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June 12, 2012 - Derek Turner, the first Fellow to accept his Venture for America offer, speaks at the First Annual Summer Celebration about his decision to become a Fellow and why Detroit is so important to him.

Chosen by fellow fellows as the class speaker, Barry Conrad managed to bring the audience to both laughter and tears in a memorable speech at VFA Training Camp’s Closing Ceremony.  

Teespring Challenge Winners display hustle and leave community impact

Venture for America designs a hot new WaterFire tee-shirt!

Venture for America designs a hot new WaterFire tee-shirt!

WaterFire Providence and Venture for America rolled out a brand new tee-shirt design at the July 7, 2012 WaterFire that received great positive feedback - in fact we SOLD EVERY SINGLE ONE! 

Here’s the story and HOW YOU CAN GET YOURS, while you help out on a fun project.

Five recent college graduates, Jim Kahmann, Laura Berk, Barry Conrad, Charles Watkins, and Brian Bosche, designed and marketed the new tee-shirt design as part of their competitive fellowship program with Venture for America.

Venture for America is a new nonprofit organization focused on revitalizing U.S. cities through entrepreneurship. Following a summer of intensive training at Brown University, forty Venture for America fellows will join startups in Detroit, Cincinnati, Las Vegas, New Orleans, and Providence.  To prepare for the demands of the scrappy and fast-paced entrepreneurial world, Venture for America fellows are faced with practical hands-on challenges: like raising money for a Providence nonprofit with a lightning fast tee-shirt marketing campaign.

The five fellows came up with the tee-shirt idea, worked with WaterFire on the design, printed the shirts in four days and then volunteered at WaterFire last Saturday night to raise some money for the arts nonprofit.

They modeled their new tee-shirt design to garner support for the event.  At the end of the night they were sweaty, smelly, … and all smiles.  They had sold every single tee-shirt, and only wished they had ordered more.

Venture for America WaterFire Team 2012

From left to right: Brian Bosche, Jim Kahmann, Barry Conrad, Charles Watkins, and Laura Berk.

 Two weeks ago, the five fellows arrived in Providence and fell in love with WaterFire and asked Barnaby Evans how they could get involved.  Together with Teespring.com, a Providence-based kickstarter for nonprofit fundraising, the team hit the drawing boards with the goals of being personally involved in WaterFire, supporting the Providence community, and winning their Venture for America team challenge.

The WaterFire team has two more days for their team challenge to raise the most for a nonprofit.  Since the shirts were so popular they are reprinting them and you can place your order right here online.

For the Venture for America team to win their round, they need you to support WaterFire by placing your own order on-line by midnight, this Wednesday, July 11th! 

First installment of #vfabootcamp Fellow Files, featuring Wharton ‘12 Grad Alison Schmitt. She says her proudest accomplishment is getting into VFA. Here’s why.