One of our favorite non-profits in San Francisco, Spark, is turning 10 years old. Not yet a tween, not yet a woman, but still the leading network in the Bay Area for young professionals to mix, mingle, and advance gender equality. Below are 5 reasons why we think Spark is so spectacular—and why you should consider supporting this epic non-profit at their annual Black & Pink Ball at the W Hotel with 500 other do-gooders and go-getters this September 26th.
1. The Approach: The idea for Spark was born in 2005 when seven friends—all young professional women in the Bay Area—envisioned an organization that would empower young professionals to address issues that women face globally, and provide young people the opportunity to channel their energy toward becoming involved in both their local and global communities. Now with over 10,000 young professionals supporting this non-profit, Spark is the largest network of millennials (including men!) focused on improving the lives of women and girls.
2. The Cause: Overall, Spark has raised more than $2 million to improve the lives of women and girls. From educating girls in India, to providing young women with entrepreneurship skills in Uganda, and advocating for more gender equality in local government systems in Cameroon, Spark’s grantee partners are leveraging all resources provided to them to implement initiatives that push the agenda of gender equality forward. In 2014 alone, Spark’s grants made the following possible:
- 1,000 children in Brazil trained in gender equality training through sports
- 200 expectant mothers in Nigeria received access to prenatal care
- 150 women in Cameroon received civic engagement opportunities
- 60 at-risk girls in San Francisco received financial literacy training
- 50 young women in Pakistan were trained in human rights advocacy
- 41 women entrepreneurs in Uganda received business skills training
- 20 survivors of abuse in Oakland given access to recovery support
- 15 at-risk girls in New York received leadership training
3. The People: Spark is a network of like-minded young professionals (mainly 20’s – 40’s) who truly care about making our world and community a better and more equitable place. Spark members are committed to learning about and engaging in the global community, as well as working and socializing with like-minded individuals through educational activities, volunteerism and activism. From CEO’s and chefs to artists, teachers, and entrepreneurs, Spark is for everyone who wants to start a conversation with “What inspires you?” and not just “What do you do?”
4. The Opportunities: At its core, Spark is a learning community. Spark’s strategy involves providing young professionals with leadership opportunities to deepen engagement with the women’s movement and philanthropy as a practice. Their signature engagement model includes a process by which Spark members identify and vote on grantees, secure funds and pro bono support, and work together to ensure social impact. Their board and member-led committees are training grounds for hundreds of young leaders who use their Spark experience to prepare for promotions at work, grad school applications, starting their own nonprofits, and joining other boards. Above all, it’s a way to give back while learning along the way.
5. The Ball: And last, but surely not least, another reason to love Spark is because they know how to have fun while raising funds. The Black & Pink Ball is Spark’s signature event for Spark’s investment program, attracting 500 globally minded young professionals from around the Bay Area with proceeds benefitting Spark and their 2015 grantees.
Register today and join Spark on Saturday, September 26th at the swanky W San Francisco to celebrate a decade of impact. The evening will feature open bar, fancy treats, live music, DJ, dancing, photo booth, VIP lounge, prizes, and special surprises that make you go “YASSSS!” Attire? Black & Pink, cocktail-chic with a Silver twist. Pink suits encouraged.
See you on the dance floor!