The Possible Project, a three-year-old, Cambridge-based nonprofit that that teaches high school students to start and run their own businesses, announced that it recently raised $350,000 at its first major fundraiser to support the organization’s entrepreneurship programs, beating its goal by $100,000.
The event, called Powering Possibilities, held at Boston’s Museum of Science, attracted 250 people and featured a cocktail reception and student business showcase.
Leah Camhi, executive director of The Possible Project (TPP), said, “Our first fundraising event exceeded our goals because we took great care to make the evening an extension of our organization. As you walked into the event, it was immediately recognizable as The Possible Project thanks to our distinctive branding and incorporation of the fun and innovative nature of our programming.”
She added, “At no point during the event did we lose sight of who we are, and that allowed for our success – every person in the room left knowing exactly what The Possible Project does and with specific stories to relate about our accomplishments.”
Funds were raised through event sponsorships, with table sponsorships at the $25,000, $10,000, and $5,000 levels, along with individual tickets at $500 each and sponsorships without tickets, as well as by donations pledged at the event.
The total raised represents about one-third of the organization’s annual operating budget.
Megan Dolan, TPP’s development and communications manager, said, “We had thought extensively about the size of the event and how it would meet our needs—fundraising, visibility, volunteer/partner cultivation—and decided that a small, more intimate event would best accomplish our goals, especially since it would allow all guests to interact with the students who were at the event showcasing their businesses.”
Dolan said TPP decided not to hold an auction, but focused instead on informing guests about the organization and how it serves students. Pledge cards were placed in a container on tables, and more than 20% of guests made a donation by the evening’s end.
Founded in 2011 by entrepreneurs Mark and Becky Levin to create a place where at-risk youth could become entrepreneurs and acquire personal and professional skills that would propel them to long-term life, education, and career success, TPP serves students from three Cambridge public high schools – Cambridge Rindge & Latin, Community Charter School of Cambridge, and Prospect Hill Academy Charter School.
TPP has expressed interest in expanding to a second site in Massachusetts and eventually to underserved communities in other states and around the globe.