EAST 2014 and Beyond

Matt DozierPres./CEO - EAST Initiative

Matt Dozier
Pres./CEO – EAST Initiative

It’s the season when traditionally all the media and online outlets look back and assess the “year in review.” I’ve done it myself on this very blog before. And, to be fair 2014 was a good one for EAST.

We were named a finalist for Nonprofit of the year in our home state of Arkansas, we added 17 new programs; we got tons of great press, and we saw EAST students and alumni achieve at incredible levels.

This year, EAST students launched projects into space and lost projects in Kentucky. They became models of urban agriculture and 10480086_10153286979733438_399747737882768128_oproved to have provided incalculable service in the face of terrible disasters. EAST
students keynoted to an audience of over 15,000. 2014 was the year that an elementary program took home the Founders Award. It was also the year that we formalized a partnership to move the EAST model into a community center setting.

To quote the late, great Francis Albert Sinatra, it was “a very good year.”

But 2014 pales in comparison to what we expect for 2015 and that’s what I really want to talk about. Not what’s behind us but what is in front of us.

For starters, 2015 will open with the Initiative in a new role, that of landowner. We will start the year right in our brand new training facility and the staff is beyond excited. This new facility will boast some of the most exciting training in the country and will do so in spaces designed specifically for that training.

We look forward to continuing the growth of our training offerings. In the months to come look for some new trainings to be announced that will focus on the continuing professional development needs of our facilitators.

We look forward to our annual conference where we are lining up incredible speakers and trainers (and preparing for an even more incredible turnout–217 schools so far).9e73d8f11fb0196e4cec9d82a110c158

We look forward to new programs and other new opportunities that we haven’t even found yet (we’re sending Mr. Jerry Prince to CES in a week to go find the next big things in technology).

We look forward to working with people and organizations that share our passion for providing students the opportunity to combine technology and purpose in ways that benefit the students learning and their communities. In a world that is increasingly asking for opportunities for students to get real world experience in technologies like coding and GIS, EAST stands as a proven model with a strong network and track record.

Speaking of track record, 2015 has me excited because come August EAST will reach a milestone that seems almost inconceivable (if that word means what I think it means). This August, our “big idea” fueled by passionate educators and eager students will turn 20. That’s two decades of helping to build students and communities. It hardly seems possible.

So we’ll look back later. Right now we’re boldly stepping into the future. I can’t wait to see you there.

Until next time, I’m Matt and that’s that.



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