Gregg Potter looks for solutions by bringing together people and groups facing similar obstacles.
Gregg Potter is a man on a mission. The 35-year-old Lyndon Station native wants nothing less than to change the world.
He’s formed a new Madison-based company, Project Kinect. Locally, its first most visible achievement will be to present a four-part concert series at Burr Jones Park, starting June 21.
The planned events will be in partnership with “Let’s Eat Out!,” an area food vending cart organization. Each concert will feature three bands, yet to be announced, food carts, beverages and a children’s area. Proceeds will benefit local nonprofits.
Project Kinect is a private consulting firm for nonprofits. But Potter has loftier goals for the company, developed while he was helping schools in Belize and the homeless in South Africa.
Potter received his undergraduate degree in theater performance in 2005 from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, then moved to L.A. to enter the entertainment industry. He ended up managing a Starbucks, even rising to district manager. Although he appreciated the company’s various community projects, in 2011 he decided to sublet his apartment, sell his car and roam the country doing charitable work with disaster victims and the homeless.
This was the beginning of what would become Project Kinect.
“I wanted to take some time and identify what was going on in different communities,” says Potter. “The feeling of hope or sadness or however each community was feeling — and, if I could, connect communities facing similar obstacles.”
Eventually he wound up at the Clinton School of Public Service at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock, receiving his graduate degree in 2014.
“Through all my work, I’ve found that so many people want to do things, and they want to contribute,” he says. “They either don’t know the first steps or they get stuck somewhere or they need a cheerleader. So, by creating a social change firm, we can be accessible to anyone at any level of their involvement or project or development.”
So far, Project Kinect is an informal network of resources. By this fall, Potter hopes to have opened a staffed office in Madison. He foresees a one-stop center for those looking to effect social change, “whether they need a full-blown project coordinator or they need a grant written, or they need an hour just to sit down and consult with someone.”
He credits one of his grandmothers with his vision. “Even still, at almost age 80, she is very selfless,” he says. “She always would talk to me about how it’s not always about those you’re helping. When you’re doing something for someone, you’re learning more about yourself.... I just feel that I need to be doing the most that I can in the short time I’m on this planet.”