Last Wednesday evening, the light bulbs were sparking downtown as some of Dayton’s most brilliant minds came together to begin working towards one of the most anticipated competitions of the year.
Since 2008, UpDayton has been a powerhouse of ideas and people who understand Dayton’s greatest potential. The organization has been the brains and hard work behind several of Dayton’s most engaging community projects and accomplishments over the past decade, including Dayton Inspires, Longest Table Dayton and the mural pedestrian bridge that connects the Oregon District and South Park neighborhoods.
>> PHOTOS: 2017 UpDayton Summit
“We were established to address Dayton’s ‘brain drain.’ How do we make ourselves this thriving community that people want to stay in, activate and lead -- not one people want to run away from?” said AJ Ferguson, Executive Director of UpDayton.
>> PHOTOS: 2016 UpDayton Summit
The first phase of the Summit was underway last Wednesday night during Summit X, a meeting where approximately 20 innovative people gathered to pitch their ideas and start forming the teams they hope will make it to April’s event.
Every April at the Dayton Art Institute, the UpDayton Summit gives a platform to ten or 12 of the brightest ideas that have been chosen by the UpDayton board. In short, each team gets three minutes to pitch their idea to a crowd of around 300 influential, energetic people from Dayton, who will then vote on their favorite three ideas.
The months spent fine-tuning their ideas be do not go unrewarded for the Summit teams. $3,000 goes to each of the three teams whose ideas the audience believed could make the biggest impact in their community.
For Ferguson, he was inspired by the Summit when he was volunteering for an UpDayton project while still a student at the University of Dayton.
“I was just sort of blown away by how many people were at that summit … Especially learning the UpDayton story. We, especially young people, we can’t just abandon our hometowns for some other city that’s going to be just fine without us … Dayton has unlimited potential.”
With the successes that have evolved from past years’ Summits, there’s no limit to what this year could bring. The 2018 Summit will take place on April 26, 2018 at the Dayton Art Institute, 456 Belmonte Park N, Dayton.
You can purchase tickets online at updayton.org. Early bird prices are $20 through Feb. 26, and will be $25 after that.