In their 11th annual party, nonprofit organization TUGG invited more than a thousand Boston tech folks to party in the Innovation and Design building. They then filled that room with tequila and wine and invested $140,000+ dollars in amazing social impact startups.
‘TUGG Makes Boston’ is a massive event, held at the Innovation and Design Building at Seaport District, where six local nonprofits battle for over $140,000 in funding. Glasses in hand, the crowd must vote to pick two winners to fund: one new startup, and one returning startup from TUGG’s nonprofit portfolio.
Elizabeth Dobrska, TUGG’s managing director, described the impact that the event has in just one night. “No other event in Boston tech can bring together such a diverse group of industries, networks, and people, and we believe it’s largely due to this incredible synergy that’s made possible by all of our outstanding partners and supporters on both sides of the non-profit and for-profit table,” she said.
So far, TUGG has funded over 39 nonprofits and granted over $1M to local nonprofits. This year, the party featured current TUGG portfolio nonprofits (Resilient Coders, First Teacher, and WeThrive) along with three new additions (Media Girls, Mbadika, and Tech Goes Home.)
Per audience votes, Media Girls was crowned the new nonprofit winner while Resilient Coders was the returning nonprofit winner.
Michelle Cove, the founder and executive director of Media Girls, explained that the $50k grant would help girls in Boston’s low-income schools tackle self-esteem issues, and learn how to speak up.
“Those girls go on to influence their friends and peers so the positive reach becomes vast. We already knew from experience that this topic resonates for women of all ages, but were surprised and thrilled to see how many men in the tech community understood and appreciated the work we are doing,” said Cove. “It was incredibly heartening.”
Resilient Coders founder and executive director, David Delmar, comments that the community of TUGG provides more value than a check can.
“What’s amazing to us about TUGG is the community. It meant the world to me that there were folks from InsightSquared presenting our check. They hosted our most recent Boot Camp. They know our students. They’ve been watching them sweat for a couple months. And here we were, onstage, celebrating that moment, together….That moment, to me, is TUGG,” he said.
Big thank you to the TUGG team for inviting the BostInno team and starting an important conversation over impact investment. We hope to continue it with our coverage, especially keeping our eyes on the next moves of Media Girls and Resilient Coders.
Below are some photos from TUGG Makes Boston, to give you a taste of what Boston looks like when you mix tequila and tech.
Photo Credit: Transformative Culture Project (Formerly PressPass TV).