Entertainment Industry Foundation, Denver Public Schools And Denver Mayor Michael Hancock Host Nation's First Student-Teacher Think It Up Live Pitch Competition For Innovative Learning Ideas

Think It Up, A New Initiative from the Entertainment Industry Foundation that Aims to Harness Students' Passions and Generate Excitement about Learning, Celebrates Milestone of Over 600 Fully-Funded Student-Powered, Teacher-Led Projects Nationwide

West Leadership Academy Wins Denver Pitch Competition and Kick Starts Project to Support Water Conservation

Dec 09, 2015, 08:52 ET from Entertainment Industry Foundation

DENVER, Dec. 9, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), a leading charitable organization of the entertainment industry, hosted the first-ever Think It Up Live pitch competition yesterday, bringing more than 200 Denver-area students and teachers together to create and pitch ideas for powerful learning projects and receive seed funding. The event marked a major milestone for Think It Up, as the national education initiative has now fully-funded over 600 student-powered, teacher-led projects across the country since its inaugural telecast in September. 

Think It Up was created by EIF to start a new movement in support of students, teachers and schools, creating a culture of excitement about learning everywhere in America. The initiative invites students, age 13+ in grades 7-12 in public schools, to work with their teachers to develop learning projects that draw on their passions and connect what they are working on in the classroom to the challenges they will face in the future. In partnership with their teachers, students can request the materials they need to pursue rigorous learning opportunities.

Created through Think It Up, in collaboration with DonorsChoose.org, the student-powered, teacher-led projects are crowdfunded by citizen donors and half funded by a number of EIF's supporters, including Ashoka's Start Empathy initiative, ExxonMobil, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Staples.

First-Ever Think It Up Live Celebrates Denver Students' Passion and Creativity
Denver leaders including Mayor Michael Hancock, Colorado Avalanche Center Matt Duchene and Denver Public Schools (DPS) Board President Anne Rowe helped kick off the first-ever Think It Up Live event, which showcased students' passion for learning in a science fair-meets-"shark tank" style pitch competition. Students created and pitched innovative learning projects to judges and experts, with all participating teams receiving $100 in funding credits to kick-start their projects.

The winning team came from West Leadership Academy, and received $1,000 to fund their project, which raises awareness for water conservation and teaches water-saving skills. Five additional semi-finalists received $750 in funding credits towards their projects.

The students' teachers can create projects at www.ThinkItUp.org, where the public has the opportunity to provide additional funding.

"The Denver community is committed to furthering education and inspiring learning, which is why we are so pleased that the Entertainment Industry Foundation selected Denver to host the first-ever Think It Up Live event," said Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. "The event showcased just how much creativity, ingenuity and passion this community has, and I can't wait to see these projects come to life."

Following the kickoff event in Denver, additional Think It Up Live pitch competitions with students and teachers will be held in communities across the country, highlighting inspiring stories of successful teacher-student collaborations.

Think It Up Surpasses 600 Fully-Funded Projects Since September Launch
In addition to hosting the first in an upcoming series of live Think It Up pitch competitions, EIF celebrated a milestone funding over 600 projects, impacting more than 100,000 students in communities throughout the country.

Highlights of the first 600 projects funded through Think It Up, since the program kicked off in September with a star-studded "roadblock" telecast event, include:

  • Students in Clarksdale, Mississippi created a "makerspace" in their school library, where students can learn the skills to combine their love of art and design with the technology to bring their new product ideas to life.
  • Inspired by their studies of NASA, students in Mr. Hampshire's San Jose, California classroom are using a weather balloon to launch science experiments into Low Earth Orbit, and will create a tracking and recovery mechanism to reclaim their materials when they fall back to earth.
  • Middle schoolers in Durham, North Carolina have noticed some of their peers don't have clean, warm clothes to wear to school. They've created a "clothing closet" at their school, collecting clothes from the community and fellow students, so that students in need can feel confident and focus on their education.

"In a very short period of time, Think It Up is already having a significant impact on classrooms across the country. We're seeing students working together with their teachers to create high-quality, meaningful learning experiences, and the public is contributing to make these experiences realities," said Lisa Paulsen, president and CEO of the Entertainment Industry Foundation.

Think It Up is made possible through the generous support of corporations, foundations and philanthropists. Think It Up major supporters include Staples, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, ExxonMobil and Ashoka's Start Empathy Initiative, as well as founding collaborator, the XQ Institute.

Think It Up has engaged celebrities and education/community influencers to help build excitement about learning and encourage ongoing support for students and teachers. On September 11, 2015, ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC simultaneously broadcasted the live Think It Up one-hour special, which included Kristen Bell, Stephen Colbert, Terry Crews, Scarlett Johansson, Matthew McConaughey, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeremy Renner, Ryan Seacrest, Jessica Williams, Will.i.am and other stars from film, television, sports, music and digital media. 

For more information, visit http://www.thinkitup.org or find Think It Up on Facebook (Facebook.com/ThinkItUp.org), Twitter (@think_it_up) and Instagram (@think_it_up).

About the Entertainment Industry Foundation
The Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), established in 1942, harnesses the collective power of the entire industry to generate awareness and funds for critical health, educational and social issues.  Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), EIF's largest initiative, was established in 2008 by film and media leaders who utilize the industry's resources to engage the public in supporting a new, collaborative model of cancer research, and to increase awareness about cancer prevention as well as progress being made in the fight against the disease. SU2C accelerates research to get new therapies to patients quickly. Since its founding seven years ago, SU2C has launched 16 collaborative "Dream Teams" comprising over 940 scientists from 123 leading institutions around the world. That research, including 151 planned, initiated or completed clinical trials, has led to Food and Drug Administration approval of two new treatments.  In just 15 months, Hunger Is, EIF's collaboration with The Safeway Foundation, has significantly raised awareness of childhood hunger in the United States and over $10 Million to support breakfast, afterschool and out-of-school meal programs.

About Think It Up
Think It Up is an initiative of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, created to bring broad cultural attention to the urgency of improving the learning experience in America. The national education initiative seeks to reframe the public discussion about education, create a culture of excitement about learning everywhere in America and build a sense of optimism about the potential of education in classrooms across the country.

Think It Up invites public middle and high school students to work with their teachers to develop projects that draw on their passions and help pursue their educational goals. Posted on thinkitup.org, in collaboration with DonorsChoose.org, the student-powered, teacher-led projects are crowdfunded by citizen donors. The projects will entail rigorous skill development that prepares American youth for post-high school life, helping pave the way for career success, regardless of the path.

About DonorsChoose.org
Founded in 2000, DonorsChoose.org makes it easy for anyone to help a classroom in need. Teachers at over two thirds of all the public schools in America have created project requests, and nearly 2 million people have donated $380 million to projects that inspire them.  Over 16 million students -- most from low-income communities and many in disaster-stricken areas -- have received books, art supplies, field trips, technology, and other resources that they need to learn. 

Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20151208/294470 

SOURCE Entertainment Industry Foundation