants An open bar including craft beer, wine, […]READ MORE »
Come enjoy a private event benefitting Conscious Alliance at the MacMillan Estate featuring live music by Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe and Friends plus special guests Ivan Neville & Jennifer Hartswick, dinner, open bar including beer wine and spirits, an exclusive silent auction and more. DATE & TIME: July 24, 2016 // 4PM- DARK LOCATION: MacMillan Estate, 989 East […]READ MORE »
Conscious Alliance feeds, educates and empowers By Mariah Taylor – June 16, 2016 Conscious Alliance has a simple slogan: “Art that Feeds.” With the help of bands, music venues and concertgoers, the Boulder-based nonprofit provides hunger relief and youth empowerment to communities short of resources. It’s what Executive Director Justin Levy explains as “an opportunity to give […]READ MORE »