Building Momentum

What a great start to 2012 it’s been! We recently began to see momentum building after months of laying groundwork. Marshall Ganz, my professor for Organizing, always says, “Energy begets energy,” and the energy surrounding One Degree right now is electrifying!

We recently won third place at the Harvard Education Innovation Pitch Competition, which included a lovely $1,500 prize! We also advanced to the semifinal round for the incredibly competitive Echoing Green Fellowship (300+ semifinalists out of 3500+ applicants) AND theUPenn Education Business Plan Competition (only 20% advance).

Photo Credit: Michael Eddy

Sadly, we did not advance in the Yale Education Business Plan Competition nor the Harvard Social Enterprise Pitch Competition.

Thanks to Karla Monterroso, Rachel Ramos, Deborah Hsieh, and Yuki Kondo-Shah for helping with Echoing Green round 1. Advance thanks to Brett Alessi, Suzanne McKechnie Klahr, Chantal Laurie, and Karla Monterroso for their support on the next round of Echoing Green.

We need your help! If you can write/edit essays, record/edit a video, help write our business plan entry for the Harvard Business School Business Plan Competition, let’s talk! We’ve got a ton of work to do!

Last month I had an invigorating chat with College Summit Founder J.B. Schramm, and he advised me to “just do it” and get started with implementation. That’s exactly what we intend to do. We’ve evolved our launch strategy with your input to focus on a specific pilot region: San Francisco Bay Area. Our plan is to partner with 10 high-poverty public schools in SF by June to launch our Resource Desks, and we plan to mobilize the community to take ownership of them.

I also had another pivotal conversation with Lotus Software Founder Mitch Kapor and Level Playing Field Institute Founder Freada Kapor Klein, in which they highlighted the exciting potential of our proposed web technology (our “Yelp for Social Services”). The implications of building a highly scalable, sector-disrupting technology are huge, and we plan to launch a beta version of this web app by the fall.

We see the Resource Desk and Web App working together. The Resource Desk model will be our proof of concept of how to mobilize communities to support schools, while the web app will revolutionize access to nonprofit and social services.

Over the last few months we’ve been in dialogue around critical questions that are shaping our startup. It’s pretty phenomenal how your thoughts have helped us focus our messaging and direction. We are now in a phase where we need your abilities and contacts to create a tangible product. This month we ask:

Who do you know with technical (as in tech) expertise? We are looking for folks who can create a prototype of our web app. This part of our model is fundamental to the system disruption and community accessibility we want to create. So anyone you could throw our way with a network of tech folks in their life could really help some major shaping of the way we operate! Open up those virtual Rolodexes and let us know who we can charm into being a champion.

Email us with your recommendations!

Thanks for all of your continued support and energy!

For our youth,


Originally posted on One Degree’s blog.

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