Tag Archives: competition

Sherri Ross Walters named a runner-up for 92Y Genius competition

walters headshotBirmingham, AL resident Sherri Ross Walters recently learned she was the only non-New York City resident among four winners to place in the 92nd Street Y’s Genius Start-Up Competition. She was among the 50+ that entered the contest, organized as part of the organization’s  7 Days of Genius festival.

Walters learned of the competition via a friend on Facebook sharing the link to an article from Inc. publicizing it in February. Her entry involved developing a citywide resource “to help the homeless find information in real time.” Information accessible would potentially include identifying which area shelters are open, available beds, and where meals will be served. All of this would be available to users via a small box mounted on bus stop poles. How she came up with the concept is indicative of the passion she’s shown to other efforts in the city in recent years, including the Birmingham Girls Club and Birmingham Dance Walk.

“I chatted with a sweet homeless man named Dave at a restaurant one day after buying him lunch,” said Walters via an email exchange earlier today. “He described having to get to the shelters early to get a place in line for a bed that evening. That really spoke to me.”

The area’s recent winter storms also had an impact on the development of the idea. “As our community was posting away on Facebook offering up shelter, baby items, medications, food, and the like, I knew that a lot of homeless people would never see that information,” she said.

“I love what our city does by opening Boutwell (like this) for them in extreme weather circumstances along with the amazing work our shelters and various groups do, but I wondered about the other nights of the year, along with what Dave told me,” she continued. “How many hours do they spend in line at a shelter and do they always get a bed? What if there were a fast, easy way for them to get the information they needed before trekking across down only to find out the shelter is full. Or that an organization that normally serves meals has run out of food for the evening. We have so many wonderful groups in our community that offer help – I wanted to create one place where the homeless could get that information.”

Walters finished as second runner-up in the competition, securing a pass to the 92Y Spring 2014 Talks Season Pass. She is currently investigating ways to move forward with the project locally, including pursuing conversations with city officials to determine feasibility, and the homeless community to “help pinpoint the greatest needs for the first phase.” She is also hoping to work with others to “develop a prototype and plan, including entrepreneurial friends to discuss business plan and funding and engineers to talk about the application once needs are determined.”

She points out, according to the website OneRoof, that Birmingham has nearly 1,500 people on any given night who experience homelessness. Walters thinks her idea can make a difference. “I am hoping that with this new communication system, they can find the resources they need to spend a safe night indoors, as well as get food, toiletries, and the help they need. I also envision this being a tool they can use to help each other by staying in touch, finding lost friends, and reporting emergencies if needed,” she said.

According to the competition’s webpage, “The entries were judged by 92Y, Cornell Tech and venture capital firm RRE Ventures on the ideas’ innovation, potential impact and implementation plan.” The winners were announced at the Genius of the Start-Up event held on Monday, March 3. The series of events continues through March 10 and can be watched via live stream on the 92Y’s website or follow the Twitter hashtag #thatsgenius.

Do you want to Occupy Avondale?

Occupy-AvondaleJust when you thought the Occupy meme was going to fade away in 2012, Avondale Brewing Company is inviting folks to join them in their invasion of 41st Street South (a.k.a. the Avondale commercial business district served by Main Street Birmingham).

Occupy Avondale is an opportunity for a new or existing business to move in directly across the street from the brewery – and including six months free rent in the completely renovated space located at 200 41st St. S. The winner will be chosen from five finalists and occupy either 1,800 or 2,400 square feet of space on the ground floor of the building.

Folks interested in the opportunity may apply using the Google docs form through January 31. The winner is scheduled to be announced at an event at the brewery in March.

A recent entry on MSB’s on-site blog goes over some of the criteria being considered among the judges. You also probably wouldn’t want to enter without looking over the contest rules (it’s a PDF).

By the way – if you want to learn a little bit more about memes, check out this site (don’t worry, it’s taking part in today’s blackout too).

Birmingham man wins custom-wrapped Nissan Juke

Brooks interviewed about winning Juke. acnatta/FlickrDon’t be surprised if you notice a pair of eyes staring back at you as you’re trying to pass a certain Nissan Juke on the road on the left in the coming weeks and months here in Birmingham, AL.

Earlier today Hugh Brooks walked into the Jim Burke Nissan dealership (a member of the Jim Burke Automotive Group) in downtown Birmingham and drove out with his very own custom-wrapped Nissan Juke – his grand prize for winning the car company’s Juke Studio competition held online over a six-week period. His design was chosen from 18 finalists after 7,800 initially entered the competition and campaigned for votes via Facebook (and the official fan page for the car).

