@15 Community Impact Challenge : Young Social Entrepreneurs
Fifteen Youth-Led Teams Chosen to Compete for Grants to Expand Their Innovative Community Ventures
Ashoka’s Youth Venture, a global network of young social entrepreneurs, and Best Buy Co., Inc. announced that voting has started for the finalists of the second @15 Community Impact Challenge. Five teams of young social entrepreneurs will each receive $5,000 and five teams will be selected to receive $1,500 each from the @15 Fund to expand their local ventures.
“Young people are stepping up. Teens are demonstrating that they can create, launch and lead their own organizations to impact sustainable change,” said Gretchen Zucker, Executive Director of Youth Venture. “This experience will give them the skills and the confidence to create change and take leadership roles throughout their lifetime.”
“Best Buy is proud to support teen strengths through our partnership with Youth Venture,” said Brian J. Dunn, CEO, Best Buy Co., Inc. “The @15 Community Impact Challenge celebrates teens and empowers them with the tools they need to drive change and make a positive difference in their communities.”
“I am very excited to be a part of this years’ competition as a judge,” said Rachel Beenken, a previous @15 Community Impact Challenge winner. “Winning the @15 Community Impact Challenge helped my Venture, Kinard Hats for the Homeless, grow significantly by raising our profile and providing funds to purchase quilting and sewing machines. Last year over 850 student volunteers doubled our impact by cutting, sewing, packaging and distributing 4,000 hats, scarves, and blankets throughout the Denver community. I am excited to be supporting more teens in making a difference.”
Youth Venture, Best Buy and last year’s challenge winners selected the 15 finalists from plans submitted by young social entrepreneurs across the country. Submissions were accepted from December 15 to January 15 and finalists were notified on February 16, 2010.
Best Buy and Youth Venture have introduced a new element to the @15 Community Impact Challenge this year - each of the fifteen finalists will be provided with camcorders to film and post videos profiles online. From March 15 to April 2, voting will take place on www.at15.com to select the winners.
Five of the Fifteen @15 Community Impact Challenge Finalists are:
121Reach / Fan, 17 – Johns Creek, GA. Venture objective: Expand the successful after school tutoring program at Chattahoochee High School and Taylor Road Middle School that has served over 200 youth to other local schools through starter kits and training.
Hives for Lives / Carly, 15 – Devon, PA. Venture objective: Foster business relationships with distributors and invest in new bee hives in order to increase build on the over $160,000 the team has donated to basic cancer research.
Woofin & Hoofin / Adin, 18 – Wheaton, IL. Venture objective: Further develop 5K fundraiser which raised over $5000 for a local animal shelter last year and educate future leaders through seminars and guides.
Lincoln Climate Action Club / Alexander, 17 – Woolwich, ME. Venture objective: Monitor power consumption and install solar panels throughout the Newcastle community in effort to further raise awareness of global warming and involve community stakeholders in solving local environmental issues.
Everybody Dance Now! / Jacqueline, 18 – Santa Barbara, CA. Venture objective: Expand the number of students in hip-hop dance program which has already impacted 800 youth by providing creative outlets and encouraging positive alternatives to violence and substance abuse.
Short profiles of all fifteen finalist teams are available on www.at15.com.
About Youth Venture
Youth Venture is a global movement of young changemakers. Youth Venture inspires and invests in teams of young people as they start their own sustainable social ventures, connecting them into a powerful global network. Collectively, these young changemakers are redefining the youth years as a time of initiative and positive change. For more information, please visit www.youthventure.org.
Ashoka is the world's largest network of social entrepreneurs—individuals with innovative and practical ideas for addressing social needs. Working with these social entrepreneurs, Ashoka builds communities of innovators who work collectively to transform society and design new ways for the social sector to become more productive, entrepreneurial and globally integrated. For more information, please visit www.ashoka.org.
Best Buy believes in the power of teens, and @15 is a platform to connect with them, give voice to their perspectives, and invest our resources—including the energy and talents of our employees—to turn their ideas into action and support their efforts to lead social change. Teens bring passion and enthusiasm to tackling tough issues. They are also important to our business—they shop in our stores, and they're our future employees. There’s a real opportunity to listen to and learn from what teens have to say. And through the @15 Fund, we'll put the philanthropic power of @15 directly into their hands. To learn more, visit www.at15.com.