On June 12th GroundFloor celebrated a year of hard work fostering social innovation and meaningful impact in our community. GroundFloor mentors, investors, friends and supporters gathered at the home of SoftLayer co-founder, Jennifer Johnson to raise a toast to our first class of Fellows who successfully leveraged our investments this year to raise an additional $1 Million dollars this year to grow their ventures. Those in attendance were treated to delicious snacks from our very own, Café Momentum and had the opportunity to hear first hand from our Fellows what they have been up to this past year.
Celina Pena of Accion Texas shared with us the progress of their Promise Loan – a loan that is qualified for with questions other than credit score. Their program has come from an idea in an Excel spreadsheet to a fully functional HTML tool that will roll out across the Accion loan office network and to other community lenders across the country as well.
The Perot Museum’s Amy Gow shared with us their learnings this year piloting the Spark 101 program – an STEM teaching tool that brings real-world problem solving to the classroom. This year they have trained over 200 teachers to be more effective STEM educators. This experience spotlighted a real gap in our community – STEM teacher professional development – and has “sparked” their interest in building out additional opportunities for area teachers.
If we gave one out, Dallas Teacher Residency would have won the “Most Accomplished” award this year. CEO and Co-Founder, Rob DeHaas shared with the group how in a matter of months Dallas Teacher Residency came from an idea to real life – with solid partnerships in place with the University of North Texas, Dallas and the Dallas Independent School District. Rob proudly announced that they had SEVEN new teacher residents begin the program in early June. Those teachers will be training in North Dallas High School classrooms throughout the 2014-2015 school year.
And of course, no GroundFloor event is complete without Chad Houser giving an update on Café Momentum. Guests were even given a top-secret hint about when the Café Momentum restaurant might be making a grand opening.
There was a lot to celebrate that evening as one class winds down and we prepare to bring on another group of brilliant social entrepreneurs this fall.