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6th Annual Tom Tom Founders Festival – Thursday Events

Charlottesville, VA—Tom Tom Founders Festival announced today highlights for the fourth day of the 2017 Festival, which runs from Monday, April 10 through Sunday, April 16.

Youth Summit, The Paramount Theater, 9am-3:30pm – This student planned and student led experience convenes high school students, educators and civic leaders from across Virginia to hear inspirational stories from youth driven speakers and participate in high energy challenges that inspire entrepreneurial problem solving. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, will arrive at 2pm join the Youth Summit for a second year.

Hometown Summit, Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, 8:30am-5:00 – Small and mid-sized cities with big ideas pilot path-breaking solutions to 21st century challenges. This multi-day Summit combines dozens of interactive keynotes, workshops and peer-led panels, offering a chance to learn from and connect with change-makers leading some of the nation’s most creative and successful campaigns for community change. Check out this highlighted session below:

12:00 – 1:00 pm, Thursday, April 13

Plenary: “Civic Entrepreneurship: Changing the Way We Change the World”

Successful entrepreneurship sets off a chain reaction, encouraging other entrepreneurs to iterate upon and ultimately propagate innovation to the point of “creative destruction,” rendering existing products, services, and business models obsolete. We’ve seen this domino of accelerating innovation at work in the private sector – and our public sector and civic institutions can’t keep up. Hear from these policy entrepreneurs and civic innovators about how their work bridges the gap and changes the game.


  1. Mayor Levar Stoney of Richmond

  2. Steven Olikara of the Congressional Future Caucus and Millennial Action Project

  3. Laura Weidman Powers of CODE2040 and the Obama White House

  4. Moderator: Roger Dean Huffstetler, Senior Advisor, Tom Tom Founders Festival

VPER – Virginia Policy Entrepreneurship Retreat, Marriott, 12:00-5:00pm – A bootcamp where mayors, elected officials, and city and county executives design, launch, and grow new pilot projects.

Machine Learning Conference, Violet Crown Cinemas, 1-5pm – Leaders from Virginia’s academics, government agencies, and startups advance the understanding of practical issues of applying data science and machine learning.

Innovations in Energy: The Future of Renewables, The Paramount Theater, 5-7:30pm – Charlottesville is a renewable energy hub, where strategic and innovative research and local entrepreneurship are shaping the region’s startup brand with global impact. At this event, environmental experts and clean energy entrepreneurs, including Lester Brown (Earth Policy Institute) and Jerome Ringo (Zeotic Global) set a landscape of awareness of the future of renewable energy, transformative energy projects, and visionary solutions.

Innovations in Democracy: First 100 Days of Trump, The Paramount Theater, 8-10pm – The nation’s leading presidential scholars and journalists covering the White House to assess President Trump at 100 Days, the state of American democracy, where we’re headed, and what some of the big ideas are for our collective future. The three-part program will start with a  high-impact conversation featuring Mark R. Warner, U.S. Senator from the Commonwealth of Virginia, and Bill Antholis, director and CEO of the University of Virginia’s nonpartisan Miller Center. Warner and Antholis’ conversation will be followed by a panel discussion, presented by BackStory, on the “History of Media and the Presidency.” The event will close with a  discussion of “Trump at 100 Days,” presented by the Miller Center and featuring Peter Baker (New York Times) and Chris Cillizza (Washington Post), two of the nation’s leading journalists covering the White House.

Silent Disco, Old Metropolitan Hall, 9:30-11:30pm – Wireless headsets tuned in to three ridiculously fun DJs-in-residence create a disco party that needs no words.

Workshop Series, The community workshop series convenes leaders to share their skills, knowledge, creative process, and advice in diverse fields. Thursday’s Workshops are:

  1. Budgeting for Entrepreneurship, Wood Rogers PLC, 5:30-6:3pm

  2. Sour Beer: Stainles vs. Wood-Aged, Draft Taproom, 5:30-7:30pm


Farm to Table Restaurant Week, Various Locations, 5-11pm – Participating restaurants will feature a special dinner menu that highlights local food artisans and producers.

Craft Cocktail Competition, Various Locations, 5-11pm – Top bartenders create specialty “Tom Tom” cocktails, featuring local spirits and ingredients. Patrons will vote for their favorites throughout the week, and a panel of judges will also crown a winner.

City as Canvas: Mural Project, Various Locations – In its fourth year, Tom Tom’s 2017 Mural Project will transform underutilized spaces into public art–the embodiment of  Tom Tom’s “City as Canvas” initiative.

Office Hours Mentoring Series, During the week of Tom Tom, established professionals in a variety of industries take aspiring entrepreneurs and creative individuals out for coffee at Grit Cafe and one-on-one mentorship.


To read more about the Festival and the see the full schedule, please visit:


To register for press credentials, download approved photography and video, and see the press kit please visit:

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The Tom Tom Foundation is the nonprofit organization that hosts the annual Tom Tom Founders Festival. Supporting high-impact events throughout the year, the Foundation seeks to empower the innovators whose creativity, entrepreneurial spirit, and dedication to community help ensure a better future for us all. Now in its sixth year, the action-packed Founders Festival is held during the week of April 13 (hometown hero Thomas Jefferson’s birthday) in Charlottesville, VA. Learn more:


The Tom Tom Founders Festival is presented by the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, American Evolution, the Quantitative Foundation, and the i.Lab at UVA. It is also generously underwritten by a number of leading organizations, including the University of Virginia, Ting, C-Ville Weekly, New Belgium Brewing Company, Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, City of Charlottesville, Galant Center for Entrepreneurship, the UVA School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the Virginia Tourism Corporation.


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