Redwood City, CA (Vocus/PRWEB) January 25, 2011
BUILD celebrated its 10-year anniversary with a sold-out gala that raised over $700,000 with support from leaders in the venture capital, technology and entertainment world. BUILD is a national nonprofit that works in partnership with high schools and businesses, using entrepreneurship in a hands-on, experiential learning program to propel disengaged, low-income youth through high school to college success.
Franklin “Pitch” Johnson, Founder of Asset Management, was on hand to present the inaugural “Pitch” Prize to Jack Dorsey, Founder of Twitter and CEO of Square, for embodying the vision, passion and spirit of entrepreneurship that BUILD inspires in its young students. As one of BUILD’s earliest donors, he reflected: “I am so glad that my ‘start-up investment’ in BUILD has turned into such a successful and effective nonprofit that helps disadvantaged youth.”
In accepting the award, Jack Dorsey talked about how his father’s pizza restaurant in St. Louis inspired him to pursue his own business, and gave advice to old and young entrepreneurs in the audience:“Don’t just expect the unexpected—BE the unexpected.”
The evening gala included attendance by MC Hammer, a music performance by the South African a capella group, “Overtone,” that sang on the movie soundtrack for “Invictus,” and a video-message from Ashton Kutcher: “When I found out that 100 percent of students at BUILD are accepted to college it blew my mind. I knew that this was an organization that I really wanted to support and I really hope that all of you there will find the same passion to support BUILD!”
“The outpouring of support tonight was incredibly humbling and inspires us at BUILD to reach even more students who have been told all their lives that they don’t have what it takes to go to college,” said BUILD founder and CEO, Suzanne McKechnie Klahr. “We believe every student has a ‘Big Idea’ and just needs a caring adult who is willing to believe in them and their ability to overcome enormous obstacles to succeed academically.”
Several high school students from BUILD delivered moving testimonies of the impact that the BUILD program has had on their lives and their decision to go to college, including Belinda Turner, a senior at Oakland High School who received the first Entrepreneurship Spirit Award, and Diana Torres, who shared, “When I joined BUILD, they told me I could go to college—and that I WOULD. They believed in me even before I did.”
This 10th Anniversary Gala was made possible by the Presenting Sponsors, Oracle Corporation and Khosla Ventures, with the leadership and generous support from Event Host Committee Co-Chairs, Don and Sarah Lucas, and Gideon and Susie Yu. Attendees included luminaries in the venture capital, high tech and banking industries including: Vivi Nevo, Matt Cohler, Peter Fenton, Bill Gurley, and Eldridge Gray.
Founded in 1999, BUILD’s mission is to use entrepreneurship to excite and propel disengaged, low-income students through high school to college success. BUILD believes that the power of student ideas in action drives youth to reach their fullest potential in school and beyond. The four-year high school program offers a unique blend of entrepreneurship, academics, and personal support that attracts and motivates many students who are otherwise at high risk of failing classes and dropping out of high school.
BUILD currently serves 700 high school students at programs located in East Palo Alto and Oakland, CA; Washington DC; with a new site to be launched in Boston, MA. For more information see: http://www.build.org.
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