A look-back at the best #VFAparty of 2016
As 2016 comes to a close, we’re reflecting on some of our best moments from the past year. There are so many — and we don’t like to play favorites — but our 5th annual Summer Celebration was definitely a night to remember!
For those who haven’t joined us in the past, Summer Celebration is our annual gathering of friends and supporters, including leaders in business, tech, media, and more, brought together to celebrate our graduating class of Fellows and our continued commitment to revitalizing cities across the country. The money we raise at Summer Celebration supports our nation’s best and brightest aspiring entrepreneurs as they create jobs in the cities and communities that need them most.
This year on June 2nd, over 500 Venture for America supporters, Fellows, and team members descended on the iconic IAC building in Manhattan. Special guests included Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, Co-Founder & CEO of Glamsquad; Neil Capel, Founder & Chairman of Sailthru; Chieh Huang, CEO of Boxed; Betty Liu, news anchor at Bloomberg; Andy Weissman, Partner at Union Square Ventures; Andrew Essex, CEO of Tribeca Enterprises, and many more!
We began the evening with a VIP reception for our event sponsors and kicked off the night with a Johnnie Walker Blue toast to VFA and the evening ahead.
At 7pm the crowd began to file in and enjoyed a full bar, courtesy of Diageo, along with delicious catering by Sonnier & Castle. Many stopped by the gif-generating photo booth on their way to the silent auction table, displaying auction items including a 7 week stay in a villa in Costa Rica, a private Johnnie Walker tasting with a Master of Whiskey, lunch with NBA legend Shane Battier, tickets to a movie premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, and much more!
For the second year in a row, attendees had the chance to stroll through the Fellow Founder Lounge to meet some of our Fellows building companies around the country.
The speaking program started off with an exclusive sneak peak of the independent documentary, Generation Startup, which followed 6 of our Fellows building companies in Detroit (check out the trailer here).
VFA CEO & Founder, Andrew Yang, introduced the keynote speakers, Katia Beauchamp, CEO & Co-Founder of Birchbox, and Tom Kartsotis, Founder of Shinola and Fossil, and the moderator, journalist Lee Woodruff. What followed was a lively (and funny) conversation about their journeys building successful companies and what is means to create jobs in America.
Next Max Nussenbaum, 2012 Fellow and CEO and Co-Founder of Castle, talked about his introduction to VFA as a college senior, what it was like to be in the first class of VFA Fellows, and how the support and mentorship of the VFA community has helped him build his company.
The program closed with VFA Board Chair, Sy Jacobs, who announced a donation match challenge from the VFA Board of Directors. The event ended on a high note with a twist from Tom Kartsotis, who pledged a Shinola watch to anyone who donated $500 or more to VFA!
We are so grateful to our partners, new and old, who contributed over $500,000 to support our work. We would’t be where we are today without them!
Keep scrolling for more photos from the event and information on our amazing event sponsors.
Oh… and SAVE THE DATE for Summer Celebration 2017 on June 1st at The Bowery Hotel!