Venture hosts nonprofit founder


Davis Marks/Chronicle

Jon Levine ’94 speaks to students about his nonprofit Minds Matter LA, outlining different potential logo designs and asking for their feedback as to which logos would best attract clients.

Lucas Cohen-d'Arbeloff

Matter Los Angeles Co-Founder and Board Chair Jon Levine ’94 on Nov. 10. Minds Matter is a non-profit organization seeking to provide educational opportunities to low-income high school students through summer programs and mentorships.

Levine opened the event by discussing social entrepreneurship, which is the idea that businesses can remain profitable while simultaneously working to solve societal issues. He said many companies are incentivized to pursue these charitable goals by public demand.

“Today, the studies tell you consumers want brands that mean something, that take a stand,” Levine said. “A brand that doesn’t take a stand is probably worse than a brand that takes a stand you may not even agree with.”

Levine said he was inspired to start Minds Matter while studying at Colgate University, where he met people from a variety of backgrounds and began to recognize the privilege of having attended a prestigious high school.

“We were all ending up at the same place,” Levine said. “We were ending up at the same colleges, at the same jobs, and it made me think, ‘What is it that I had that I could give to someone else to help them get to that place faster?’”

HW Venture head of external relations Hope Hsieh ’23 said Levine’s presentation gave her further insight into nonprofit organizations as a niche business model.

“I thought the Venture event was very cool because it went into depth about the nuances of nonprofits,” Hsieh said. “There are different types, and each type can be catered to fill a different need. [It] was very interesting to see that on a real, tangible level.”

HW Venture co-leader Sophia Rascoff ’23 said she appreciated Levine’s engagement with students on topics such as branding and design.

“My favorite part of the event was [giving] feedback and [participating] in the branding choices of Minds Matter,” Rascoff said. “Levine shared [Mind Matter’s] branding changes with us, and we were able to give him our thoughts on their messaging, logo and more. That type of direct participation is one of the most valuable elements of the Venture community, and is what gives us unique experiences with speakers.”