SOURCE: Illinois Technology Association (ITA)

Illinois Technology Association (ITA)

October 05, 2010 14:32 ET

Smart Bet Charities Raises More Than $400,000 to Support Technology Education in Chicago

Fifth Annual Tournament Sponsored by the Illinois Technology Association (ITA) Brought Together Nearly 400 Members of Chicago Tech Community to Support Local Education Charities

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - October 5, 2010) -  The Smart Bet Charitable Foundation has raised more than $400,000 in donations to benefit technology education in the city of Chicago. 2010 marked the 5th annual Smart Bet Charity Poker Tournament, held at the Chicago Cultural Center. Smart Bet unites Chicago's technology, entrepreneurs, and education community annually to support organizations committed to educating and training urban youth in careers in technology and entrepreneurship. "Each year this tournament has grown and our ability to support key organizations has expanded," said Joe Jablonski, SmartBet Co-Founder and Board Chairman. "Amidst very busy and challenging economic times, it is great to see so many community leaders and entrepreneurs take the time to support key organizations that are making a real difference with kids."

"The organizations we support are doing a great job of preparing kids for bright futures, and exposing them to mentors and training that they likely would never otherwise have received," says Terry Howerton, Chairman of the Illinois Technology Association, one of the Smart Bet Board members and key organizers.

This year's lead sponsors include K&L Gates, OCA Ventures and Silicon Valley Bank. "SmartBet Charities' success is a direct result of the philanthropic effort of driven entrepreneurs and corporate sponsors that share a passion to contribute to the broader goal of education and empowerment as a key to enrichment and economic advancement. We are very proud of and grateful to the handful of lead tournament sponsors, the over 20 table sponsors, and the legion of SmartBet volunteers, without whom SmartBet would not be possible," commented Jim Dugan, CEO of OCA Ventures & SmartBet Co-Founder and Board member, who once again led the Smart Bet organizers in raising funds for the charities.

Charitable organizations benefiting from the fundraising include the Chicago Academy of Advanced Technology (CAAT) (, a new charter high school with a curriculum infused with entrepreneurship and information technology skills, Future Founders (, a mentoring program that culminates in a citywide business play competition for high school students, and US Empowered (, a highly successful non-profit that aims to make college possible for all of urban America by providing resources, support, and access to professional networks. In total, six charities will receive portions of the net proceeds from the donations raised at the SmartBet 2010 Charity tournament.

About Smart Bet
The Smart Bet Charitable Foundation ( is a 501(c)3 nonprofit entity that was founded in 2006 by a group of dedicated Chicago entrepreneurs who had met informally for years to network and discuss the entrepreneurial climate in Chicago. They formed a mission to support urban youth oriented education in technology and entrepreneurship to help inspire and train kids for future success. 

About ITA
The Illinois Technology Association (ITA) is a driving force behind the growth of Illinois' vibrant technology industry. We are relentless in championing the development and application of technology, from start-up companies to industry leaders, leveraging the transformative nature of technology to revolutionize industries. 

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