Earlier in April, Pando Projects won the $25,000 prize at the WeMedia Pitch It! Challenge in NYC. Below is me, accepting a massive check that later served as an umbrella, as we walked home in the rain.
Trying not to fall over from excitement
About 170 people submitted ideas for businesses. 8 finalists were selected to give our 8 minute pitches before 150 people and a panel of judges. It was one of the coolest experiences of my life. As a former high school drama geek, I relish in the opportunity to stand up before an audience and tell my story.
I was able to connect with some amazing people, including:
- Craig Newark, the founder of CraigsList. We talked about squirrels (he loves them; I hate them.) We also talked about CraigConnects. He claims that I sound like Sarah Jessica Parker when I speak into a microphone.
- Charlie O’Donnell, a Principal at First Round Capital. He advised me to take a few months and do in-depth market research to understand the web product we’re creating. He’s also ridiculously nice and made me less scared of venture capitalists.
- Esther Dyson, an Angel Investor who invested in Flickr and MeetUp. She hooked me up to speak at New York Tech MeetUp last week. I crave more time with her, but she seems very busy.
- Steve Rosenbaum, author of “Curation Nation.” He strongly recommended that I set Pando up as a for-profit business, and offered to introduce me to investors if I do. He has a really great mind (and an office that looks like a leggo set.)
Here is a video of me, after the win! http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=10150561183455217
Tara MacIsaac, a reporter from the “Epoch Times” recently interviewed me and 3 Project Leaders: Joyce, Jazzmine, and Jermel. Check out the article! Here’s a preview:
“There is a grove of quaking Aspen trees in Utah called Pando. A marvelous natural phenomenon, what appears to be an expanse of separate trees is actually a single organism connected by a massive network of roots. Pando Projects is a nonprofit organization taking root in New York City. Pando is composed of smaller, individual projects growing all over the city. The goal is to empower people who see problems in their communities to start up their own initiatives, and work to solve them.”
Joyce, one of the Project Leaders, helping kids in Chinatown to make celtic bracelets as they learn about NYC's Irish heritage
The article has a few great interviews. Check them out!
You can also get involved with the projects of Joyce, Jermel and Jazzmine by visiting our pilot site.
The current website www.pandoprojects.org is old and tells an outdated story. It’s time for a re-vamp! Check out a preview of our new website, launching in the third week of April! I feel like a proud, expectant mother. Perhaps it’s uncouth to show pictures at such an early stage, but I can’t help it. 🙂
This website will do a better job of highlighting our pilot projects and linking you to their websites and stories. It will also make it easier to donate $$ and sign up to volunteer. We will seduce the masses with our feel-good, inspiring vision. Yes.
http://taesayama.com/pando/Pando_Home_v1.html <– This link will allow you to see different elements of the design.
A preview of the new Pando website - launching in April 2011
Thank you so much to Traci Paris, Tae Sayama, and Shaun Scovil for helping to design and build this pro-bono. Love!!
Last Monday, the Points of Light Institute honored President and Mrs. George H. W. Bush (41) for their leadership in founding and advancing the modern-day service movement. This was a massive fundraiser, raising $30 million for service initiatives across the United States. The event was attended by four presidents (Carter, Bush, Bush and Clinton) and will be broadcast on NBC on Monday (3/28) at 8pm. You can check out a video of the event here.
I was there! Michelle Nunn, the CEO of Points of Light, mentioned my story at the President’s Circle dinner that led up to the event. Awesome! The most bizarre moment was probably talking to Dan Quayle about fly-fishing in Botswana. One of those “how is this my life?” moments.
Here are some pictures!
Me at the President's Circle dinner
Descending the staircase to the dinner, feeling like Scarlett O'Hara
At my parent's house, getting ready to leave for the Tribute event in DC. Yes, it felt like prom.
Bill Clinton!! ❤
I met some amazing people that I hope can support Pando as we grow. I won’t list out names because they might read this blog and that would be embarrassing but… it was an amazing group!
What is Pando’s relationship to Points of Light? Well, David Ray (the Chief of Strategy and Public Policy) is on our Advisory Board and we are developing the relationship. Once Pando is fully funded and has scaled up, Points of Light can easily advertise Pando at more than 250 action centers across the U.S., marketing us to millions of volunteers and potential Project Leaders. We’re getting there…