Loyola University Chicago

Quinlan School of Business

Bone Marrow Nonprofit

Entrepreneurial goal: Frenchee Liddell is an ardent volunteer who encourages minorities to add their names to the National Bone Marrow Registry, which serves as a databank to match potential donors with patients who need marrow transplants. She would like to start a nonprofit organization to more formally go about signing up minorities, who are underrepresented on the registry. She has considered partnering with Sam Roberson, a leukemia patient who already has a nonprofit called the Make Me A Match Project, which has similar goals.

Key challenges: Explaining that signing up for the registry is easy, requiring just a mouth swab, and doesn’t commit individuals to donating—even if they are found to be a match. Educating the community that there is a huge need for African American donors in particular, as there is currently only a 17 percent chance that a black patient will find a match.

Quinlan team’s business plan:

  • Team up Liddell, as vice president and COO, and Roberson, as president and CEO, so they can combine forces to strengthen Make Me A Match.
  • Establish partnerships with colleges, churches, and local businesses to raise money and build the registry by 1,000 people a year. Use those partnerships plus social networking and “Swab Mob” T-shirts to further promote the cause.
  • Make Roberson, who is an actor and filmmaker, the “face” of the organization and use his skills to create engaging videos and inspiring events that communicate a powerful message about the need for registrants.
  • Increase registration drives and fundraising events.

The clients’ “mission is passionate, and it really opened my eyes to this issue,” says team leader Sylvester Nettles (MBA). “Both Frenchee and Sam bring skill sets that can set the organization apart.”

Client’s response: “Working with the team really forced us to go step by step through the process and think it through,” says Liddell. “It was also helpful to get feedback from a younger perspective, especially about how we can work with college students.”

What’s next: They plan to keep spreading the word and educating the public by holding more registration drives.

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