Technology Underwriting Greater Good—known best in Boston as TUGG—has dedicated itself to spreading social innovation and fostering entrepreneurship. One of the most anticipated ways they have achieved their mission is through their annual New England Tech Charity Wine Party, set to kick off for its seventh year on Thursday, January 31st, at the Cyclorama.
Six nonprofits will be showcased at the event, including three “high potential new social entrepreneurial ventures,” as described by TUGG Executive Director David Brown. In an effort for partygoers to learn more about the nonprofits before stepping into the door, we asked each of the teams a few questions about who they are, what they stand for and why they decided to get involved with TUGG. The newest nonprofits are featured below, and we will bring the next three to you later on in the week.
If you haven’t signed up for the party yet, make sure you register now. Close to 1,000 people are expected to attend—do you really want to be the one who missed out?
Here’s a look at the Wine Party’s three newest social ventures you can help directly fund.
Let’s hear Future Chefs’ elevator pitch.
Future Chefs is a modern apprenticeship-style program that provides participants with authentic work opportunities to learn the skills needed to succeed in life and employment after high school. “Success” means different paths for each student but core characteristics are: knowing how to navigate job challenges responsibly; completion of a formal apprenticeship or a two- or four-year college degree; being able to communicate confidently with adults/employers; and learning how to build and access meaningful social and professional capital.
What made you want to start Future Chefs?
In 2007, I worked with a pipeline of high school culinary students in a scholarship program that was closing its doors. I had built relationships with students who would be left high and dry, so I decided to build a youth development program focusing on youth who are often overlooked for college. I recruited a participant from Madison Park in Boston to help me pitch the new program idea in the community, and it worked! Now, six years later, that very student has graduated from a four-year university and is leading Future Chefs recruitment efforts as a valued member of our growing staff.
Why get involved with TUGG?
Our involvement with the Root Cause Social Innovation Forum in 2011 opened our eyes to the many people in Boston who are innovators in their field. I’ve always believed that collaboration is a critical element of success and that you are only as good as the people around you, so it’s a no brainer to want to be part of TUGG’s tech-giving ecosystem.
If you could describe the Future Chefs team as a kind of wine, what would it be and why?
Any wine with bubbles could describe the Future Chefs staff because they are a positive and effervescent team that makes me want to celebrate every day!
Let’s hear Revolution of Hope’s elevator pitch.
Revolution of Hope takes kids off the streets of Roxbury and transforms their lives, giving them confidence, resilience and endurance through the vehicle of a world-class, joy-filled, conservatory level youth orchestra.
What made you want to start Revolution of Hope?
A YouTube video—one of thousands of kids from the shanty towns of Venezuela playing [music]. Hearing how a high intensity, joy-filled music education is now a viable pathway out of poverty for them inspired me to leave the comforts of Bermuda, where I was teaching, and start on the journey to developing Revolution of Hope.
I am so passionate, because I have lived through the horrors of being denied great training due to race and economics. I am the son of Third World immigrants and took to the violin as a shy seven year old. I soon learned, however, that my teachers didn’t expect me do anything with the violin because I was black. I was passed off to lesser teachers, but held true to my dream of becoming a violinist. I made subconscious connections between practice and study and was able to graduate in the top three percent of my graduating high school class. In 2009, when I became the lead violinist in the YouTube Symphony at Carnegie Hall, that moment was the realization of my parent’s American dream, and put fire under my dream to address educational disparities through music.
Why get involved with TUGG?
Mission alignment! The musician of the 21st century is also an entrepreneur and access to a high quality music education is transformative, evidenced by the growing number of studies showing significant educational outcomes from access to the arts. We feel very much at home among the innovation community. We are dreamers at Revolution of Hope, and we take the orchestra out of the box when it comes to our use of technology in our concerts and our unique way of keeping our stakeholders engaged.
If you could describe the Revolution of Hope team as a kind of wine, what would it be and why?
Our team would be best described as a Cabernet. We are bold and strong, but we definitely have a warm side. We are sophisticated, yet down to earth. Powerful, yet very approachable.
Let’s hear Science from Scientists’ elevator pitch.
Science from Scientists is the only Massachusetts nonprofit to offer year-long, during school STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) enrichment. We send real, charismatic scientists into classrooms during school hours to teach MCAS and frameworks relevant, hands-on lessons. Our goal is to improve the attitudes and aptitudes of students in STEM subjects so that children want to pursue STEM careers and have strong foundational knowledge to succeed in STEM subjects moving forward.
What made you want to start Science from Scientists?
Growing up, I was a huge science “geek.” When I was 11, I started working on an independent science fair project looking at the anti-viral properties of various plants. I had the opportunity to work with real scientists in real science labs—I loved it. Last year, I obtained a Ph.D. in biochemistry. In looking back on those past experiences that made me want to become a scientist, I was able to directly correlate my love for science to the experiences I had starting in sixth grade, working on my science project. Science is so exciting and wonderful to me, and I wanted to be able to share that love with children.
On the more “factual” side, recent statistics show that children are not pursuing STEM careers despite an increasing need for a job force in these fields. Additionally, the U.S. is faltering in its performance in STEM relative to other countries. These statistics are saddening and also worrisome. It is absolutely essential that we maintain student interest and performance levels, so that students pursue STEM and are globally competitive.
Why get involved with TUGG?
We are directly involved with STEM education, so working with an organization based on “Technology Underwriting the Greater Good” is a natural fit for Science from Scientists. TUGG supporters will naturally understand our mission, because they are right in the middle of the STEM crisis here in Massachusetts, and are aware of the dire need for more students to learn and become excited about STEM subjects and careers.
If you could describe the Science from Scientists team as a kind of wine, what would it be and why?
C2H5OH + H2O + C6H12O6 + PO43- + lots of effervescent enthusiasm (CO2) = most likely an amazing champagne, but we would have to perform a rigorous experiment to confirm the hypothesis.