Pitch It! The Innovation Challenge Big Ideas

October 1, 2013

In a move to support innovative leaps in human service organizations, the Greater New Orleans Foundation’s Organizational Effectiveness Initiative sponsored Pitch It! The Innovation Challenge with funding from The Kresge Foundation. We asked human services nonprofits in our 13-parish region, “How would you innovate with $25,000?” We received forty incredible answers. We are sharing those Big Ideas below in the hopes that they will inspire other nonprofit organizations to think outside the box and take innovative leaps, as well as lead to a strengthened network of nonprofits and a healthier nonprofit eco-system.

You can read more about our Pitch It! winners here.

1st Place – UNITY of Greater New Orleans: UNITY will design and implement a statewide “supertool” to swiftly and strategically assess homeless clients and to more effectively target limited services, housing, and resources to end people’s homelessness.

2nd Place – The Gentilly 6 (cohort of Project Home Again, Build NOW, Liberty Bank CDC, Ponchartrain Park CDC, Project Homecoming, and St. Bernard Project): We want to fight blight and abandonment by creating an investors pool that will help us get in the game and give us legal leverage to negotiate cures with negligent property owners.

3rd Place – Covenant House: YOUTHCONNECT—An innovative new “app” for at-risk youth—will be a valuable mobile resource with a dynamic and intuitive interface, allowing youth to easily CONNECT to vital community services and one another.

Abeona House Child Discovery Center: Shared services is critical in the success of quality child development centers! A shared service alliance allows centers to share costs and deliver services in an efficient way.

Advocacy Center: “AccessLouisiana”: We will create a crowd-sourced Wiki-like website, and accompanying mobile “app,” for people to post and retrieve information about the accessibility of public places in the New Orleans area.

The Beautiful Foundation: ImagineBEAUTIFUL! A programmatic model that transforms girls and young women. The Beautiful Center for Girls and Young Women promotes entrepreneurial growth and leadership training to prosper girls and their communities.

The Blood Center: The Blood Center is implementing LEAN processes to increase efficiencies and maximize the use of technology in its donor centers.

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Houma Thibodaux: Timebanking: Solving problems while developing community trust and pride through volunteerism. Giving one hour of volunteering to help another while receiving one hour of volunteering to solve a personal need.

Central City Economic Opportunity Corporation: Innovate or Die: Central City Economic Opportunity Corporation’s quest to convert good deeds into measurable outcomes for transformative growth and survival.

Chancey Penn Foundation: A premise of job creation initiatives is that there is useful work to be done in every community. CPF wants to address youth holistically, secure out-of-home placement for transitioning youth.

Community Service Center, Inc.: Second-Time Winner. Re-purpose a container, re-use rain water, and provide a second chance at a productive life for an ex-offender.

Eden House: Eden House will develop a social enterprise to fund the operations of our program and to provide employment and training for our residents, adult female victims of human trafficking.

Efforts of Grace/Ashé Cultural Arts: NOLA ManUP is a cooperative that helps secure work and training for underemployed and unemployed African American men in New Orleans.

Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children:  Parents As Solutions to Suspensions!!! Parents who have had family in the juvenile justice system will be trained to work with schools to develop solutions to suspensions.

Families Helping Families of Southeast Louisiana: Come take a ride to education and empowerment on the FHF of SELA Resource Ride (The RR). The RR will meet individuals with disabilities and their families in their own communities to provide disability resources, training, and support.

Good Work Network: GWN proposes to improve low income individuals’ personal financial management skills using high tech tools and high touch peer group support. Online financial tools will be developed to support individuals in groups competing for a cash prize.

Grief Resource Center-Akula Foundation:  Fostering the healing power of reminiscence groups for seniors using the power of computer tablets and internet.

Grow Dat Youth Farm at Tulane University: Grow Dat will create a mobile market model that leverages cross-sector partnerships to increase access to healthy food for low-income residents while simultaneously creating a revenue stream for the organization.

Interfaith Sponsoring Committee (BISCO): “Our Special Club House” is a project to provide a supervised place for young adults with mild/moderate developmental disabilities to gather to build friendships, learn life skills, read, and have fun activities in an after-care type program with shared supports.

Junior Achievement of Greater New Orleans: With demand for educators to focus 100% of class time on common core subjects, Junior Achievement is taking the lead in collaboration with other afterschool providers to maximize co-curricular learning.

Justice and Accountability Center: The Louisiana Expungement Application (LEA)is a mobile and web-based application that will increase opportunity to access necessary legal services in remote areas.

Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools:  The Rethink Institute is a revenue-generating dissemination program that trains youth and youth organizations from around the country in implementing the Rethink model for youth-led school change.

Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights: Our courts miss 1200 opportunities every year to change children’s lives. CHILDS is a technology solution that reinvents juvenile justice advocacy, building positive youth development supports around those vulnerable children.

Louisiana Children’s Museum: The first Maker Space publicly available to children in NOLA. LCM’s Maker Space will be designed and created by a “Brain Trust,” a collaborative team representing local creativity.

Lowernine.org: Lower Ninth Lot Choppers – Engaging community volunteers to clear overgrown lots in exchange for assistance in maintaining their own properties.

Make It Right: Innovation Leads to Restoration – Make It Right’s Community Beyond Housing: Lower Ninth Ward Vacant Lot Management Tool Kit.

Mercy Family Center: Mercy brings on-line mental/behavioral health screening form to Greater New Orleans.

Metropolitan Center for Women and Children with St. Bernard Battered Women’s Program: A comprehensive regional approach to providing services to survivors at the two domestic violence suburban programs is needed to assist the survivors and retrain the staff who provide those services.

NAMI New Orleans:  Assisting chronically homeless individuals to obtain meaningful activity, employment, or start their own microbusiness.

Neighborhoods Partnership Network: Imagine having the power to make a difference in your neighborhood right at your fingertips. The NPN app delivers the strength of the NPN network right to your smartphone.

Orleans Public Education Network: OPENBetheChangeNetwork.com is a social media website designed to provde everyday local citizens with access to crowd-funding and crowd-sourcing networks aimed at creating citizen-driven philanthropy and change initiatives.

Playworks New Orleans:  Using program elements to build a convention-based earned income stream.

Project Lazarus:  Through Project Lazarus’ Wellness University, people living with HIV/AIDS learn how to manage living with the disease, thus extending their life span as well as increasing their quality of life.

Reach-In C.A.R.E.: Women coming out of prison, volunteering to help others, thanked with a community currency that assists them with pursuing healthy, productive, joyful lives.

Ride New Orleans: Community Service as Community Organizing: a nonprofit model for providing service in a way that creates the opportunity to build a movement for systematic change.

Royal Castle Child Development Center: Royal Castle CDC would like to create and develop the first certified outdoor learning classroom in the Greater New Orleans Area and the second in the state of Louisiana.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana with ReFresh Project and Sojourner Truth Community Center: The Community Table will bring a participatory cooking and dining experience to New Orleans by using food to engage, empower, and mobilize residents to be their own best advocates.

Ubuntu at Work: Ubuntu at Work-NOLA will help impoverished women in the 9th Ward gain confidence, skills, and connect to global markets and thus empower themselves and escape poverty.

VIA LINK: To create the most effective system both to secure permanent housing for those who experience homelessness by aiding human service agencies through technology and Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) data.

VIET with VIA LINK: Play a role to help create a solid solution to help address decades of concerns for limited English speaking communities and to make our city immigrant friendly.