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Tales from the Crypto: Futurism and Philanthropy

S01 E04 Artwork | Make Mission Podcast
Make Mission
Tales from the Crypto: Futurism and Philanthropy

Can you prepare your nonprofit for a future that looks wildly different from the present? It’s a future with a blockchain’s worth of new words, definitions, and approaches to understanding futurist donors who have deep passion and pockets for new, disintermediated technologies.

When focusing your fundraising efforts toward the future, there are many things to consider, from cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens to Web3 and decentralized autonomous organizations. In this episode, Anna explores these concepts, the ways they can influence your fundraising behaviors, and how trust-based philanthropy remains key with University of Cincinnati Kautz-Uible Professor of Economics Dr. Michael Jones and Wake Forest University Assistant Director of Development and Web3 aficionado Joel Rivera.

Michael Jones headshotDr. Michael Jones
Kautz-Uible Professor of Economics
University of Cincinnati

Dr. Michael Jones is an economics professor and director of the newly created Kautz-Uible Cryptoeconomics Lab. Designed as a public-private partnership, the space allows for applied research and corporate engagements that focus on cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. He earned his Ph.D. in Economics at the University of Notre Dame and his MBA from the University of Cincinnati. Prior to receiving his Ph.D., he worked as a Senior Research Analyst for the Nielsen Company and as a Senior Business Development Manager at Cincinnati Bell.

Joel Rivera headshotJoel Rivera
Assistant Director of Development, Z. Smith Reynolds Library
Wake Forest University


Joel believes we all have a purpose in life. His purpose is to help others, especially kids in underprivileged communities, find their purpose. From volunteering at food drives as a kid, to leading a Dance Marathon at the University of Florida, to raising more than $3 million as a student, and now as a fundraiser for Wake Forest University, Joel is focused on the future of philanthropy.

Joel’s research interest focuses on bridging the world of “Web3” and philanthropy. He is re-imagining what a nonprofit looks like for the next generation with his project Season1 “Purpose” NFT Collection. Based on blockchain technology, artificial intelligence, and extended reality, Joel hopes to provide unique experiences for everyone involved.

After graduating from the University of Florida, Joel served as a frontline fundraiser for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Center for Latin American Studies at his alma mater. Today, his role at Wake Forest University is fundraising for the Z. Smith Reynolds Library.