One Degree closer to Echoing Green

We’re standing at the edge of something amazing with all of the action happening for One Degree. Through the challenges and successes, I’ve grown to love One Degree even more and see how much our communities really need this. Personally, I have learned a ton about the kind of tenacity, grit, and self-awareness needed to launch a startup. And as I approach graduation (in 55 days), I’ve committed to working on One Degree full-time, and I’m sure I’ll need YOUR help more than ever to launch our organization.

In the last newsletter we talked about the new strategic direction we’re taking, which lead us to the following key priorities: (1) Solidifying School Partnerships, (2) Fundraising, & (3) Developing a Web Platform.

I remember back in my BUILD days that securing a school partnership was a time-consuming labor of love. We’re excited to tell you Cecilia Aguilar, Jasmine Abele, and Alison Traina have stepped up to lead our School Partnerships Team (SPT) in SF. They each bring great energy and experience in education. Special thanks are also owed to Shanif Sims, Swaicha Chanduri, Leslie Garner, Omar Butler, Cassandra Coe, Stefanie Eldred, Ruth Barajas and Sandie Stringfellow for supporting our goal.

The SPT set an audacious goal of securing 10 SFUSD school partners by the end of the semester (gotta aim high, right?). We’re close to securing two as of today, and if you’ve got connections with educators in SFUSD, recommendations for schools to approach, or if you want to join the SPT, please contact us!

In partnership with some amazing entrepreneurs at the Harvard Kennedy School, we’re throwing an event called Launch HKS, which will showcase the cool ventures that students are working on. Through this event, One Degree committed to raise $10,000 for our startup by May through major donations. Another daunting goal, but doable if you can help by approaching your or your friends’ companies for sponsorships. A couple of letters and phone calls can go a long way. Let me know if you want to help in this effort.

Most of our fundraising efforts recently have been applying for competitions, and below is an update of what’s in the pipeline:

  • Harvard i3 Innovation Challenge – Awards Reception is tonight. We’re up against 2 teams for the Public Innovation Award for $10K! Join us! Thanks to Grace Chung for her superb videography skills.
  • HBS Business Plan Social Venture Track – Thanks to my partner Ashley Halpin(HBS MBA 2012), we made it to the semifinals! Only 16 out of 49 made it to this round! Next up is submitting a full 30-page business plan by April 5 and presenting to a panel on April 12.
  • MIT IDEAS Global Challenge – Thanks to my partner Deborah Hsieh (MIT Sloan MBA/HKS MPP 2013)! Semifinalists announced on by March 30.
  • Echoing Green Fellowship – Finalists announced in mid-April. Cross your fingers!
  • Harvard President’s Challenge – Finalists announced on April 2.
  • UPenn Ed Business Plan Competition – Finalists announced on May 4

I’m also excited to announce that Tom Peng, director of IT at College Summit, joined our team as the technology guru! This saves me from sounding like an idiot when I talk to tech people as we develop our prototype. Tom brings a wealth of expertise in developing tech solutions that empower people and nonprofits.

Last month we asked you to connect us to tech experts, and this month we ask:

Can you help One Degree find a home in SF?

As we approach the summer, we’re looking for free office space in San Francisco. Do you know a company/nonprofit with an extra desk or two that they can lend us for the year or at least the summer? If the thought of figuring out these logistics excites you, sign up to lead this effort!

Lastly, I realize that we’ve been doing a lot of meeting and action lately, but not a lot of celebrating. Even the small wins, like reaching the semifinal round, should be celebrated. Stay tuned for a Boston 1° celebration!

For our youth,

Rey Faustino
Chief Organizer
One Degree


Originally posted on One Degree’s blog.

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