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BUILD Honors Entrepreneur Reid Hoffman at Sold-Out Gala; Jack Dorsey Presents Award

Silicon Valley Executives and Investors Raise Over $1 Million for Nonprofit That Teaches Entrepreneurship to Disadvantaged High School Students (March 27, 2012)

REDWOOD CITY, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 03/27/12 -- On March 23, BUILD, the Silicon Valley-based nonprofit that uses entrepreneurship to engage high school students at risk of dropping out, hosted its second annual gala and after-party at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif. LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman was awarded BUILD's Pitch Prize by last year's recipient, Jack Dorsey, Executive Chairman of Twitter and CEO of Square.

BUILD is a national nonprofit that works in partnership with high schools and businesses to deliver a hands-on, entrepreneurship program to propel disengaged youth from under-resourced communities through high school to college success. The BUILD program is innovative because it helps students start real businesses and is the only program in the country that targets disadvantaged and disengaged students, and takes them to and through college.

Reid Hoffman accepted the Pitch Prize and exhorted the 450 people in the audience to "be the change they want to see in the world" and help those in need: "The real reason I'm honored to be here is because of BUILD students, whose grit and determination is changing their lives."

BUILD's Founder and CEO, Suzanne McKechnie Klahr, affirmed how so many came to make a difference, "Tonight was an amazing outpouring of support from the business community for disadvantaged youth. BUILD knows how to tackle the drop-out crisis, and with business's support, we will be able to help even more students to graduate and pursue higher education."

"There are many college programs available, but BUILD's use of entrepreneurship is unique and compelling. It has a transformational impact that propels students who haven't been given a fair shot with the skills they need to succeed academically as well as professionally," said Jack Dorsey, Executive Chairman of Twitter and CEO of Square. BUILD is the only non-profit Board on which Dorsey sits.

To date, 100% of students completing the BUILD program have graduated high school and been accepted into college. Now in its twelfth year, BUILD has grown to be a $6.4 million organization, currently serving nearly 1,000 high school students in the San Francisco Bay Area, Boston and Washington, DC.

This was the second year that Khosla Ventures served as the event's Presenting Sponsor. Square, LinkedIn, Silicon Valley Bank, Asset Management Group, PLX Technology, and the Albertini Group also supported BUILD through event sponsorship. BUILD's gala has also attracted support from Silicon Valley technology influencers including Marissa Mayer (Vice President of Location and Local Services at Google) and Sean Parker (investor and Board Member of Spotify, Founder and Chairman of Airtime and Founder and Chairman of Facebook Causes).

BUILD's Pitch Prize was named for founding supporters Franklin "Pitch" and Catherine Johnson, original investors in BUILD. The annual award distinguishes an individual or group that embodies the vision, passion and spirit of entrepreneurship that BUILD inspires in its young students.

"Over the years, we have invested in many amazing start-ups and I believe BUILD has been one of our finest. I am very proud that we were seed funders, and we continue to support BUILD's work in education," adds Pitch Johnson.

Founded in 1999, BUILD is a four-year college preparation program whose mission is to use entrepreneurship to excite and propel disengaged, low-income students through high school to college success. By helping students develop and run their own small businesses, BUILD supplements traditional school with real-world business experiences and critical skill-building for the future. BUILD currently serves nearly 1,000 students at 18 high schools in Oakland, the San Francisco peninsula, Boston and Washington, DC. For more information visit:

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