What do you get when you combine wine, tequila and techies? It definitely sounds like a recipe for a hangover — but in the name of driving social innovation and empowering Boston’s youth, it’s honestly all worth it.
Last year, 1,500 members of the tech community gathered at the legendary TUGG Tech Charity Wine party, raising more than $350,000 for local nonprofits. But the organization is determined to break last year’s record attendance for its 9th Annual bash April 16. The goal? About 2,000 people in the room, raising $400,000 for charity. And with more than 50 sponsoring companies, a ton of top tech influencers in attendance and a stellar location — the Landmark Center in Fenway — that expectation isn’t necessarily far-fetched. Did we mention they’re serving up premium wines that retail in the $100 range, and best-in-class tequilas?
Last year, 1,500 members of the tech community gathered at the legendary TUGG Tech Charity Wine party, raising more than $350,000 for local nonprofits. But the organization is determined to break last year’s record.
But what makes a party memorable are its attendees. The annual party’s Host Committee is always made up of renowned Boston entrepreneurs and VCs, and this year is no different, including the likes of Lars Albright of SessionM; Mike Baker of DataXu; Matt Bellows of Yesware; Wayne Chang of Twitter; Brent Grinna of EverTrue; Diane Hessan of Startup Institute; Dan Primack of Fortune; Patrick Morley of Bit9; Jason Robins of DraftKings; and Fred Shilmover of InsightSquared.
“This is our staff’s favorite party of the year,” said Mike Baker, CEO and cofounder of DataXu. “Everyone in the tech ecosystem comes together for a great cause, and it’s always an amazing time.”
The Landmark Center’s 35,000 square-foot space will be transformed for the evening to convey a modern, abstract interpretation of Frederick Olmsted’s iconic landscape design project “Emerald Necklace,” which introduced the idea of incorporating green space into the urban environment to 19th century city dwellers.
Nonprofits will be competing for top prizes in two categories: returning and new organizations. As per the TUGG tradition, participants in each realm will be circulating the room, informing attendees about their mission, and attempting to get their votes. Last year, Build in Boston and Catie’s Closet were the winners, both taking home $50,000. But the remaining four nonprofits didn’t leave empty-handed — they received $10,000 each. Returning nonprofits Catie’s Closet, Future Chefs, and Resilient Coders will all be competing again for the top prize. Meanwhile, the TUGG nonprofit selection committee is working on finalizing organizations in the new category, which will be announced the week ahead of the event.
It all started in 2006, with 20 people who raised $2,000. But over the past nine years, the event has helped to facilitate 29 nonprofits, including InnerCity Weightlifting and More Than Words.
“TUGG events are fun and intense; we get to tell our story and raise awareness for our cause, and when the winners are announced everyone is on the edge of their seats,” added Ayele Shakur, executive director of BUILD.
We’ll be there — with an open mind and a well-warned liver. The question is, will you?
Image of the TUGG 8th Annual Wine and Tequila Party via Atlas Venture.