September 26th, 2019 – 6 – 9pm

join us for raft's signature fundraising event!

Ditch the pantyhose and ties, roll up your sleeves, and experience the power of hands-on learning with business leaders, philanthropists, and top-notch educators. Enjoy an open bar and fabulous food from some of Denver's hot new restaurants!

September 26th – 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Raft Resource Center
(3827 Steele St., Unit C, Denver, CO 80205)

new this year!

a great team-building opportunity!  on your own time, using raft materials and your own schwag, build your own solution to this design challenge and then showcase your mousetrap and compete against other teams on the night of Upcycle!

While open to anyone, the Rube Goldberg-style challenge was designed as a company team-building event. If you know that your employees are the most creative and innovative problem-solvers in Colorado, this is your chance to prove it!

learn more

announcing the 2019 honorees:

Outstanding Impact in Education Award

This award goes to Colorado leaders who have demonstrated a commitment to teachers and an ability to unite educators, philanthropists, business and political leaders to improve education in Colorado.

Stephanie Welsh, Raft Colorado’s founding Executive Director, has spent the past ten years building relationships and forging partnerships with educators, philanthropists, business and political leaders across the state. As a result of her efforts, an incredibly diverse and extensive network of organizations and individuals who have created Raft — an organization that is integral to the educational fabric of Colorado, having impacted over 50,000 teachers and over 2 million Colorado kids!

John and Carrie Morgridge Volunteer Award

This award goes to a group of RAFT volunteers who has volunteered repeatedly over time, achieves exceptional results, and leverages its relationships to support RAFT beyond the scope of its scheduled service.

Prologis volunteers have supported Raft since its very first year of operations. This year, they reached out to Raft to ask about how a partnership could support DPS teachers. Raft connected with DPS Stem Coordinator Stephanie Hervey, who shared that her 5th-grade teachers were eager to have more hands-on STEM curricula. As a result of the Prologis initiative, 30 Prologis volunteers spent a full day at Raft, assembling enough raftBoxes, Units, and student guides for 50 DPS 5th-grade teachers to use to bring engaging and content-rich science experiences to their students!

Mary Simon Award for Exceptional Teaching

This award is presented to a RAFT member who exemplifies outstanding teaching of academics and 21st century skills using innovative materials and hands-on learning approaches.

Meg Cypress, a long-time Raft member, is a 5th-grade teacher at Bradley International School and Colorado’s 2019 Teacher of the Year! Meg uses project-based learning to inspire and excite students, parents, other teachers, and administrators. Her family Math Nights, Cardboard Challenge, and the Annual Bradley Science Fair have helped transform Bradley from a school facing the possibility of closure to a high-performing school with a waitlist. According to Meg, Raft has been indispensable to her ability to teach the way she knows kids learn best. Link

Zack Neumeyer Leading from Within Award

This award is presented to an administrator who works collaboratively with teachers and community leaders to implement an innovative educational vision designed to increase student engagement and performance.

Paige Gordon, also a long-time member, may have the record for filling the most shopping carts in one trip! As the STEM Coordinator for St. Vrain Valley School District, Paige created and directed Innovation Academy for a Smarter Planet, a STEM partnership between IBM Boulder and a number of educational organizations. The Academy received national recognition. For the past six years, Paige has been working collaboratively with the community, staff members, and students, to create the St. Vrain Valley’s first STEM preschool — Spark! Discovery Preschool — where she continues to serve as the Administrator.

how can you get involved?


Enter a team in the Build a Better Mousetrap competition ($2,500)

register a team


Be an event sponsor ($1,500, $5,000, and $15,000 levels available)

become a sponsor


Buy a ticket and enjoy the festivities ($85)

purchase tickets


The most fun you'll ever have supporting a great cause!


a big hand for our 2019 Upcycle Chairs

Carol McDermott and Joshua Hunt and Sarah Harvey!

thank you to our Upcycle 2019 sponsors!

we love our upcycle sponsors!

thanks to their support, raft has funding to combine its educational expertise with upcycled (repurposed) materials to help kids learn through authentic–and fun!–hands-on experiences.

