Register Now: 11th Annual UpDayton Summit

new director, new season, new program, new process

There's a whole lot to be excited about with a new director, a new season from spring to fall, a new program and a new crowdsourced connections process during the Summit.

Pre-registration ticket sales are currently available for the 11th annual UpDayton Summit, taking place on Thursday, September 19 at 5:30pm at The Brightside Music & Event Venue (doors open at 5:00pm). The Summit is a launchpad for volunteer-powered community projects that make the Miami Valley a better place to live, work and play. Tickets are $30 and to avoid lines pre-register online.

Historically the Summit has always taken place in the spring, but under the leadership of the newest director, Lauren White, a new program was launched pushing Summit to the fall. The UpDayton Project Incubator takes participants through a series of workshops to help define a project, create a plan, and tell a story to maximize volunteer power and resources. Eight project ideas were selected from 19 applications.

These project leaders will pitch to over 300 of Dayton’s most creative leaders and catalysts at the UpDayton Summit. The event audience will vote to select which two projects will each receive $1,500 in seed money and the support of UpDayton resources for one year.

This year’s Summit audience will know exactly how they can contribute to each of the projects through a new crowdsourced connections process which is a sheet of paper with the top five needs of each project listed. They simply check the box where they can add value and someone from the project team will follow up with them after the event.

“Attending the Summit is one of the most impactful ways for Daytonians to get involved in their city,” says Lauren White, UpDayton’s Executive Director. “I am excited about the new program and crowdsourced connections process because these projects are committed to continuing regardless of winning and attendees will now have a clear understanding of how to get involved in each project.”

UpDayton Project Incubator’s Inaugural Cohort & 2019 Summit Project Pitches:

Femme Aid Collaborative -- Ryann Mescher & Zoe Waller
Femme Aid Collaborative provides monthly menstrual hygiene products to those in need in our community. Period poverty isn’t just Femme Aid Collaborative’s problem to solve, it’s our communities. The Ambassador Program enables everyone to get involved in the mission to end period poverty in our community. Our goal is to recruit and train 10 Ambassadors to extend our reach and continue to remain 100% charitable.

Dayton Fibershed -- Namita Patel
Wear clothing ‘Grown + Made in Dayton’. Dayton Fibershed brings together farmers and artisans to make textiles and clothing using local fiber, local dyes, and local labor. This project expands Dayton’s fiber farming (flax, wool, alpaca etc) and natural dye sources (flowers, edible plants, foraged ‘weeds’). This project makes these materials available to local spinners, knitters, weavers and designers to create garments. This project will form a clothing design co-operative and build a fiber mill in Dayton.

Gem City SoberBar -- Kristen Domke
Social and even business activities often revolve around alcohol. Gem City SoberBar is a welcoming and safe environment for those in recovery and an alternative option for the Dayton community to come together. Enjoy a series of pop-up sober bar events including mocktails and music with the long-term goal of a permanent location and a variety of programmed activities.

The Climate Science Roadshow -- Karen Jeffers-Tracy
The Climate Science Roadshow presenting hands-on, feet-on, participatory community events, where non-scientists, creative and kinesthetic learners gain a fuller understanding of the key concepts of climate science. With this knowledge they'll be able to identify and support positive solutions while playing a vital role in accomplishing the great work to be done.

Baldwin Café-- Leroy Bean
Baldwin Cafe serves the community in a holistic way as a third space between work, school and home. The black-owned bookstore is as a common meeting place with new and used books, African American Literature, and a cafe with tea, vegan and vegetarian options.

Helping Young People Escape Drugs: H.y.p.e.d. -- Logan Rowland
Hyped uses skateboarding as a community building and educational tool to foster dialogue about the problem of opioids in our communities. We teach young people to skate as a method of drug prevention and help existing skaters share their stories. We hope to connect young people across school districts in the Miami Valley with peers and mentors through after school and weekend skate programs to build a healthier future for our youth.

Participatory Defense -- Amanda Davis & Carla Maragaño
Participatory Defense is a community organizing model for people facing charges, their families, and their communities to impact the outcome of cases and transform the landscape of power in the court system. Trained volunteers and facilitators give participants a deeper understanding of the justice process, what is expected from them at each stage, and assist them in preparing for meetings with their attorney, court dates, and other steps of the process.

GroupChatTV -- Courtney Jarrett & Ishmael McKinney
A safe place to exchange perspectives and healthy dialogue around various social issues and dynamics is imperative to building strong communities. This online web show gives a voice to young people, breaks down the barriers that separate us and creates awareness of resources contributing to the betterment of society.


Thank you to our presenting sponsors: Montgomery County, Southwestern Ohio Council for Higher Education (SOCHE) & Synchrony.

About UpDayton
UpDayton is a 501(c)(3) impact organization empowering Daytonians to create the kind of community they and their peers around the world want to live, work and play in. Formoreinformation,visitu

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:

2019 incubator cohort.jpg
  • 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

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 or

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  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.