TOM TOM
FOUNDATION

 

Celebrating purpose-driven entrepreneurship, creative community, and inclusive innovation in small cities.

Inspiring the next generation of Founders

The Tom Tom Foundation is a nonprofit organization that celebrates entrepreneurs, civic leaders, and creators who are shaping cities and communities across the nation. Tom Tom’s signature event is a weeklong festival of ideas and culture that takes place in Charlottesville, Virginia, each April in conjunction with Thomas Jefferson’s birthday. This cross discipline, multi-venue experience transforms the historic downtown and empowers the innovators, who are envisioning a brighter future.

Since its inception in 2012, the Foundation’s Spring and Fall programming has showcased over 700 speakers and 280 bands to 172,000 program attendees, and has channeled $2.8 million to new ventures and projects.

ANNUAL PROGRAM FOR THOUGHT LEADERSHIP AND COMMUNITY BUILDING

As the Foundation has grown, new initiatives have been added like the Fall Festival and Founding Cville Project, as well as signature public art projects and leadership convenings throughout the year.  

The festival’s founder and director, Paul Beyer, alongside dedicated staff and volunteers, run the Festival and Foundation.

Complete list of Staff & Board.

Inspiring the next generation of Founders

The Tom Tom Foundation is a nonprofit organization that celebrates entrepreneurs, civic leaders, and creators who are shaping cities and communities across the nation. Tom Tom’s signature event is a weeklong festival of ideas and culture that takes place in Charlottesville, Virginia, each April in conjunction with Thomas Jefferson’s birthday. This cross discipline, multi-venue experience transforms the historic downtown and empowers the innovators, creators, and entrepreneurs who are envisioning a brighter future.

Since its inception in 2012, the Festival has featured over 700 speakers, 280+ bands, and has channeled $2.8 million to new ventures and projects.  

As the Foundation has grown, new initiatives have been added, including the Fall Tomtoberfest Block Party and Founding CVille Project, as well as signature public art projects and thought-leader convenings throughout the year.  

The Foundation leadership is composed of its founder and director, Paul Beyer, dedicated staff and volunteers, and its Advisory and Fiduciary Boards.

 

Complete list of Staff & Board.

MISSION

Celebrate Founding

 

Inspire the next generation of artists, entrepreneurs and civic leaders

Connect Resources

 

Match visionaries with the mentors and the resources to launch and grow

Leave Legacies

 

Transform Charlottesville through public art, new businesses, and new ideas

YEARLY INITIATIVES

Mural Project

Engaging local and regional artists at multiple sites throughout Charlottesville.

CITY ART BUS

A moving mural seen by more than 200,000 around Charlottesville every year.

FELLOWSHIPS

Connecting students with entrepreneurs and thought-leaders throughout the region.

FoundingCville2016Announcement

FOUNDING CVILLE

Highlighting local founders whose groundbreaking and original work has impacted Charlottesville and the world.

tom tom founders festival (april)

A weeklong celebration that empowers artists, entrepreneurs & civic leaders who shape communities across the nation.

Tomtoberfest 2016 Concerts

tomtoberfest (september)

Tom Tom’s Fall block party featuring a tech mixer and Founding Cville awards.

tech mixer

100+ of the region’s hottest firms and most innovative companies mix with investors, entrepreneurs, and top talent from across the region.

OUTCOMES

Crowd

Since 2012, over 172,000 attendees have experienced music, art, innovation, and food programming at Tom Tom.

Michael Mallory at Tom Tom

We recognize the work of local founders and engage with national creators and innovators.

Becca at workshop

We highlight the intersections of art, commerce, and civic leadership and inspire the next generation.

Volunteer at Tom Tom

We are community led. Each year over 400 organizations and 300 volunteers make Tom Tom happen.

Nonprofit pitch, ballet

We connect resources. Over $2,800,000 of grants, awards and investment facilitated.

bus, city as canvas

We leave lasting legacies of creativity that transform public spaces through our City as Canvas project.

Pop Up Parking Spaces

We produce creative stages. Over 350 bands, 700 speakers, and dozens of artists and installations have brought the entire community together.

Child_at_Tom_tom

We help inspire an identity for the region that is creative, entrepreneurial and focused on the future.

Frequently Asked

America’s Founding City

Charlottesville is known for its history– for Thomas Jefferson, the founding fathers and as a birthplace of democracy and higher education. The idea of revolutionary founding is in the very fabric of the City. The Tom Tom Foundation exists to inspire a future for Charlottesville that sparks a new generation of Founders and contemporary innovators, who shape the future of Charlottesville, and the nation.

Where did the name come from?

We choose to be a Founders Festival because our events celebrate, support, and inspire founders of all different disciplines. There is a unique storytelling opportunity in highlighting the origin of the ideas and organizations which shape our society, and spurring the next generation of entrepreneurs, artists and leaders.

It’s called Tom Tom, because we’re located in Charlottesville, Virginia, the home of Thomas Jefferson. “Tom Tom” is a cheeky nod to evoke his innovative spirit without sending the festival into powdered wig territory. Jefferson is the author of The Declaration of Independence, founder of the University of Virginia, architect of Monticello, and Third President of the United States. Jefferson excelled (or at least tried his hand) in a variety of fields: philosopher, lawyer, diplomat, farmer, winemaker, architect, and inventor. This multi-faceted legacy still inspires founders in Charlottesville and across the world.

Solely and uncritically lauding Jefferson as an innovator, though, is inadequate. It is impossible to reconcile his ideals with many of his actions. He was a slave owner and participated in a dehumanizing system whose impacts continue to this day.

As imperfectly realized as the vision that “all men are created equal” was in Jefferson’s day, it is one that should be manifested in our communities, our businesses and civic institutions. Tom Tom’s exploration of inclusive innovation, our celebration of purpose driven founding, and our focus on a more equitable society, are all threads in this ongoing conversation about Charlottesville’s founder.  

What’s with the buffalo?

The buffalo is a symbol of the frontier. Lewis and Clark returned from their exploration of the American West with a buffalo hide displaying Native American painting and cartography. As President, Jefferson had sponsored this historic journey, and this hide still hangs in the foyer of Monticello as a reminder of the value of American risk-taking.

As with Jefferson himself, the buffalo is both an inspirational symbol of the future and a point that necessitates reflection. Westward expansion was not done without considerable injustice to native peoples, and the buffalo almost became extinct.

The uncharted frontiers are cause for excitement, but they are also a challenge: we must do better this time.