We have a number of sponsorship opportunities available. Being a sponsor will get you good karma plus a host of other benefits, including tickets, recognition before, during, and after Upcycle, and more! Plus, at levels of $5,000 and above, you will not only be recognized for your sponsorship, you may also enter a team into the Design Challenge.

become a sponsor

enter a team to…build a better mousetrap for upcycle!

what is the challenge?

Your team’s mission, should you choose to accept it, will be to design a Rube-Goldberg-style mousetrap. The entire experience is modeled after Raft’s awesome narrative-driven curriculum units (where kids have so much fun, they don’t even realize they’re learning!). All team entries will be displayed at Upcycle, Raft’s primary fundraising event on Thursday, September 26, giving your company exposure to all attendees and, if you win, your company will also get bragging rights, a special prize, and free tickets and judging credentials for next year’s event!


what do we mean by a “Rube-Goldberg-style trap?”

A “Rube Goldberg” machine is designed to execute a simple task in a elaborate and overcomplicated way. Usually these machines use a series of simple devices that are linked together to produce a “domino effect,” each one triggering the next until the ultimate task is completed!

We love this video from National Geographic that shows a team of engineers competing against a group of friends in constructing a Rube Goldberg machine. Their objective: use all 25 of the provided items to trap a mouse.


Pssst…Don’t worry! The size of your trap for Raft’s Design Challenge will be smaller than the one in the video (and we will give you parameters and guidance).


how will the challenge work?

Your team will be given everything you need to dive into a hilarious (especially for Princess Bride fans), narrative-driven design challenge. The story will guide you in the design and construction of your Rube-Goldberg-style trap. Here is an excerpt from the story:

“You see,” you say, “there is nothing to fear. We can overcome any obstacle that comes our way!” “But my love,” he replies, somewhat sniffily, “what of the R-O-U-Ses?” An uneasy feeling creeps into your bones, but you simply smile and reply, “Rodents Of Unusual Savagery? I don’t think they exist.”

Then, you will build the mousetrap using a RAFT-provided box of upcycled materials (the “raftBox”), plus any branded schwag (bonus points!) you can cobble together. And, if your team has questions, a RAFT Re-Imagineer is just a phone call or email away, so your contraption is guaranteed to succeed.


are teams really limited to just five people?

While teams are officially limited to five individuals, there are plenty of ways to involve more people. Here are a couple of ideas:

  • Involve as many people as you want in building the trap, and buy additional tickets for the extra folks so that they can attend too.
  • Blow this challenge up into your own internal competition! Purchase raftBoxes for additional groups of five, then have the winner progress to the Upcycle finals.


what else do you need to know?

  • Raft will deliver the raftBox and the story to all entrants on Monday, August 5th.
  • You may purchase as many additional raftBoxes as you want to create your trap, but other than raftBox items and items mentioned in the story, no additional materials are allowed.
  • You will deliver and set up your mousetrap at Raft (3827 Steele Street) on Wednesday, September 25th.
  • You will send up to five team members to compete the night of Upcycle (Thursday, September 26th).
three awards will be given out:
  • People’s Choice Award
    (each Upcycle guest receives one vote)
  • Judge’s Award
    (the most coveted award; it means you really did build the best mousetrap)
  • Creativity Award
    (the criteria for this award are pretty creative too)

while open to anyone, the challenge was designed as a company team-building event.

If you know that your employees are the most creative and innovative problem-solvers in Colorado, this is your chance to prove it!

we’re IN! what do we do?

  1. Assemble your awesome team, including their email contact info.
  2. Click the button below to register online.
  3. Submit payment ($2500 per team).
  4. Await further instructions.



Please email Ellen here.

register a team