Kenya Dream Eptimozies The Art Of “Fun-raising” Philanthropy - Page 2
Students were required to make a one minute video describing why they should win the award. Competing against 130 other schools across the nation, Nithin’s Cupertino High won the contest and attended a Prom that included appearances by Lil Jon, Far East Movement and Common. Winning Dell’s SuperProm allowed the students to donate four years worth of fundraising to Kenya Dream, while still enjoying the prom of a lifetime.
Although winning was great, the motivation to enter the contest was to spread the word about Kenya Dream. Per Nithin, “Our incentive for entering the contest was to gain a national stage for Kenya Dream. We had NBC, ABC, Fox, San Jose Mercury News (cover the story). We had a bunch of media come out to our school and publicize Kenya Dream.” The media exposure also led to a matching donation from the Rotary Club.
Entrepreneurs must pull Donors into their orbit figuratively – non-profits have to do so literally. To this end, Nithin and the Kenya Dream team have leveraged their passion for dance, as a means to further engage their target audience and spread the word about Kenya Dream.
Ken-ya Dance was initially launched in 2009 in the Bay Area and has since been replicated with three encore shows, including one at the University of Irvine (UCI) in Southern California. Nithin describes Ken-ya Dance as, “…a charity dance showcase featuring 15-to-30 dance crews, …(including) crews from MTV’s American Dance Crew. In the past we have had season champions Poreotics, Quest Crew, We Are Heroes, Super Cr3w. That really helped us bring in more students and adults – that’s how we built our network.”
I asked Nithin what he thought were the three most important skills that young entrepreneurs should devote time developing. “Do what you love. The second thing is Networking. Not just networking with people around you – set yourself apart and build a map of connections (beyond your friends). It is important that if we really want support from someone, we have to be willing to give them support and show them that we care about their cause. Lastly, never give up. Don’t be afraid of the risks involved, don’t be afraid of failure. We failed a lot of times with Kenya Dream, but we learned from our failures.”Continued on the next page