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Do Good Accelerator Revs Up

Programs Supporting Startups to Expand in New Diamondback Garage Location

By Maryland Today Staff

Ribbon cutting

Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle

The ribbon flutters to the floor at the grand opening of the Do Good Accelerator last night. From left, Bob Grimm, Levenson Family Chair in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership and Do Good Institute director, Khalil Kettering M.P.M. '15, CEO, District Stormwater and Do Good Council member, (holding scissors) Natalia Ochman '19, founder of FLAME, UMD President Wallace D. Loh, School of Public Policy Dean Robert Orr and David Rothschild, CEO of Rothschild Capital Partners.

A new space just across Baltimore Avenue kicks the University of Maryland’s mission as the nation’s first Do Good Campus into higher gear.

The Do Good Accelerator combines Do Good Institute teaching space with areas for student teams to develop ventures and projects aimed both at tackling societal problems and building successful companies and nonprofits.

The grand opening was held last night in its new home in Diamondback Garage, an entrepreneurial-focused space beneath the Hotel at the University of Maryland’s parking garage. The new facility is the latest piece of Greater College Park, the $2 billion private-public investment to reinvigorate the Baltimore Avenue corridor.

The program featured UMD President Wallace D. Loh, School of Public Policy Dean Robert Orr and others, including students and alumni who’ve launched businesses.

“Do Good has been fortunate to create a number of award-winning companies, nonprofits, projects and innovations,” Robert Grimm Jr., Levenson Family Chair in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership and director of the Do Good Institute, said in an interview. “Now, with the opening of this space, we’re poised to accelerate both the numbers and impact they’re going to have.”

The inspiration for the facility was the Food Recovery Network, a nonprofit started by UMD students that now fights food waste on hundreds of campuses. The organization won the inaugural 2012 Do Good Challenge, a “Shark Tank”-style competition run by the institute for startup nonprofits and companies focused on social good.

“We found them space on campus, found faculty members to help them develop strategy… I helped them draw up the papers to form the nonprofit, and my wife’s law firm even provided pro bono legal help,” he said. “We leveraged every asset we knew to help.”

The Do Good Accelerator is designed to make that kind of assistance standard practice.

“It’s coaching and mentoring and financial assistance—a space where students can come to get help, find answers and access resources to further develop their concepts,” said Kisha Logan, manager of the new facility.

Grimm last night also announced a multiyear partnership between the Do Good Institute, Rothschild Foundations and RCP Philanthropic Projects to support a range of institute programs at the Accelerator, including:

  • The Scale Your Impact Program, designed for UMD students and alumni looking to extend the reach of and create a larger social impact with their projects. The program provides up to $10,000, Do Good Accelerator membership and suite of valuable resources for business and project development
  • A new summer program that will give students eight-week stipends and support from Do Good Accelerator resources to develop Do Good projects full-time while school is out.
  • The Lunch with Leaders series, giving students opportunities several times each semester to dine with leaders from nonprofits to deepen their understanding of social issues, such as the environment and disabilities, and how to address them.

“It is thrilling to see the passion and commitment of the students and faculty,” said David Rothschild, director of RCP³ and the foundations. “Our visits provide a ray of sunshine in a world that can feel divided and worrisome. At the end of every visit, it’s only a few minutes before one of us says, ‘That was a great day!’”

Kaitlin Ahmad contributed to this article.

Schools & Departments:

School of Public Policy

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