Tuesday Mar 18, 2014 by Josh Boyle - Contributor, VentureFizz
Last Thursday night 1,450 people from the Boston tech community ventured into Royale on Tremont Street to give back. To the tune of more than $300,000… And enjoy a little wine and tequila in the process.
TUGG’s Eighth Annual Tech Charity Tequila & Wine Party hosted seven non-profits who had designated tables to show off what they’re all about as well as pitchpersons working the room in hopes of earning the guests’ votes (the coat check line was a prime spot). Two organizations (one returning and one newcomer) were going to walk away with $50,000 each.
One group, Rightside Shirts, brought in a ringer, 6 year old Angelo, whose artwork was featured on the shirts they sell to raise money for school’s art programs. Others were decked out in soccer uniforms or dressed as scientists, but all had the same goal - get the votes needed to win $50,000!
Halfway through the night the winners were announced on stage to an excited crowd by TUGG co-founder Jeff Fagnan (Atlas Venture), Scott Savitz (Data Point Capital) and Lars Albright (SessionM). BUILD Boston, whose mission is to use entrepreneurship to excite and propel disengaged, low-income students through high school to college success, took home the $50k for the returning non-profits. On the first-timer side, Catie’s Closet picked up the top prize, which will help them continue providing students with fundamental necessities so they’re better prepared to focus on education. The five other organizations each received $10,000.
An event of this magnitude takes tremendous support to pull off and there’s no denying that it wouldn’t be possible without the volunteers who step up with their time and resources. We’re told 60 volunteers were involved in putting this baby together on top of TUGG Executive Director, David Brown (@DBskier), Taylor Singh from Avasara Events, and the Board.
In it’s 8th year, TUGG realized a significant increase in interest from the tech community. Some 500+ more guests attended this year compared to 2013. We asked David Brown what he attributed this growth to.
“The movement behind TUGG is really just taking off. Startups are starting to deeply engage with TUGG and our nonprofits and through that relationship they are spreading the word to other great startups and VCs. I think we are just getting to a major tipping point. Between the Tequila and Wine Party, Tech Gives Back, and our MicroFederated events, 2014 is going to be a really exciting time for our community and for the nonprofits we work with.”
When asked how they would top this in 2015 David replied: “In the words of event host Scott Savitz, ‘2,015 people for 2015!’”
While David has hopes on increasing the raise to $400k or even $500k next year, one thing is for certain, TUGG #9 will be incredible and the Boston tech community will come out in droves to support it. Proving once again, what an incredible community we’re all lucky to be a part of.
In the meantime be sure to support these seven groups by checking out their websites and following them on twitter. And they will continue doing great things for our youth!
Here's a few shots from the night. Be sure to check the rest out on TUGG's Facebook Page: