February- 3rd Birthday ‘Untapping Potential’ Summit

Three years and thousands of volunteer hours later, we’ve planted the most trees in Baltimore in one day, painted playgrounds across the city, and marched in the Light City Parade. We’ve brought good to Baltimore in countless ways and even expanded our efforts to Chicago. To celebrate we had to do something big. Our largest event ever, Volunteering Untapped’s 3rd Birthday ‘Untapping Potential’ Summit, had 700 volunteers sign-up and a nearly 200 person waitlist.

To inspire our volunteers to take the next step and truly invest in our city, we invited Baltimore’s top social thinkers and entrepreneurs to participate in a massive summit. We had two panels, ‘Bridging Gaps to Advance Baltimore’ and ‘Fostering Entrepreneurship Solve Social Problems’ and various speakers. The day’s lineup included:

The keynote speaker was Elijah Cummings. A lifelong Baltimore resident and VU supporter, Cummings is a 10-term Congressman of Maryland’s 7th District, serving Baltimore since 1996. You could hear a pin drop as Congressman Cummings’ booming voice echoed through the Columbus Center reinforcing the messages of the speakers that day. He extolled our volunteers and challenged them to find a deeper connection to their volunteerism.

Following our speakers, we had 40 of Baltimore’s biggest nonprofits in the Columbus Center to take part in our very first ‘Charity Tinder’. From 1:00-4:00 PM our attendees talked to representatives, explored new groups, and ‘swiped right’ on causes they were passionate about.  Our partners in this effort included: Healthy Harbor/Waterfront Partnership, Living Classrooms Foundation, Business Volunteers Maryland, St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore, Playworks Maryland, Second Chance, Y of Central Maryland, Parks & People Foundation, Blue Water Baltimore, Baltimore Community Toolbank, Franciscan Center, Moveable Feast, Baltimore Tree Trust, Inner Harbor Project, The Hero Lab, Thread, KEEN, Ronald McDonald House, Light City, Baltimore Corps, Bmore Group, Art With a Heart, Creative Alliance, Intersection of Change, The 6th Branch, Civic Works, Special Olympics of Maryland, Make A Wish Foundation, Reading Partners, Kennedy Krieger Institute and Section 1.

Then as you know, it wouldn’t be a Volunteering Untapped event without the after-party. We had a large variety of free beer from New Belgium. The Local Oyster, Harbor Que, and Ekiben were on-site selling their delicious eats. There was live music from Time Police and Chris Diller. And to memorialize the day, we had two Snapchat filters and a photo booth for our good-looking volunteers.

This momentous day would not have been possible without the support of our sponsors:

  • T. Rowe Price
  • J.M. Kaplan Fund
  • Transamerica
  • Tom Mayer
  • Morgan Stanley
  • MTA
  • Observation Baltimore
  • Andrew Rose
  • Matrix Ventures
  • Unison Biz
  • Wegmans

During the closing speech by our founder, Seth Franz, volunteers learned of our latest initiative, ‘VU Projects’. The first VU project was actually the culmination of our 3rd Birthday Summit. Over 40 of our nearest and dearest volunteers came together over a 6-month period to put on this event. They coordinated marketing, non-profit partnerships, food & drink, logistics, etc. This was the beginning of a new model in which organizations can propose projects that volunteers will spearhead over the course of several months to add capacity to the organization through high-impact service. If you’re a volunteer interested in donating your time or an organization with a project idea visit our website to learn more.

If you missed our event and want to get a feel for what the day was like, visit the Media section of our website. Our friends from Baltimore Magazine, the Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Business Journal, WJZ and Fox 45 covered our event.