1000 trees

1,000 Trees Jax hopes to reforest public spaces

Our friends in Jacksonville took their idea to the One Spark Crowdfunding festival and gained our support.  You can read about it on The Florida Times-Union.




South Florida Sun Sentinel: Broward Impact Forum attracts innovative ideas

We had a great showing at the Broward Impact Forum in downtown Ft. Lauderdale! Check out the South Florida Sun Sentinel article for more on the innovative project ideas that got the most votes!



Tampa Bay Times: Give Day Tampa Bay hits $1 million goal for nonprofits


Craig Pittman of the Tampa Bay Times reports that MOSI topped all other organizations in the 24-hour giving event.

Read the article here.


Tampa Bay Business Journal: Five Takeaways from the Tampa Bay Innovation Lunch

The TBBJ offers five observations. Click here to read the article.


Tampa Bay Times: Give Day will help nonprofits

March 26, 2014:



Thank you to the Tampa Bay Times for their great article about our Give Day Tampa Bay initiative!


E. Tyler Cathey and Jess Joaquin Johnson are godparents to each other’s children, know which sports teams the other supports and which organizations the other belongs to. Oddly, though, the two young professionals had never spoken of their philanthropic giving.

But when Cathey, a 34-year-old attorney in Tampa, and Johnson, a 31-year-old real estate consultant in Tampa, were invited to a conference geared toward making Florida a better place, they jointly realized that an obligation to give was something they had in common.

So at a forum sponsored by the Florida Next Foundation in July, Cathey and Johnson pitched the idea of creating a “culture of philanthropy” to 150 Tampa Bay entrepreneurs and business leaders. Their hook: Out of 366 major metropolitan areas, Tampa Bay ranked 250th for philanthropic giving in 2012. It’s a statistic Johnson deemed “stunning.”

“It’s less about the dollars, it’s more about giving something,” he said. “It’s about being involved. It’s about having skin in the game.”

In the crowd was Community Foundation of Tampa Bay’s CEO Marlene Spalten. Cathey and Johnson’s idea coincided with the foundation’s plans to start a local day of giving.

A partnership was formed between the Florida Next Foundation and the Community Foundation to streamline the process of philanthropic giving and target a new generation of givers: 20- to 40-year-olds.

And so, Give Day Tampa Bay, the area’s first day of giving, was born.

On May 6, the Community Foundation’s website, givedaytampabay.org, will be accepting donations to more than 200 registered nonprofits in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties for 24 hours beginning at midnight.

In 2012, Give Miami Day raised $1 million. Around the country, other cities and chapters hold their own day of giving.

While the Community Foundation is charged with handling the money, the Florida Next Foundation will manage the volunteers and increase awareness of philanthropic giving through its partnerships, said Jocelyn Carpenter, the Community Foundation’s stewardship specialist and co-director of Give Day.

Donors can make a minimum $25 donation online or on the foundation’s mobile app.

“This is creating that one-stop shop for people to find their passion,” said Ned Pope, Florida Next Foundation president and co-director of Give Day.

The Museum of Science and Industry, Tampa General Hospital Foundation and Boys and Girls Club of Tampa Bay are already registered with the site.

Funds donated to MOSI will go toward its summer camp scholarship program. With Give Day’s help, they hope to reach a goal of sponsoring 400 children, 10 times their scholarship enrollment last year.

“You don’t have to be Warren Buffett to be a philanthropist,” said Molly Demeulenaere, the museum’s vice president of growth and development.

Colleen Wright can be reached at cwright@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8913. Follow her on Twitter @Colleen_Wright.


Tampa Bay Times: Give Day Tampa Bay Will Help Nonprofits


“You don’t have to be Warren Buffett to be a philanthropist,” said Molly Demeulenaere, MOSI’s vice president of growth and development.

Read the Tampa Bay Times article here.


Tampa Bay Times: Tampa Bay Times: Can Florida NEXT better coordinate Tampa Bay’s Start Up Resources?

Read the full article here.


By Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist


Now that Alex Sink is running full bore for former Congressman Bill Young’s open seat in Pinellas County, she’s shedding a number of other duties and titles.

To avoid any potential political conflicts of interest, Sink recently gave up her role as chair of Florida NEXT, the Tampa-based think tank she founded a few years ago.

Florida NEXT now will be chaired by George Gordon, a name known to many business leaders in the technology and startup communities here. But Gordon is no caretaker chairman. He envisions Florida NEXT as an umbrella organization to help coordinate the still piecemeal efforts of Tampa Bay’s business incubators, pursuits of venture capital funding and other regional assets that support business startups here.

Would herding cats prove any easier?

Gordon says he’s gotten positive feedback and some curiosity over the idea of adopting a more “cohesive strategy” to help area startups.

“Nobody wants to end up worse off than where they started,” Gordon acknowledges. “I think by working together, we can raise the tide and float all boats.”

Gordon, who relocated here from Silicon Valley years ago, is on to something. A common frustration of many area startups is their lack of visibility and the absence of a single go-to place for assistance — whether it’s mentoring, fundraising or networking.

Sure, the rise of incubators like the Tampa Bay Innovation Center in Pinellas County, Tampa Bay WaVE in downtown Tampa or USF Connect on the Tampa campus helps a lot. But Gordon, who has chaired or sits on the board of several of these organizations, believes a third-party group like Florida NEXT could help raise the bar on collaboration.

Asks Gordon: “What if Florida NEXT could be the umbrella that ends partiality to any one organization?”

Why all this fixation on improving coordination?

Because Gordon — like many area technology leaders — wants to better the odds of creating and nurturing a Tampa Bay startup that hits it big. Why can’t this area be home to a company just like Austin is to Dell or Cupertino is to Apple?

“Creating some breakout companies. That will be a focus of mine,” Gordon says.

Nothing will better splash Tampa Bay’s tech industry on a larger map than a startup-turned-big success. Focusing the region’s best resources on promising startups will more likely make that happen.

But we are getting ahead of the playbook. A former CEO and owner of Tampa energy industry startup Enporion, Gordon only recently became chair of Florida NEXT. His board of directors and staff soon will go on a retreat to discuss their strategy. And while Sink is no longer chair, she still awaits a legal opinion to see if she must completely detach herself from the group.

When Gordon left for Tampa Bay 13 years ago, his Silicon Valley peers shook their heads. Tampa? There’s no technology in Tampa.

Gordon wants to send them a message soon so they can see what they missed.

Robert Trigaux can be reached at rtrigaux@tampabay.com.



Our Issues Tampa Bay

Florida Next President Ned Pope discussed small businesses during an “Our Issues Tampa Bay” segment for WTTA MyTVTampaBay.com.



Creative Loafing: Local entrepreneurs convene to discuss ideas for improving Tampa Bay

Creative Loafing’s Terrance Smith writes:

The event was a cross between a town hall meeting and a fast pace brain storming session.

Read the full article here.