The Miami Springs-based nonprofit Bots For All won the 2015 Philanthropy Miami Shark Tank, taking home the $5,000 grand prize.
The organization impressed the judges with its plan to expand its robotics clubs, now in two schools and one community center, to more public schools and communities in Miami-Dade County. Shark Tank judge and Brickell Motors president and CEO Mario Murgado matched the $5,000 prize, allowing the Bots For All to expand further than initially planned.
“We are extremely happy to receive this honor and super excited about Miami’s future,” said Rob Gordon, founder of Bots For All. “Winning the confidence of the Sharks inspires us to reach out to more schools and communities in the effort to bring out the natural creativity and brilliance of Miami’s youth.” Bots For All faced three teams in the final round of the Philanthropy Miami Shark Tank competition, presented by Leave A Legacy of Miami-Dade (www.leavealegacymiami. org).
This year’s Shark Tank judges were: Maria C. Alonso, Bank of America; Sheldon Anderson, The Beacon Council; Matt Haggman; Knight Foundation; Penny Shaffer, Florida Blue, and Murgado.
Last year, Disability Independence Group teamed up with the University of Miami and Coral Gables Police to win the first Philanthropy Miami Shark Tank. The three organizations developed ID cards and a training video to educate emergency responders about people with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
The 2015 Shark Tank competition was part of Philanthropy Day, a day-long summit of community leaders and philanthropists showcasing innovative solutions to social problems and the latest trends and tools in fundraising.
This year philanthropic and community leaders focused on learning from social entrepreneurs, forging partnerships between nonprofits and for-profits, and framing critical issues to gain media attention and garner supporters when they met on Mar. 5 at Jungle Island, 1111 Parrot Jungle Trail.
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation president Alberto Ibargüen gave the keynote address, detailing how philanthropy for his organization is focused on making social investments in communities.
“In social investing you want a return. You’re an investor. It’s a very businesslike approach,”Ibargüen said. “I’m looking for some sort of the result. We are talking about impact in communities and investing in communities and to make communities better and make communities more inclusive.”