reachIT.org wins the 10/100/1000 Challenge

Lena Young Green (center) and teen gardeners from the Tampa Heights Junior Civic Association..
  • Chip Weiner
  • Lena Young Green (center) and teen gardeners from the Tampa Heights Junior Civic Association..


Terri Willingham of Learning Is For Everyone, whose "Makerspace" idea is all about providing public spaces for DIY collaboration, said the concept could prove useful for every one of the finalists.


Mitzi Gordon found a kindred spirit and a possible collaborator in one of CL's volunteer bartenders for the night, former CL Street Teamer and ever-creative thinker Sarah Davis. Gordon's Open Book Exchange, one of the 10 finalists, would build "Little Free Libraries" throughout the Bay; Davis' Burg Books is about creating "book spots" at St. Pete businesses.


Another collaboration took place virtually on the spot. During a chat with Sowell, whose organization does the laundry for families in need, reachIT.org president Gina Kravitz had an epiphany: "I've got some detergent in my car!" Just like that: an in-kind donation was born.


Jason Sowell of Laundry Love speaks as Ken Cowart looks on.
  • Chip Weiner
  • Jason Sowell of Laundry Love speaks as Ken Cowart looks on.


The judges (myself and fellow CTB board members Julia Gorzka Freeman, Ken Cowart, and Reuben Pressman of Swings Tampa Bay, winner of last year's Challenge) had a tough time choosing a winner. The competition was tough, the proposals were solid. Hearing the finalists speak last night reminded us all over again why we were so impressed by them in the first place. The Top Ten are listed below; look to hear more about all of them in the months come. We're proud to have met them.


WINNER
reachIT.org


READERS’ CHOICE
LAUNDRY LOVE
Current of Tampa Bay, Inc.


INDIE POP-UP BLOCKS
Tampa Independent Business Alliance / Keep St. Petersburg Local


in|SITE ART
Artists Advisory Committee


OPEN BOOK EXCHANGE
Bluebird Books


SPEC PERFORMANCE SERIES
Erin Tracy & Tina Tidwell


TAMPA BAT-nitiative
Gene May


TAMPA BAY MAKERSPACE
Learning Is For Everyone


TAMPA HEIGHTS COMMUNITY GARDEN
Tampa Heights Junior Civic Association


TEEN ENTREPRENEURSHIP SUMMER CAMP
Future Founders Lab

click to enlarge Gina Kravitz of reachIT.org (on the swing) with (L to R) Reuben Pressman, David Warner, Ken Cowart and Julia Freeman - Chip Weiner
Chip Weiner
Gina Kravitz of reachIT.org (on the swing) with (L to R) Reuben Pressman, David Warner, Ken Cowart and Julia Freeman

click to enlarge Gina Kravitz of reachIT.org (on the swing) with (L to R) Reuben Pressman, David Warner, Ken Cowart and Julia Freeman - Chip Weiner
Chip Weiner
Gina Kravitz of reachIT.org (on the swing) with (L to R) Reuben Pressman, David Warner, Ken Cowart and Julia Freeman
  • Chip Weiner
  • Gina Kravitz of reachIT.org (on the swing) with 10/100/1000 judges (L to R) Reuben Pressman, David Warner, Ken Cowart and Julia Freeman

An all-volunteer organization that refurbishes computers and gives them to needy families won the $1,000 top prize last night in the 10/100/1000 Challenge, the annual ideas competition co-sponsored by Creative Loafing and Creative Tampa Bay. reachIT.org will use the money to purchase software licenses and place fresh installs on 83 computers headed for local households and elementary schools.

reachIT and the finalists whose proposals made the Top Ten were cited during an awards presentation at CL Space. It was, if we do say so ourselves, a pretty damn inspiring event.

It was hard not to feel inspired when hearing from people like Jason Sowell, whose Laundry Love Project was the Readers' Choice, or Lena Young Green and the teenage gardeners from the Tampa Heights Junior Civic Association, or Ellen Brown and Olga Bov of the Tampa Bay Independent Business Alliance and Keep St. Petersburg Local, respectively, speaking about their proposal to transform neglected downtown streetscapes into "indie pop-up blocks."

And the best part was perhaps what happened offstage, when all these creative people started trading business cards and discussing ways they could collaborate.

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