April 6, 2020
BUILD Boston Raises $650K at Gala, Beating Its Goal by 30%

October 22, 2016 — BUILD Boston, a Boston nonprofit that uses entrepreneurship and experiential learning to help prepare youth in under-resourced communities for high school, college and career success, announced that it raised a record-setting $650,000 earlier this week at a gala celebrating its fifth anniversary.

Proceeds supported a four-year youth entrepreneurship program that serves more than 300 students in six Boston high schools.

The event, held Oct. 19 at the Boston Convention Center, had aimed to raise $500,000 and attract 500 attendees, but surpassed both goals by 30% and 20%, respectively.

Ayele Shakur, executive director of BUILD Boston, said, “The keys to exceeding our fundraising and attendance goals were, one, having a full-time events manager that allowed the rest of our development team to focus on getting sponsorships and donations; two, having Jeff Bussgang, a friend of honoree Jeff Glass, come up with the idea of a scholarship fund in Glass’s honor, and then, with Amy Glass, Jeff’s wife, secretly reached out to Jeff’s friends to raise money for the fund; three, having a year-round strategy of corporate engagement and volunteer opportunities, that makes asking for sponsorships a natural part of our fundraising strategy; four, having a five-member development team."

Sponsorships and corporate table sales raised $378,000, while an auction and a Fund A Need event during the gala raised $144,000. The organization's Scholarship Fund raised $120,000, and another $8,000 came through ticket sales.

The gala generated raised 28% of funds raised annually by BUILD Boston.

Jeff Glass, the organization’s founding board chair, and Mic Williams, founder of Boston Harbor Angels, were honored at the gathering.

“It’s not an exaggeration to say that BUILD Boston exists because of Jeff Glass,” said Shakur.

A highlight of the gala, called BUILDFest, was a Student Business Expo where BUILD students showcased their businesses. Attendees had the opportunity to purchase products from 25 student businesses.

BUILD Boston, established in 2011, is affiliated with the national BUILD organization, which launched in California in 1999. BUILD Boston today works with more than 300 students in six Boston Public High Schools in Dorchester, Roxbury, Charlestown, and Hyde Park. It has 15 staff members, 100 mentors, and more than 50 alumni.

Instead of being a vocational education program, BUILD is an in-school elective for students in grades 9 through 12, which teaches the basics of entrepreneurship while improving academic skills. Students develop a business plan, secure seed capital through a pitch to a venture capitalist, and run their own businesses while focusing on going to college.

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