And The Winner Is .....

Well it turns out that I did win a lunch with Jerry Yang in the Donor’s Choose Bloggers Challenge. You all raised $18,538 in 92 separate gifts impacting 2,549 students. We beat out Engadget, TechCrunch, All Things D, and many others. Thank you for your generosity.

As I promised, I am giving my lunch with Jerry Yang away. I received 17 requests for the lunch. All of them were amazing. It was a very difficult choice, but in the end I went with the obvious option. I am giving the lunch to someone who in turn is giving away the lunch. There were four of those people among the 17 requests.

After a lot of deliberation, I selected Steli Efti, who said the following:

The reason I want to
get the seat at lunch is to give it to someone else.
If you choose me, I will find the right kid in an underprivileged school who
really benefit from an inspiring and life-changing experience like meeting with
Jerry Yang.

I asked Steli how he would select the "right kid". He said:

I will organize 2
school workshops in Oakland about
"using tech to reach your goals in life" and let the kids who are
inspired to go to lunch with Jerry Yang write a one page essay about
how their life would change if they had a chance to meet the founder of
Yahoo. Then I would pick one of them.

Two weeks later, Steli sent me the following email:

Hope you’re doing
great. Since we had the email exchange about my idea
to give the seat at lunch with Jerry Yang to a kid alot of good things have

I decided to do something regardless of the outcome at the Blogger Challenge
and  connected with an great organization called
which is helping entrepreneurs to mentor and coach San Francisco’s
Undeserved, Inner-City Youth.

I’m going to give a seminar about technology and entrepreneurship to the kids
and I want to thank you for being the stimulator and inspiration for this to me. I sold everything I
had 6 months ago coming from Greece and bought a one-way ticket to San Francisco. I was telling myself the lie that
I’m too busy right now starting a company to devote some of my time to help kids – I’m glad I read
your post, donated some money and now ended up connecting with some great people to do make some positive work
I still hope you win the Blogger Challenge and decide to give me the
opportunity of giving a kid a great once-in-a-lifetime chance.

This is what Donor’s Choose is all about. Helping kids get the opportunity we all got. Thanks Steli for being an inspiration to me and hopefully to everyone who reads this blog.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. Nate Westheimer

    That’s really awesome. We need a pathway for NYC techies to help kids understand technology.

  2. Micah Baldwin

    In all my years of raising philanthropic dollars, I was always inspired by the people who realized that their gift of time or money could be a catalyst for real change. The whole pay it forward concept is when true philanthropy flourishes. I look forward to the day that I read about the kid Steli gives the lunch to helping out someone else.Congrats to you Fred, and you Steli, but mostly to the person that Steli’s chosen kid helps out one day.

  3. ppearlman

    awesome! well played….

  4. Paul Stamatiou

    Congrats Steli! I had the pleasure of meeting up with Steli over the summer in SF and he is definitely passionate about what he does and his ideas.

  5. obscurelyfamous

    This is awesome. Congrats Fred, Steli, and the rest of the A VC crew.

    1. charlie crystle

      “pay it forward” — that is absolutely the right spirit!

  6. Steli

    I don’t know what to say. Thanks sooo much to Fred, Yahoo, DonorsChoose and!!! I am really speechless! It’s exciting and inspiring that we’ll give the chance to meet Jerry Yang to a kid! I’ll keep you all up to date about what happened!!!

  7. Alex Miller

    I’m guessing “undeserved youth” should really be “underserved youth”?

  8. bijan

    Congratulations. Inspirational all around.

  9. Antman

    this is frickin awesome. I have worked with kids who have had it tough, from being a big brother, (he is now 26, I got him when he was 13) ok, yeah I’m getting old, to working with the Urban League, etc. I have always found that technology as we know it from web 1.0 to 2.0, blogging to twitter, is a world miles away from many of these kids. Opportunities like this will act as a conduit to a world filled with opportunity and optimism. So I say again, FRICKIN AWESOME! I am grinnin’ from ear to ear! Ya gotta promise to keep us updated. Promise? Great work, Fred. Great work, Steli! Thanks!

  10. sippey

    This is very very cool — nice work, Steli & Fred!

  11. Hector Jarquin

    Hey! way to go Steli and Fred, much power to both of you, keep inspiring and reaching far!

  12. anonny

    what a sappy afterschool special

    1. fredwilson

      Typical anonymous comment and commenterTake your crappy attititude somewhere else pleaseFred

      1. Dick Costolo

        I think “anonny”, has the added value of being the lamest possible variant of ‘anonymous’ one could imagine.

  13. Pierre Bradshaw

    Wow! That’s fantastic! I’m really touched by this. I grew up on the rough streets of Chicago many years ago. When I was 13 a teacher of mine who’s name I will never forget, Ms. Hemphill, arranged a meeting for me with a friend of hers at a local radio station. That chance meeting turned into a job that summer. From that simple meeting I discovered a whole new world of opportunity I never would have otherwise known about.5 years later at 18, with a lot of determination, hard work and some excellent mentors I became the youngest manager (MD) in history at a major New York radio station. The #1 media market in the world AT 18! People usually work for half of their lives to get that opportunity. It was a major blessing for me. That became a stepping stone for many more amazing opportunities to come for me AND many other people to whom I have been able to pay that favor forward along the way.All of it came from someone taking the time to open my world view. It only took ONE PHONE CALL from her to change my life.Most of the readers of this blog are in the position to completely change lives just by donating their time and thoughts. I hope everyone takes a minute to think about the things they can do to change a life. Simple things can make a difference. It’s not about money. 30 minutes of your time can make all the difference in the world to a kid.Fred, you have been on a roll this year with USV’s portfolio picks but I want you to know that this has impressed me even more than them.Kudos to you, kudos to Steli Efti, and now kudos to Jerry who will hopefully inspire a bunch of kids from Oakland to do bigger and better things with their lives!

    1. fredwilson

      Thanks pierreThat’s a great story you told. Its got me fired up for the dayFred

  14. gregg

    that’s really fantastic –

  15. greenskeptic

    Congratulations! And what a great idea to give the lunch with Jerry Yang away to someone who will give it away! I’m looking forward to hearing about the impact of my contribution to “An Invite to Write,” which I may never have heard of if not for your challenge.

  16. Jared

    Nice job Steli!

  17. Ruth

    I’m very impressed, really a great story. Much power to you!

  18. Liz Strauss

    Perfect choice!!! You go, Steli!