Sometimes an idea is so big that it actually fits a hole you didn’t know was there.

Yeah, I just got all zen on you. Solid way to start a Monday.

Back in September at an event at the American Underground @Main, I believe it was Triangle Entrepreneurship Week, Coursefork founder Elliott Hauser, American Underground head Adam Klein, and myself were enjoying a cold beer when Hauser brought up his idea for the Startup Giveback.

At the time it was essentially a cookout with a cause. But I remember both Klein and myself immediately getting behind the idea.

Startup Giveback, as has since been fleshed out, is about the Triangle entrepreneurial community coming together to create an endowment that will fund local charities for years to come. It’s a combination of events like the Startup Giveback cookout this Saturday and a crowd-sourced approach to making the community that we work and live in a better place.

How very startup.

“I saw lots of great philanthropic awareness and activity in our community, but it felt disconnected,” Hauser says. “It also felt like those of us with young businesses would have to wait until our businesses were sold to give back. I wanted a way that anyone could get involved, so the idea of the Giveback was born. “

Actually, it is very startup. Hauser, who lifted Coursefork off with a win at Triangle Startup Weekend EDU back in March and who tomorrow will present the results of the company’s 12 weeks of acceleration at the Triangle Startup Factory Showcase, has used some of the same entrepreneurial methods he’s been slamming into Coursefork to build Startup Giveback like a product.

He’s spent time getting input from other entrepreneurs as to how best to undertake the creation of a charitable cause that was more than a donation collection, but a sustainable commitment to the betterment of the community. He’s trying to bring Startup Giveback from idea to reality, with this weekend’s cookout as the figurative beginning of the seed stage fundraising round.

“The response and support from the startup community has been amazing,” he says. “And that’s helped shape it into what it is today.”

The cookout is Saturday, November 16th from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the offices (or rather, the spacious parking lot) of Shoeboxed, at 112 Broadway Street in Durham, a short walk from American Tobacco. A suggested $10 donation gets you into the cookout, with plenty of food and games – it’s intended to be a family-friendly event.

Which makes sense, since a lot of Triangle entrepreneurs have families — one of the things that makes our area unique.

For an extra $5 donation per, there will be plenty of local craft beer.

Like I said, this event is the beginning of the Giveback, not the entirety. There will be more to follow. The goals are to raise $10,000 to open a charitable fund with the Triangle Community Foundation, and then another $50,000 to endow the fund so that it keeps on giving.

A twist, perhaps somewhat controversial, is the pitch for entrepreneurs to pledge 1% of their personal equity in their startup. This is not an out-there ask, and there are organizations that benefit from gifts like this all the time.

“The pledge can be to any charitable organization of the entrepreneur’s choice,” says Hauser. “The Triangle Community Foundation fund is something that we hope will be the philanthropic vehicle of choice for area entrepreneurs, investors, and service providers, but at the end of the day where the money goes is much less important than getting everyone involved.”

Hauser is the main wrangler for the Giveback, for now, as I can see this role changing hands over time, or being shared among multiple people. He’s already lined up several sponsors for the event, including American Underground, HQ Raleigh, The Startup Factory, Brevado, and his own company, Coursefork.

And I’m not just writing about it, I’m supporting it, sponsoring if you will, by getting the word out to anyone and everyone I can. Because it’s a good thing.

It also occurs to me that it’s time for something like this in the timeline of the story of the Triangle Startup scene. Our startups are real companies, and there are a lot of them now. Supporting charitable causes is not something startups are known for. Not that they don’t support charities, they do, individually and in groups, like the Dodgeball Charity Challenge a number of us participated in last month.

Think of Startup Giveback as the startup version of corporate philanthropy. Hauser himself even refers to it as being “in alpha.” It’s unknown as to whether or not it will take off, but the opportunity is there to turn an idea into a real working thing.

And what entrepreneur wouldn’t like that?

Editor’s note: Joe Procopio is a serial entrepreneur, writer, and speaker. He is VP of Product at Automated Insights and the founder of startup network and news resource ExitEvent. Follow him at @jproco or read him at