On Thursday, July 10th 2014, we at Full Circle Fund hosted our 3rd Annual Demo Day to showcase and introduce our 2014 Grant Partners: the 11 organizations our Members have carefully vetted and selected to collaborate with over the course of the year and who are making strides in the fields of Education, Economy Opportunity, Environment/Energy and Health. Our Strategic Partners The San Francisco Foundation (TSFF) and The Trium Group sponsored this trademark event.
A NIGHT TO REMEMBER
At 5:15p, the doors to Folsom Street Foundry opened to our 300+ guests who registered for our sold-out event. Not only was this our largest Demo Day to date, but it was our best attended! Grant Partners and guests, including Strategic Partner staff, Members, volunteers, community leaders, and friends checked in at registration, where they were greeted by our staff and volunteers and were handed two poker chips (equivalent to $40 in Demo Dollars). Our caterers, connected to us through former Grant Partner La Cocina, included Minnie Bell's Soul Movement, Bini's Kitchen & Alicia's Tamales Los Mayas, and served up delicious treats for our guests as they enjoyed drinks and good conversation before the program.
Our Executive Director, Tim Smith, then kicked off the exciting evening by welcoming the packed room to our annual celebration and by introducing our key sponsor speakers, Fred Blackwell, new CEO of TSFF and Catherine Gray, Partner at The Trium Group, up to the stage say a few words about their partnership and work. Marc Smolowitz, our returning emcee, then graced the stage to warm up the crowd and prepare our audience for a night of engagement, inspiration, and fun! Demo Day was not just about watching Grant Partner Demos, Marc noted; the night would be about giving back and plugging in, and he asked each and every guest to take a moment during the evening to question how he or she could give back meaningfully.
After setting the tone for the night, Marc introduced our Full Circle Fund Member leads and our Grant Partner representatives to the stage to introduce the audience to their organization's mission, issue area and scoped project, beginning with Caravan Studios. All eleven Grant Partners presented compelling pitches, personal stories, and goals for the year ahead (and beyond) -- and ways for the generous guests in the room to give back. Through the remainder of the night, our impressive team leads and Grant Partners captivated the audience with their stories and reports on issues that were taking place in our own backyard: sexual exploitation, education gaps, urban gardening, and more.
Shortly after Children's Council of San Francisco wrapped up their presentation, Tim Smith and Carol Kocivar gave an exciting update on Ed100.org, a Full Circle Fund initiative that recently received a $65,000 grant to scale and launched its new website. Additionally, our Member Thea Smith-Nilsson of Microsoft gave a surprise announcement to all Grant Partners. Microsoft was generously donating Surface Pro 3's to our Grant Partners to support their internal needs! Our Grant Partners were over the moon with the shocking gift (and one Grant Partner even mentioned how perfect the timing was -- her computer had died that day!). In the last announcement of the evening, Tim Smith and Josh Becker, Full Circle Fund Co-Founder and Board Chair, announced an innovative new initiative, The Founders' Pledge, that Full Circle Fund just piloted to engage local startups with philanthropy and Full Circle Fund's model.
DEMO FAIR + THAT'S A WRAP!
As the program wrapped up, Marc encouraged all guests to think about who they would like to give their $40 Demo Dollars (made possible by a grant) to after the program concluded, during the Demo Fair. Once Tim Smith closed the program, Grant Partners each staffed a table with collateral, videos, and other promotional material to further engage guests. Guests circulated the room, speaking with Grant Partners, donating Demo Dollars to organizations of their choosing, networking, and celebrating a fantastic 2014 Grant Portfolio.
We would like to give our heartfelt thanks to our event sponsors The San Francisco Foundation and The Trium Group, Folsom Street Foundry, Marc Smolowitz, Thomas Minczeski, Brett Garling, all Grant Partners, Microsoft, La Cocina, Member leads, our board, volunteers and supporters for making this event such a great success!Until next year... onward!