Why 10 DC startups are raising money for local education programs - Technical.ly DC

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Jan. 15, 2015 8:01 am

Why 10 DC startups are raising money for local education programs

So far, Startup Right has donated more than $2,500 to Martha's Table for early childhood education.

For every account created at Startup Right’s kickoff event, Whyttle donated an additional $5 to Martha’s Table. Forty new accounts brought Friday night’s total to $200.

(Photo by Ashley Nguyen)

When Martin Levine started the social networking site Whyttle two years ago, he knew he wanted the company to have a social impact.

Education, in particular, struck a chord with Levine, who is a product of the D.C. school district. (Levine attended Woodrow Wilson High School.) That’s why he created Startup Right, an early childhood education initiative meant to support the District’s young students.

So far, Levine has recruited 10 startups in the area to join Startup Right. For now, the group’s goal is to raise $5,000 to put toward Martha’s Table’s early child care programs — and they’re already halfway there. They’ve donated more than $2,500 to a cause in need.

“Early childhood education is the hardest thing to get funded,” Izzy Rodes of Martha’s Table said at Startup Right’s kickoff happy hour at General Assembly, a Startup Right partner. “And we believe everyone deserves a healthy start.”

Martha’s Table has provided emergency food services since its inception in 1980, which is what drew Leith Jaber of MunchQuick (which we recently profiled) to partner up with Levine.

Jaber’s food delivery service already donates a meal to Martha’s Table for every order placed through MunchQuick, and supporting the organization further was a no-brainer for the entrepreneur.

Konstantin Zvereff of Improvonia echoed Jaber.

“Ninety percent of our staff has a strong social commitment,” Zvereff said. “Joining this initiative aligns very well with our goals.”

Martin Levine Whyttle

Martin Levine of Whyttle chose to support early childhood education because it’s arguably the most important part of a child’s intellectual development. (Photo by Ashley Nguyen)

Going forward, Levine said he hopes to connect the education and technology fields to solve challenges in schools and learning. His ultimate goal, though, would be to eventually expand.

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“It would be great to create a breadth and depth of engagement in D.C. that would go beyond the area,” Levine said, noting that the organization is still in its infancy.

But for Startup Right partner Daniel Koffman, it’s all about backing local issues.

“I’m a D.C. resident, and I think it’s important for the companies who are transforming the city to support it, too,” Koffman, a business attorney that helps startups form, said.

Want to help? Whyttle is donating an additional $1 to Martha’s Table for each new account created on the free social networking website.

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Ashley Nguyen

Ashley Nguyen is a contributor to Technical.ly DC. She has previously written for Philly.com and works for the International Center for Journalists in D.C. A graduate of Temple University and Pennsylvania native, she believes Turkey Hill ice cream trumps all.

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