Why Startup Weekend Pittsburgh is Supporting 412 Food Rescue: By The Numbers

As one of the proud community leaders of Startup Weekend Pittsburgh, I believe that our events bring out the best in our community. We’re the ones who teach others to stand at the edge and leap head-on into the unknown. We encourage people to listen to our city’s problems, create solutions, and iterate them if they don’t work out.

everyone-at-swedupgh
We’re the ones who create a community that’s “No Talk. All Action.” 

However, I think we sometimes get a little caught up in the glory of the startup world and forget about the pressing needs that are surround us at all times. Pittsburgh’s certainly a city on the rise, but it’s a city with a lot of work to do as well.

Duquesne_Incline_from_top

Perhaps most pressing of all is the problem of hunger. That’s why, with the support of The Brazen Kitchen and The Free Store, we’re hosting a benefit called Summer Harvest.

Summer Harvest fb 2

All proceeds go entirely to 412 Food Rescue, a non-profit initiative to reuse unsellable food and convert them into healthy, delicious meals for our community’s hungry. The event will take place at The Livermore in East Liberty on July 25th from 7pm to midnight.

Here are 7 figures that motivate our entrepreneurial efforts to curb this very serious problem (facts and figures mostly extracted from Feeding America):

14.4%

That’s the percent of people who live in Allegheny County who are “food insecure,” or are unable to feed themselves adequately. That seems small, but here’s another number.

176,360

The number of people who are food insecure in Allegheny County. You could almost fill Heinz Stadium three times over with that many people.

Heinz_Field02

Among them…

43,090

How many children are food insecure in Allegheny County. That’s greater than the capacity of PNC Park.

Pnc_park_pittsburgh2

$2.86

How much an average healthy meal costs in our region.

$89,223,000

How much it would cost to eradicate hunger in Allegheny County every year.

$20

The price of a ticket to the Summer Harvest. Using 412 Food Rescue’s efficient, ecological approach, each person who attends this will be able to feed a family of suffering from hunger for an entire week.

kids

1

The number of people it takes to make a difference.

As an entrepreneur and a community organizer, I am convinced of the power of a single individual to make a huge difference in their community. This is not idealism – such impacts happen all the time. After all…

http://www.mid-day.com/articles/john-lennons-song-imagine-now-in-a-comic-strip/15342163
Source. Credit to Pablo Stanley.

To get your tickets to Summer Harvest, follow this link: summerharvestpgh.eventbrite.com. Get them before 7/20 and save 20%!

If you’d also like to sponsor or donate, please contact me at lee.ngo@gmail.com. Thank you for reading!

Lee Ngo is a community leader based in Pittsburgh, PA.








You Come to DC to Change the World

On July 4, 1776 in Philadelphia, PA, Thomas Jefferson and some of his buddies, including Ben Franklin, Roger Sherman, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and others, signed a parchment to found a new country, declaring their spin-off as a new entity wholly separate from its parent, Britain. These men came from different walks of life – ranging from lawyers and doctors to businessmen and inventors – and they hustled, strategized, and innovated passionately on a startup that became the United States of America. It’s not common to think of these men as entrepreneurs, but they are quintessential examples.

Washington DC has been and continues to be home to people who have both the desire and capability to change the world.  When big problems need to be solved with the big levers of governments and institutions, you find the nexus of power and people here, in the District of Columbia.  Not only the seat of the US government, Washington is the home to the World Bank and other international development banks, the IMF, and some of the most significant and influential non-profit and double bottom-line organizations in the world, as well as countless advocacy and non-government organizations seeking to make change.

That change can sometimes be slow, messy and difficult.  The institutions of Washington are complete with large bureaucracies that are sometimes allergic to innovation and bogged down in red tape, so those from Washington sometimes get painted with the same brush.  But under the hood, there’s much more to Washington than the apparent bureaucracy. Washington DC has a vibrant startup and entrepreneurship ecosystem that is growing by leaps and bounds, driven by highly-educated and motivated technologists.

Imagine what could happen if we merge these mostly separate and independent ecosystems? What if we could bring together a motivated group of people with skills and experience in policy, business, design, development, and entrepreneurship, with a common passion to make a meaningful and lasting impact on the world? The possibilities are endless.

We’ve been observing the lay of the land and see the time is ripe to plant and incubate seeds of ideas and mentorship to harvest new fruit and engage a community hungry for change. We saw a potent concoction waiting to happen, that may make a lasting impact on the world and create something special that no regular Startup Weekend could inspire.

We are doing this because we realize how hard it can be to simply start and get connected to other changemakers. But more importantly- We, the Startup Weekend DC organizers, come from such said separate and independent ecosystems sparking change. Together we are seizing the opportunity to break barriers to help others get started and connected.

Through the Social Impact Edition, changemakers in Washington DC will finally have an opportunity to come together to learn new ways to solve problems, rapidly test, validate, and execute concepts, and launch companies with a social impact component. They’ll also be able to tap into a vast amount of resources, such as mentors who are Presidential Innovation Fellows and impact investors such as Village Capital. This Startup Weekend can be the catalyst for true innovation to make the world a better place and build excitement to do so.

It’s time for the rise of the impact entrepreneur, and there’s no better place than Washington DC and no better time than now.