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Chao Family's Impact through the Award for Change

Oct 18, 2010

Harvard hosted its first Asian Harvard Alumni Summit in 2010. The summit’s goal was to bring Asian-American faculty, students, staff and alumni together for a three days of networking, panel discussions and social gatherings. The highlight of the Summit was the Elevate Pitch Competition.

The “elevate pitch” competition showcases aspiring Asian-American entrepreneurs across a wide variety of industries and academic disciplines. Projects can be new startups, artistic works ready for publication, campaigns for social change, or novel technologies waiting for marketing, patenting and/or mass distribution. Semi-finalists appear before a panel of experts via a web conference. The Live Pitch took place during the Asian Harvard Alumni Summit. While the competition is open to teams of individuals, at least one member of the team must be an Asian-American student, teacher, alumnus, or staff of one of the colleges of Harvard University.

James and Ruth Chao

Competitors are eligible to win one of three grand prize awards consisting of a $25,000 cash price, professional support services, such as public relations consulting, and mentoring opportunities with industry leaders. Angela Chao’s gift was made to create The Dr. James S.C. and Mrs. Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Award for Change (read more about Angela here). The winner of this award was Fenugreen.

Fenugreen, founded in 2010, is a grassroots, social action/social change organization that invented and produces biodegradable packaging, infused with organic spices that block the growth of bacteria and fungi. Fenugreen’s “FreshPaper” can double to quadruple the shelf-life of perishable foods, without refrigeration. It is estimated that 1.3b tons of food is lost worldwide due to spoilage, and around 1.6b people live without refrigerators. Fenugreen is doing what it can to help ensure that there is an adequate food supply for families in developing nations, plus also helping farmers increase the produce they can get to market or food banks.

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