By: Sophia Oh | January 23, 2021

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While lost in the streets of New York City, Chloe Trujillo and her friends were escorted to the nearest subway station by a kind-hearted New Yorker experiencing homelessness. This event inspired her to begin her own initiative to give back to her community. Working with teammates Victoria Beundia-Serrano, Phillip Fuhrman, Olivia Wang, and Matthew Moran (Advisor), SustainABLE Start was born – a nonprofit organization that builds and distributes care packages to New York City’s homeless population.

The team entered the Diamond Challenge in 2019 with their social venture. They studied the issues of homelessness, existing solutions, and aspects of running a nonprofit. By earning $1,000 in the preliminary round for starter kits, they were able to develop a business plan and execute their mission. Diamond Challenge mentors aided the team with their social impact model by encouraging them to vary their sources of income, leading to the creation of their Depop store in which 100% of the proceeds go towards hygiene kits. They then advanced to the semi-final and final rounds of the competition. According to their Founding Story, “SustainABLE Start would not be where it is today if they hadn’t entered the pitch competition.”

Today, SustainABLE Start is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that involves over 80 high school students. They have distributed over $300,000 worth of supplies to the homeless, and were featured on an Upper West Side local newspaper, The Spirit. Their initiative has made a huge impact on New York City, and sets an example for what Diamond Challenge participants can do when they see problems in the world and work together to solve them. 

For more information on SustainABLE Start, visit https://sustainablestartny.org/

For more information on the Diamond Challenge, visit http://diamondchallenge.org/.

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