Millennial Trains Project

Peter Sims, left, and Patrick Dowd address the crowd at the Millennial Trains Project fundraiser Thursday.
Peter Sims, left, and Pat Dowd address the crowd at the Millennial Trains Project fundraiser Thursday.

Millennials are notorious for putting their own spin on traditional institutions, and philanthropy is no exception. The Millennial Trains Project, a nonprofit that organizes transcontinental train trips to support and develop innovative projects across the country, invited a group of D.C. young professionals to Veracruz Gallery Thursday evening for an event that was equal parts information session, fundraiser and party.

MTP’s inaugural trip departs from D.C. in August and will visit 10 cities in 10 days, ending in San Francisco. Participants will travel by night; they will stop each day in a new place, according to MTP’s website, “to explore local examples of innovation and advance a project of their design that benefits, serves and inspires others.” Participants can apply to work on projects that match their skills and interests, so they can get the most out of their journeys.

MTP will have a wide range of talents to choose from, if the guests at the event were any indication. Attendees had worked on political campaigns and published their own magazines; there were writers, artists and ballerinas mingling with business majors and engineers. And, although they bandied about terms such as “social entrepreneur” and “innovation,” they all seemed passionate and genuinely excited to be there.

“We are celebrating this movement of new, fresh ideas,” said founder Pat Dowd during a brief speech.

The event was co-sponsored by BLK SHP, a San Francisco—based agency that helps large companies become innovative again. Peter Sims, BLK SHP’s founder, said the group would work with MTP to organize salons to further promote an exchange of ideas.

Since this was also a party, guests could purchase cheap drinks from the bar and order from the El Floridano food truck parked outside. Blues guitarist Jonny Graves performed as well.

Be sure to check out the Millennial Trains Project. Also, if you get a chance, head over to Veracruz gallery. It’s both a modern art gallery and a bar, a combination any generation can enjoy.

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