All photos by Drew Altizer Photography
“We’re committed to empowering the youth of the Bay Area to become our future leaders,” said Chuck Collins, President and CEO of the YMCA of San Francisco, during his moving speech at the fourth annual YMCA Y for Youth Luncheon, Fire Up The Startups on March 20. “With your support, we can help the youth of the Bay Area reach their full potential – and become the next big thing.” What Collins didn’t need to point out was the “next big things” were already sitting in the room.
Speakers like YMCA members Nasina Chamber and Christian Oredel were walking examples of poise, power and grace in their teenage years. More impressive was the entrepreneurial spirit that radiated from YMCA youth programs members. From Puma Prevents launched by youth at Burton High School to educate young men about rape prevention and violence against women to Primed and Prepped, a work force development culinary program prepping the next generation of chefs for the workforce, this year’s event focused on the wide variety of startups within the Y.
Notables in attendance were John Berg, AO Board President and sponsor; Tina Frank, VP & COO of Koret Foundation; Michael Dorman of the Reach & Rise Mentorship Program; Eugene Clark-Herrera and Carol Berg & Julie Harkins, Y for Youth Co-Chairs.
Each year, The Fire Up the StartUps luncheon draws more than 400 corporate, philanthropic and community leaders, who come together together to support the YMCA of San Francisco youth, with programs serving more than 10,000 youth in San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties every day. This year’s luncheon was held ad the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and raised $618,000 for Bay Area youth!