UpDayton Project Incubator’s Inaugural Cohort

Hear Project Pitches at the UpDayton Annual Summit September 19, 2019

In January, UpDayton launched their newest program, the UpDayton Project Incubator with tailored workshops designed for young leaders to transform community project ideas into action. With 19 submissions, eight projects were selected to pitch at the UpDayton Summit on September 19, 2019 at The Brightside Music and Event Venue (905 E 3rd St, Dayton, OH 45402).

“This is one of the most inspiring events of the year that will get you excited about shaping the future of Dayton,” said Executive Director, Lauren White. “Project leaders and the audience will have an opportunity to connect skills with needs, coming together for something greater than themselves.”

The inaugural cohort of the UpDayton Project Incubator and 2019 Summit Pitches:

  • Baldwin Café, Leroy Bean

  • Dayton Fibershed, Namita Patel

  • Femme Aid Collaborative, Ryann Mescher

  • Helping Young People Escape Drugs: H.y.p.e.d., Zachary Sanford

  • Participatory Defense, Amanda Davis

  • The Great Dayton Climate Science Roadshow, Karen Jeffers-Tracy

  • The GroupChat, Courtney Jarrett

  • The House, Kristen Domke

Project teams will begin their workshop series on June 11 to prep for their pitches at the annual UpDayton Summit. Save the date to learn more about these innovative changemakers and their visions for our community. September 19, 2019 at The Brightside from 5:30 - 8:30 PM with after party to follow. Early bird $20 tickets can be purchased online now at https://updayton.org/summit-tickets

About the Summit
The annual UpDayton Summit is a launchpad for volunteer-powered community projects. At the event, over 300 participants vote to decide which project pitches will receive seed money. Examples of past winning projects include The Longest Table event, the #DaytonInspires campaign and mural, purchasing and installing 70 bike racks in business districts and neighborhoods in the Dayton community, and many others.

About UpDayton
UpDayton is a 501(c)(3) impact organization dedicated to attracting, engaging, and retaining young talent in the Dayton region. The organization’s efforts inspire and empower young Daytonians to create the kind of community they and their peers around the world want to live, work and play in.

For more information, visit updayton.org or facebook.com/updayton.

A Reflection on the Past. A Move Toward the Future.

As we approach the halfway point of 2018, we’d like to take a moment to reflect on our first 10 years as an organization and lay the groundwork for the path that we’ll take for the next 10.

10 UpDayton Summits. Three election forums. More than 10 Longest Table meals. More volunteer hours than we can count and thousands of Daytonians engaged in civic and community building experiences. This is UpDayton and will continue to be from the midpoint of 2018 and beyond.

At the core of our organization is people. The people that have had a lasting impact on our organization and our city. This is something that we’re extremely proud of. We’re also excited about the people that we’ve yet to engage. We’re excited about the work they’ll do and the impact that they’ll leave on Dayton. This is our legacy now and will be our legacy in the future.

As we look towards the next 10 years, we look towards a transition for our organization. Our executive director, A.J. Ferguson, will be stepping aside from his duties and taking a role with the Downtown Dayton Partnership as the Economic Development Project Manager. This is an exceptional opportunity for A.J. to take the work he has done for UpDayton and apply it in a different way to help propel the city further. While our hearts may be heavy, we’re extremely excited for A.J. and this next step in his journey. The work that A.J. has done is a testament to his character and his love for Dayton. We wish him the best of luck and we look forward to watching all of his successes. While we could say many things about A.J. and his time at UpDayton, we thought it best to leave you with A.J. reflecting in his own words.

While transitions can be challenging, they are also filled with opportunities. A.J. walks away from UpDayton, leaving us in a strong position to redefine our future. We are taking this time to lay out the road map for the next executive director that will lead UpDayton to even greater achievement and impact. In the meantime, our board is stepping up to fill any of the gaps.  If you need anything in the interim, please email Team@UpDayton.org.  One of our board members will get back to you. Stay tuned for updates as we take these next steps towards our future, but know that UpDayton’s work keeps on. We have new projects kicking off this week. The YES Team has been launched. Our committees are working harder than ever and we are planning an incredible celebration for our 10th year. Thank you for your support as we work to take this next step forward.

UpDayton Projects of the Past - The Longest Table and Project Rebound


Written by Project Lead Bryan Stewart

Three years ago, I took off from work an hour early and walked into a room full of strangers. I left with lifelong friends.

I’ll try to keep it brief but I can talk for days about the value of UpDayton and getting young people together in a space like the UpDayton Summit. I truly believe UpDayton is one of our community’s most potent ways of improving and strengthening Dayton.


The Longest Table Dayton project was more than a pitch on a stage some spring night, it became a community movement led by Dayton’s young people. Each year we have built it better and more inclusive.

Last year, I had the privilege of pitching an initiative called Project Rebound. Nearly a year later, and we’ve connected with youth from all over the city. We’ve partnered with all sorts of organizations and we’re getting closer and closer to tricking out a basketball court in West Dayton.

I get it, connecting with others can be hard. It can be even more difficult when you’re tackling the early steps of your career or you’re new to a Midwest city. UpDayton, and more specifically, the UpDayton Summit, holds a special place in my heart and I encourage anyone who wants to be a part of something bigger than themselves to head over to the Dayton Art Institute on April 26th.