Last night I solidified my belief that a crowd can do ANYTHING. I pulled together some of the smartest people I know in a beautiful, creative space; plied them with cupcakes, sour patch kids and a little wine to help me out with a charity I am involved with.I wanted them to donate their time and their brains. They were told to leave their checkbooks at home. The result: two dozen pros showed up after long days of working with clients and crappy airline flights andproblem solving and rocked it with their creative, practical ideas.
Last night was the Great MOUSE Brainstorm. Two dozen fantastic minds assembled at the gorgeous offices of my pals Judith R. King and Andy Morris at The Morris + King Company to help dream up ideas to advance the vision and enhance the visibility of an amazing 13-year old organization called MOUSE . MOUSE gives underserved school kids access to terrific technology education and a chance to be part of a network that will change their lives. Kids who take part in the program’s MOUSE SQUAD program get trained to be their schools’ own network ‘help desk.’ It’s such a win-win: these kids get amazing training, a shot at internship opportunities and often pathways to college; the resource-starved teachers get, well, amazing resources and tools to use technology in the classroom. Their fellow students get rock star tech support. And society gets a more tech-ready workforce. Bottom line: MOUSE changes kids’ lives. Sometimes that extra access to better education, or that one chance at a little more mentoring or attention, or a door opened can literally change a life. It was powerfully brought to life in the documentary “Waiting for Superman” and we see it happen all the time in NYC, Chicago, Texas, California and other places where MOUSE is in action. It was the brainchild of Andrew Rasiej, back in the mid-1990’s at the time of Silicon Alley’s first Internet boom, and it has seen steady growth and an unusual staying power because its mission just makes so much sense. Much like planting trees to preserve our environment, MOUSE fuels the future and is a fine example of sustainable philanthropy.
With all MOUSE accomplishes nationwide, they do it on a shoestring with only 10 full time super-talented staffers and an active board of directors. And with the support and added network of policy-makers, foundations and corporate backers.
Inspired by some great MOUSE success stories, data, sugar and terrific energy, this assembled, disparate group shouted out great ideas, riffed off each other and produced the kinds of concepts that lots of organizations are happy to pay big bucks for. They made new friends and business connections. They got to take home cool MOUSE pads. This group of folks will stay involved. Many of these ideas will get launched, and as a result, some deserving, high potential kids might just get that lucky break they needed. The power of a group of brains like that is absolutely invaluable.
Thank you to those who participated. This MOUSE braintrust ROARED!