IGNITE was formed in 2004 as a way to bring young professionals together for networking, educational opportunities and public service.
IGNITE began gathering young professionals at IGnight events — social gatherings that allowed time to mingle, network and visit various establishments in the community. The tradition continues today.
IGNITE hosted educational opportunities for young professionals, including YP101, which offered talks on home buying, stress reduction, design, local government, retirement planning and networking.
From its inception, IGNITE found a supporter in Chamber Director Terri Bridenbecker, who saw young professionals as vitally important to the future. Following her unexpected passing in 2009, her family asked that donations be made to IGNITE to help fund future initiatives.
IGNITE concentrated on the community and growth, turning its attention to advocacy, volunteerism and raising its profile in the community. A new logo and mission statement were created to match IGNITE’s new focus.
Recognizing the importance of young professionals in the community, IGNITE pushed for representation on community boards and government, notably earning a spot on the Auburn city manager search committee.
IGNITE made a difference through volunteerism, holding supply drives, serving dinner at Chapel House, volunteering at Relay for Life, holding a fundraiser for Matthew House, participating in the Y-Pals program and more.
For the first time, paid memberships offered a revenue stream that provided seed money for IGNITE initiatives. Card-carrying members enjoy discounts at local businesses throughout the community.
10 years later…
Today, IGNITE maintains many of the ideals it’s become known for over the past 10 years: service to the community, advocacy for young professionals and supporting the local economy. IGNITE reaches more people than ever through partnerships, special events and more.
IGNITE the Winter
In 2012, IGNITE the Winter was born. A community event spearheaded by IGNITE, the festival includes a chili and chowder cookoff, live music, ice sculpture demonstrations and family-friendly activities. The 2014 event was the most popular yet, drawing together attendees, partners and sponsors from across the community.
IGNITE the Vote
To bolster voter turnout in local elections, IGNITE revived the IGNITE the Vote campaign in 2011. The campaign helps educate the public about the issues in each election and includes a City Council candidate forum that’s open to the public.
In 2012, IGNITE received a grant to help the Auburn Beautification Commission install two new gateway signs, welcoming
visitors to Auburn on Genesee Street and Lake Avenue.
In 2012, IGNITE decided to use its holiday party to raise funds for local nonprofits. Proceeds have benefitted Neighborhood House and Christmas Elf. The holiday party has become a popular annual event.