Cornerstone University News

CU Alum Organizes Conference to Benefit Nonprofits

“It’s payback time.”

Kedron Rhodes, a Cornerstone University alum, will payback the Grand Rapids community Thursday Aug. 15 by holding a micro conference designed to equip nonprofits with an engaging digital media strategy.

“I’ve been a web professional for a long time, and I know some really smart, talented and insightful people that have a strong affinity for nonprofits,” Kedron said. “It’s payback time!”

The Payback Conference, sponsored by local businesses, is free to nonprofit marketers. The event is scheduled from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the KCAD Federal Building, 17 Pearl Street NW, in Grand Rapids. Tickets can be reserved at

Rhodes has been to events where designers and developers offer their skills to nonprofits, but he felt the need for a conference where professionals can share their knowledge that enable nonprofits to create and develop on their own. 

“Equipping nonprofits with effective tools and strategies has the potential to increase the impact they’re able to make in our community and around the world,” he said.

Payback speakers include accomplished industry professionals Joel Boonstra, Keith Finnegan and Amelia Rhodes who will give insights into leading web strategies. They plan to discuss the importance of planning and building responsive websites, content strategy and the power of storytelling when connecting with clients and donors.

“The inaugural conference is modeled after the Lean Startup strategy: build, measure and learn. Based on our experiences and observations, we’ve put together a micro conference in order to gain insights from attendees, learn what works and what doesn’t, with the aim of putting together an extended conference next summer,” Rhodes explains on the Payback website.

 A 2002 graduate of CU, Kedron earned a bachelor of business administration degree as well as serving as the CU web designer and art director from 2000-2003. His award winning work includes web design for Mike Huckabee, universities, government agencies and large companies such as Zondervan.

He currently works at Atomic Object, a software services company with locations in Grand Rapids and Detroit.

“I believe the answer to so many wicked problems begins with generosity,” Rhodes said. “Payback is a tangible way for for-profit businesses to exercise generosity. Pairing the efforts of nonprofits with the resources of for-profits can be fertile ground for solving some of those wicked problems.”