Just in case you’re wondering, it’s actually painted Cayenne Red under that full body wrap…

Photo: Brooks interviewed about winning Juke. acnatta/Flickr

Prize2TheFuture finalists announced, 9 from metro area

Prize2TheFuture logoThe Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham has announced the ten (10) finalists in their first ever Prize2TheFuture idea competition this evening. The online “community workshop” drew more than 1,100 entries from across the United States and 38 other countries, with the results below reached by a group of 38 judges headed up by lead Railroad Park designer Tom Leader.

The following is a list of the finalists as provided by CFGB; details for each are available by clicking here or on each title:

The Bazaar at Railroad Park, Jill Ceitlin, Washington, D.C. Inspired by the Terminal Station, The Bazaar description includes shops and restaurants featuring products that represent the best of the South, as well as a center for learning, using technology to explore the rich history of the Magic City.

Magic City Station, Grant Gramstad, team leader, with Dave Smith and Larry Hudson, Birmingham, Alabaster and Trussville. A three-part concept includes a space for shopping and dining that evokes images of railroad history, an entertainment venue using the curved ceiling as a screen and an environmentally responsible energy production system.

The Magic Wheel, Mandy Lamb Meredith, team leader, with Sharon Colgin and Anne-Laura Cook, Birmingham. A permanent custom Ferris Wheel serves as a visible landmark, surrounded by rail-car restaurants, art installations and bike-walking path leading from Railroad Park to Sloss Furnaces.

One Birmingham Place, Colin Coyne, Birmingham. Subtitled “an eight-part celebration of community and social re-engagement,” this multi-use facility has eight detailed sections, including a computer lab, performance venue, outdoor projection wall, café and “HUB” for collaboration between community organizations.

Parkside Market, John Gill, Birmingham. Inspired by traditional Parisian street markets, this proposal calls for a full-time, year-round facility including locally-owned and operated stores and cafes and featuring locally-grown foods and goods.

sPark: A Social Good Park & Project, Robert Thuston, team leader, with Richard Pigford Sr., Jay Pigford, Sean Palmer and Sarah Louise Smith, Birmingham and Clay. A social entrepreneurship program includes selection of participants for a one-year fellowship program that allows them to collaborate on ideas in a center that provides space for living and working and, at the end, to find funding for their ideas.

Stacks and Tracks, Joel Blackstock, team leader, with Stephen Allen, HB Brantley, Mark Elgin and Joel Eliason, Birmingham. A Ferris Wheel, water feature and light show highlight this idea, which also includes a residential/hotel component, retail/restaurant space, parking deck and pedestrian promenade along Powell Avenue.

The Station, James Ponseti, team leader, with Anthony Smith, Homewood. Year-round farmer and merchant’s market features interactive fountain and amphitheatre, linked around a railroad theme, with pedestrian-friendly access across 18th Street and heritage trail along paths linking Railroad Park and the Sloss Corridor.

THE STATION, Carol Misner, team leader, with Cherri Pitts, Birmingham. All-season marketplace, featuring local growers, artisans, chefs and musicians, an underground parking garage and outdoor amphitheater, features a “green” roof with landscaped walkway and seating, linked to Railroad Park by a bridge.

The Stockyard, Josh Westerhold, Birmingham. A public open-air plaza uses stackable re-purposed shipping containers and rail cars to shape a path leading from Railroad Park toward Sloss Furnaces and to provide seasonal space leases for food, arts, entertainment and offices.

The winner of the competition, and $50,000, will be announced at a public event on May 5 at the Alabama Theatre.

Community Foundation launches Prize2TheFuture

If you’ve been online at all today, you’ve probably seen a great deal of buzz about last night’s Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham announcement – the one that introduced Prize2TheFuture to the metro region. It was also the basis of yesterday’s editorial piece on The Terminal.

We figured we’d share some highlights from remarks made during the announcement.

The idea competition is open to everybody (as in international) and is focused on the city block directly to the east of the current phase of Railroad Park and south of the Alabama Power steam plant scheduled to close in 2012.

The website has specific information about the competition and its prize, $50,000; Prize2TheFuture also has digital outposts on Twitter and Facebook.

BTW – if you’re on Twitter, the official hashtag for the competition is #p2tf.

Pro mountain bikers come for South’s finest

picture-1Believe it or not Birmingham is a bicycle-racing town.  If you need proof consider this weekend’s Bump N’ Grind mountain bike race.  Presented by Birmingham Urban Mountain Pedalers (B.U.M.P.), this year’s event marks the fifteenth year that the single track at Oak Mountain State Park has challenged pro and amateur racers from around the country.  This race is arguably the best mountain bike race in the South (as well as the largest), so if you we’re planning a bike ride this weekend Oak Mountain is the place to be. Not only will you get to enjoy the park but you’ll have the treat of catching a glimpse of pro mountain bikers as they rail across the park and through the trails.

Volunteers are needed, details here.

Logo: Courtesy of official website