PRESS RELEASE: Adopt-A-Class Founder Patty Alper will be honored at the Dare to Dream DC Gala tonight! — April 28

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Called a “Teen Angel” by the NFTE students who have been taken under her wing, the CEO of the Alper Portfolio Group has given money, and more importantly her time, to the nonprofit that has provided entrepreneurial education to more than 21,000 low-income students in the region

Washington, DC, April 26, 2010 — On Wednesday, April 28, the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (dc.nfte.com) will honor Bethesda businesswoman and philanthropist Patty Alper at its 13th annual Dare to Dream DC Gala, which is being held from 6-10 p.m. at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in DC (www.daretodreamdc.org).

In 1998, Alper gave $10,000 as seed capital for 200 students in the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship-Greater Washington to launch their companies. More importantly, she has given her time.

“My work with the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship-Greater Washington began with my giving seed money to low-income students in the program that would launch them into business,” says Alper who, in addition to running her real estate and marketing firm in Bethesda, is the vice president and secretary of the Alper Family Foundation.

“In Jewish theology, this concept is based on the theory of 12th century philosopher Maimonides who believed that the highest degree of charity is that of a person who assists a poor man by providing him a gift or loan, by accepting him in a business partnership, or by helping him find employment. That is what I have been trying to do through my Adopt-A-Class program.”

Alper issues a challenge to all Greater Washington business leaders

“I wasn’t a great student when I was in high school (at Woodrow Wilson),” she explains. “It wasn’t until I was thrown into a business environment that I went for the A-plus.”

Alper knows many other students, especially those in the inner city, that feel the same way. So she launched her Adopt-A-Class program which invites business leaders into a classroom in an underprivileged school to speak about their real-world challenges and work with the students one-on-one.

“I knew that their street knowledge, the ‘been there, done that’ stories of struggle in their businesses would resonate for the students who were learning from a textbook, and that it would also enhance what the teacher was accomplishing in the classroom,” Alper shares. “We now have dozens of entrepreneurs going into the classroom, and consistently our students are winning the annual business plan competitions because they are working with professionals who know what it takes to succeed in business. It doesn’t get better than that.”

Alper wants even more business leaders to participate in the program, and has issued a challenge for 2011.

“I challenge everyone in the business community to do what I’m doing and make a difference in a high school student’s life,” she says. “The return on investment will be dramatic — and will come quickly because within one semester you’ll see the impact you make.”

Honoring a woman who area teens call their “entrepreneurial angel”

“I cannot tell you how special and important Patty Alper is to the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship-Greater Washington,” says executive director Julie Kantor, author of “I Said Yes!”, a book featuring the real life stories of students, teachers, and leaders who have made a difference in the program since 1987. “Her Adopt-A-Class program is being talked about all over the country and abroad and has raised close to $1 million since its inception.”

Kantor adds: “Thanks to Patty’s passion for the program, and insight into what makes a business work, she is responsible for helping me take the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship to the next level.”

Other honored guests at the 2010 Dare to Dream DC Gala

Also being honored at the gala is Michael Chasen, CEO of Blackboard Inc., and the U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. The keynote speaker will be Chris Gardner, the self-made millionaire, entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and philanthropist who, during the early 1980s, struggled with homelessness while raising his toddler son, Christopher, Jr. Gardner’s book of memoirs, “The Pursuit of Happyness,” was published in May 2006 and later that year became an internationally acclaimed motion picture starring Will Smith.

The stars of the evening are, of course, the students — including Jada Nicome of Northwestern High School, who won NFTE’s 2010 Global Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for her company, K-9 Couture, and six other students who won the 2010 NFTE-Greater Washington Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for the companies they created:

  • Kyle Calavetinos, Parkdale High School: C-6
  • Nina Maniphak, Garfield High School: Plum Porcupine Photography
  • Justin Mitchell, Bladensburg High School: Akketie
  • Kenneth Peters Jr., Duke Ellington School of the Arts High School: KenE’s Production
  • Andre Robinson, Garfield High School: Klassic Kernels
  • Jasmine Pearl Taylor, Woodrow Wilson Senior High School: Pearl’s Bakery

Teacher honorees for 2010 include:

  • National NFTE Teacher of the Year: Mary Ellen McCormick, TC Williams High School
  • NFTE-Greater Washington Regional Teacher of the Year: Beverly Jackson, Northwestern High School
  • NFTE-Greater Washington Rookie Teacher of the Year: Emily Heuber, Columbia Heights Education Center, Bell Multicultural Senior High School

About the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship-Greater Washington

Since 1987, the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (dc.nfte.com) has provided entrepreneurial education programs to more than 280,000 youths in 21 states and 12 countries. Its mission is to work with young people from low-income communities to show them that entrepreneurship is a pathway to prosperity.

The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship-Greater Washington is currently working with 800 students in 17 schools, and since 1994 has served more than 21,000 students in the region.

For more information about the program and the annual business plan competition, contact Julie Kantor, executive director of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship-Greater Washington, at Julie.Kantor@nfte.com..

To buy tickets for Wednesday’s Dare to Dream Gala, visit www.daretodreamdc.org.

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