Three student teams each won $10,000 in grant money to jumpstart their ideas for social change at last Thursday’s second-annual Upstream Pitch Party. A collaborative effort between United Way of Northeast Florida and local colleges, Upstream is a social innovation challenge in which young adults were paired with established young-professional leaders.
During the past three months, coaches and teams worked together to develop ideas and devise strategies to solve community
problems related to health, education, financial stability and Downtown improvement.
The winning teams were, in alphabetical order:
Also, the People’s Choice winner, “Elevating Refugee Peers” by Julia Driscoll, was presented with an honorary prize basket. Voting was completed on site during the event using a text-to-vote platform. Driscoll’s project is a plan to help refugee students
assimilate more easily to Northeast Florida. Designed to address the root causes of long-term community problems that affect our
community “downstream,” Upstream connects business and nonprofit leaders with the innovators of the future.
“Northeast Florida is incredibly lucky to have such a passionate population of young people interested in helping our community,” said David Miller, United Way’s Upstream lead investor and Brightway Insurance chairman. “United Way’s Upstream initiative
gives these fresh, forward-thinkers the platform and partners needed to get their ideas off the ground and jumpstart long-term change right here in our community.”
Miller joined the following local leaders who evaluated the presentations and selected the winners:
“I am once again inspired by the students and their ideas,” said Michelle Braun, president and CEO of United Way of Northeast Florida. “A huge thanks to our Upstream investors, partners, our panel of judges and, of course, these incredible students. I can’t wait to see how their energy and innovative ideas make Northeast Florida stronger and help tackle our toughest challenges.”