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Propeller’s annual graduation benefit honors NOLA’s latest social entrepreneurs.
April 30th, 2015 by: Misty Miloto

No doubt, by now you’re probably familiar with Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation. This locally based nonprofit, which is spearheaded by Morgan Williams and Andrea Chen, helps launch social and environmental ventures in New Orleans. The organization is holding its annual graduation and benefit event, Propeller Pop, on May 20 to honor the impact of Propeller’s latest social entrepreneurs.

In 2006, Williams and Chen helped revive a volunteer-run organization called Social Entrepreneurs of New Orleans in an effort to stimulate New Orleans’ post-Hurricane Katrina progress. That group evolved into Propeller. Its first accelerator program included nine fellows who were working to make a social and environmental impact. Today, more than 80 organizations and 150 people work out of the 10,000-square-foot co-working space on Washington Avenue.

Through the development of sustainable and social innovations, and the engagement of the wider community, Propeller seeks to catalyze change in four sectors of interest: water management; health; education and youth development; and healthy and local food access. “These are all issues that need to be addressed if we are going to build a vibrant, viable and equitable New Orleans,” Chen says.

“Propeller is fun; it’s innovative and fresh; and, most importantly, it’s accessible and open to everybody.”
–Linda Usdin, Propeller Board Chair

Be sure to join in for Propeller Pop, which will honor 15 social ventures in the graduating Accelerator class. The event will feature pop-up chefs
from the likes of Congreso Cubano, Seoul Shack and L’Enfant Terrible; music from DJ Brice Nice; a balloon pop; and a silent auction with prizes from Dinner Lab, NOLA Project, local restaurants, artists and more. “We decided that, rather than have an annual gala, we were interested in creating an event that embodies the spirit of Propeller,” says Propeller Board Chair, Linda Usdin. “Propeller is fun; it’s innovative and fresh; and, most importantly, it’s accessible and open to everybody.” Tickets start at $35, and all proceeds benefit the 2015-2016 Accelerator and Alumni programming.