As Andrew Butcher of GTECH said, “It was like walking into my inbox.”

More than 350 people—many of whom apparently email Andrew—showed up at AlphaLab Gear on March 26th for the UpPrize networking event. NEXTpittsburgh had the privilege of organizing the event for The Forbes Funds, BNY Mellon Foundation of Southwestern PA and BNY Mellon, founders of the UpPrize social innovation challenge.

Folks were there from the non-profit and for-profit sectors, from tech and foundations and startups and more, to connect specifically around UpPrize and how to drive change for the better in Pittsburgh. To get things started, Mayor Bill Peduto spoke about the importance of collaboration and Kate Dewey and Matt Zieger of The Forbes Funds and Kenya Boswell of BNY Mellon Foundation fired up the crowd about why and how to get involved. (Missed it? Go here to learn more.)

Photographer Dave DiCello caught the following action with people exchanging ideas, making paper airplanes with messages about how to improve Pittsburgh, building teams for the social innovation challenge and enjoying a great buffet from Whole Foods. Not to mention great local beer from Hop Farm, Full Pint, Grist House and Penn Brewery.

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More than 350 showed up the UpPrize networking event at AlphaLab Gear. Photo by Dave DiCello

As one event-goer told NEXT, “This was a helluva party.” We call that the second best quote of  the evening.

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Photo by Dave DiCello

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Mayor Bill Peduto chatting up the crowd. Dave DiCello photo.

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Kate Dewey, president of The Forbes Funds. Dave DiCello photo.

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Kenya Boswell and Matt Zieger. Photo by Dave DiCello


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NEXTpittsburgh was honored to throw this event and we would like to offer our sincere thanks to Nina Barbuto of Assemble and Darrell Kinsel for their help in making paper airplanes and the outside chalk art; Bob Sendall and All in Good Taste Productions for his fabulous Taboo Toffee treats; and to Mt. Lebanon Floral for their creative and awesome arrangements. We also want to thank our volunteers Matt Marks and especially  Eric (event planner Lani Redinger’s husband) who went above and beyond; and NEXT editors Lori Grotstein and Jennifer Baron for their help.

Thanks to everyone who came out for the event and made it a truly great night. We met lots of new people and hope you did, too. Keep connecting—and innovating!