Why Tom Tom matters, according to you
For some, it’s the thrill of an action-packed, full day conference that leads to a pivotal new career connection. For others, it’s the chance to put your big idea out into the world and pitch it to hundreds of people. And, there are those of you who just love a block party — relaxing and celebrating with your friends to live music.
Over the last couple weeks, we’ve been checking in with you directly to see which Tom Tom memories you’ve treasured over the years, and we’ve gotten such incredible feedback. Here are your top FIVE favorite moments, plus a few extras that made us smile!
John Cleese and Is There Life After Death? (2018)
A clear frontrunner was our conversation with UVA Division of Perceptual Studies, which covered everything from children with memories of past lives; the nature of consciousness; the mind-body relationship; neuro-imaging studies of psi events; and near-death experiences. Legendary actor, writer, and comedian John Cleese lent levity to the researchers’ goosebump-inducing findings. See the full talk here!
Sister Sparrow Concerts (2016 & 2019)
The Brooklyn-based, seven-piece band Sister Sparrow was another crowd favorite! Powerful vocals, gospel-infused funk, and a healthy horn section lit up a packed Market Street Park in 2016. In 2019, the band's enthusiastic return was matched by a crowd who came out and got down despite ominous skies. We can't wait to share more live music with you next April — subscribe to our mailing list for updates!
The Future of Cannabis Panel (2019)
With Virginia’s recent decriminalization of marijuana, it’s no wonder this event was top-of-mind! We convened five prominent cannabis leaders for a conversation about the opportunities and challenges they've faced. Speakers included Jenn Michelle Pedini of Virginia NORML; Steven Hawkins of The Marijuana Policy Project; Jane West of Women Grow; Hope Wiseman of Mary and Main; with John Hudak of the Brookings Institution moderating. Full discussion here.
Crowdfunded Pitch Night (Year-Round Entrepreneurship Initiative)
For 8 years, we've brought together entrepreneurs and budding nonprofit founders to pitch their big ideas. This participant said it best: “I loved getting on stage at Nonprofit Pitch Night as a 15-year-old and trying to win $10,000 for my charity, Backpack Buddies. We didn’t get the big bucks, but it was an amazing experience! Five years later, we’re going strong and providing hundreds of backpacks filled with school supplies to local students in need every year!” Learn more here.
The City Art Bus (Year-Round Public Art Initiative)
Suffice to say, you guys LOVE the Art Bus. This collaborative project between Tom Tom, Charlottesville Area Transit, and JAUNT reimagines everyday transit as a canvas for public art. Since 2015, Tom Tom has hosted an annual design competition that draws entries from around the world — the winning designs become a full art wrap on either a CAT or JAUNT bus. The wrapped buses act as moving murals that roam the streets of Charlottesville for an entire year. Learn more here.
A few more that made us smile:
“In 2019, I met some amazing entrepreneur ecosystem builders and they took me under their wing. We ended up walking over to Brazos Tacos in the pouring rain and then hanging out all night. That first encounter led me to the startup Champions Network and a year of learning and growing that led to my successfully writing and receiving a $1 million grant for our region.”
“Watching inspiring speakers back to back in the Paramount on a Friday makes for one action-packed day.”
“Listening to live music while chatting with local businesses/organizations at the Sunday block party!”
Why did we ask?
Because quite honestly, we found ourselves asking a critical question many times over the last couple months: Is our work important to people? What impact are we having, and why? It was edifying—and sometimes even surprising!—to read your responses. You showed us that the ways we bring people together are important to you, and we’re grateful!
Will you support us?
Our new website offers you several ways to show your support, either with a one time gift (and no gift is too small!), with a monthly gift that really allows us to put your dollars to work, or even by enlisting the support of your charitable organization.
Check out all the options here, and thank you!
Ready for more?
Don’t forget about our upcoming virtual event series happening this fall — the Cities Rising Summit! Keep an eye on your inbox for our speaker lineup announcement coming later this month. Remember, this event is pay-what-you-can thanks to our generous sponsors. Learn more and get registered here.