On Thursday, June 9, a small auditorium within the Georgia World Congress Center was bristling with the positive energy of Atlanta’s social impact community. In the auditorium, Philanthropitch ATL was conducting the final portion of their innovative pitch contest. Founded in 2013 in Austin, TX, Philanthropitch is a social impact, fast-pitch competition that spotlights some of the most promising nonprofits and the innovative solutions they bring to local challenges. Finalists in the contest pitch for financial capital that will help fast track their organization’s growth.
In just a few years, Philanthropitch has granted over $500,000 in funding to 38 mission-driven organizations. Atlanta was selected as the first community outside of Austin to have the opportunity to highlight and fund local social initiatives, and our city did not disappoint! Center for Civic Innovation (CCI) founder and Executive Director Rohit Malhotra served as a charismatic MC for the evening, keeping the competition moving and the audience energized. CCI also had the honor of serving as a community partner for this inaugural year of Philanthropitch Atlanta.
Set up much like the social entrepreneurial version of American Idol, seven incredible organizations were tasked with selling the judges and the crowd on the merits of their ideas in just a few minutes. The judges provided instant feedback to finalists after their pitch and then deliberated about the allocation of funds for the organizations. The audience also had the option at the end of the event to vote on a $10,000 grant to their favorite pitch. Below is a brief description of each organization and their proposed plans for the grant money:
The Scholarship Academy:
- Comprehensive scholarship preparatory program which teaches low-income, first generation college students to navigate financial aid processes to help to fund their college education
- Prospective Plan: Launch a virtual scholarship center to train counselors, connect scholarship providers to students, and provide valuable training and information to students
Community Farmers Market
- The market works to promote and ensure that healthy food is accessible to all of Atlanta.
- Prospective Plans: Create a program of self-contained, affordable, and healthy food options in MARTA stations
- The organization connects youth from diverse backgrounds through multimedia production and the arts.
- Prospective Plan: Connect 10 different high schools to a nonprofit with whom they will work to create a video about the non-profit’s primary focus
Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential (GCAPP)
- Work with young people, giving them the knowledge, skills, and motivation they need to make healthy choices
- Prospective Plan: Create an online platform for parents to get information and the skills necessary to have an authentic conversation about sex with their youth
Community Guilds: STE(A)M Truck
- Innovative lab on wheels that works to close racial and socioeconomic opportunity gaps through pointed educational opportunities
- Prospective Plan: Expand the educational program to include more trucks and serve a greater number of schools and children
Next Generation Men
- Organization dedicated to inspiring and supporting young men of color thorough professional exposure, leadership development, and community service
- Prospective Plan: Expanding from after school only to an elective course during the school day and creating a similar program for young women
Moving in the Spirit
- Youth development program that uses the art of dance to positively transform the lives of children and teens in Atlanta
- Prospective Plan: Launching a dancewear collection which will be based on more inclusive skin tones and body types
After the conclusion of the pitches, the audience voted for their favorite ideas while the judges deliberated on the final award amounts. The original goal of the night was to disburse $55,000 worth of grant money among seven of Atlanta’s most innovative non-profits. However, some judges and sponsors increased their pledged grant amount, moving the total amount of money given away from $55,000 to $61,500! Every organization impressed and went home with some amount of financial support. The awarded money is broken down below:
GCAPP: $2,000 grant
Moving in Spirit: $2,000 grant
re:imagine ATL: $4,000
STE(A)M: $6,000 from company award sponsor EO (Entrepreneurs Organization) ATL; additional $6,500 grant
The Scholarship Academy: $10,000 as the Audience Choice Award Winner
Community Farmers: $13,500 from Choose ATL
Next Generation Men: $10,000 from company award sponsor SAGE Foundation; additional $7,500 grant
Congratulations to all the nonprofits involved! You are building the civically engaged Atlanta we want to live in.