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An Evening Of Social Entrepreneurship
BY MARIA PREKEGES
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117 B Honeysuckle St.
Trail To Venture
rail to Venture,” an evening to learn about the Wild Gift organization and its current Fellows, will take place on Monday, Feb. 23 from 5-8 p.m. at the Ketchum Innovation Center located at 100 Lindsay Circle. The event, which is free to the public, will be an opportunity to learn more about the Wild Gift organization and its four Fellows who will be fresh off their Idaho wilderness
“It’s an organization of people that believe that wilderness is transformational.” –Knapp Executive Director Wild Gift
trek. Wild Gift is a Hailey-based nonprofit that supports and inspires social entrepreneurs, using wilderness as its classroom. Wild Gift was founded by lifelong Wood River Valley resident, Bob Jonas, in 2002. Wild Gift helps emerging social innovators ages 21 through 35 to translate their ideas into social ventures worldwide. Using wilderness as a springboard, the unique 16-month Fellowship provides mentoring, seed funding, networking and other related services to help lift ventures off the ground. The organization selects extraordinary leaders (Fellows) and takes them on a deep wilderness trip and gives them start-up capital and expert
The four Wild Gift Fellows on their two-week trek. Left to right, Michael Long, John Duval, Leo Pollock and Tinia Pina.
mentorship to accelerate their ideas. “It’s an organization of people that believe that wilderness is transformational, and is committed to seeking out and finding talented young visionaries and inspire them with the wilderness experience and then provide wrap-around support to launch social ventures that will change the world,” stated Deborah Knapp, executive director of Wild Gift. This year’s Fellows are Jon Duval, Tinia Pina (the only female in this current group), Michael Long and Leo Pollock. They all have founded companies aimed at promoting a diversity of social benefits. The Fellows will be coming straight from two weeks in the Idaho backcountry for the “Trail to Venture” event. During their trek, the Fellows will have learned wilderness survival skills, met with mentors and business experts, shared ideas, practiced their pitches and developed their vision for a better world. They’ll be talking about their wilderness experience and how it impacted them as individuals, and also how it will be integrated into their work.
The group will also be meeting with local school children from 4–5 p.m. at the Innovation Center to inspire them to think out of the box and be change-makers. “We are not just a backcountry wilderness experience,” explained Wild Gift board member Deborra Bohrer. “We are not just social entrepreneurs bringing in young people; we are combining the two because the importance of saving this world and understanding the world is the combination of these two things.” To date, Wild Gift has mentored 47 Fellows, who are driving innovation globally in the areas of education, agriculture, renewable energy, community development and land preservation. “The road to social change is not an easy one,” said Deborah Knapp, Wild Gift’s executive director. “For those choosing that path, the ability to sustain personal clarity and strength of vision are as important as a good business plan or raising capital.” To learn more about “Trail to Venture,” this year’s Fellows, the selection process and the organization, visit www.wildgift.org.
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During their two-week trek, Wild Gift Fellows are deep into the Idaho mountains. Courtesy photo
Th e W e e k l y S u n •
february 18, 2015