Pitch It! The Innovation Challenge – September 30

August 26, 2013

In a move to support innovative leaps in human service organizations, the Greater New Orleans Foundation Organizational Effectiveness Initiative is sponsoring Pitch It! The Innovation Challenge with funding from the Kresge Foundation. The Foundation will fund an innovative product, new process, inventive service, or novel approach that supports a new way of doing business for your organization and others and meets a need.

Three finalists for Pitch It! The Innovation Challenge…

The Greater New Orleans Foundation is pleased to announce the three finalists for Pitch it! The Innovation Challenge. They are…

Covenant House
Big Idea: Youth Connect: An innovative new “app” for at-risk youth.

The Gentilly 6  (Project Home Again, BuildNow, Liberty Bank CDC, Pontchartrain Park CDC, Project Homecoming, St. Bernard Project)
Big Idea: Getting in the Game – The Gentilly 6 Blight Pool

UNITY of Greater New Orleans
Big Idea: A “supertool” to better assess homeless clients and more effectively target resources.

Congratulations to our three finalists, who will be presenting their Big Idea at Tulane’s Turchin Stadium on September 30th.

Meet the Judges…

The three nonprofit finalists will “pitch” their idea to the below panel comprised of innovative national and local philanthropists, business, and community leaders on Monday, September 30, 2013 and one winner will be chosen for funding with a first place award of $25,000 to implement the innovation. The 2nd place proposal will receive $5,000 and remaining finalist will receive $2,500.

Jeanne Bell is the CEO of CompassPoint Nonprofit Services—a national, nonprofit leadership and strategy practice headquartered in Oakland, California. She is the co-author of “Nonprofit Sustainability: Making Strategic Decisions for Financial Viability” (Jossey-Bass) and  “Financial Leadership for Nonprofit Executives: Guiding Your Organization to Long Term Success” (Turner). In addition to frequent speaking and consulting on nonprofit strategy and finance, Jeanne has conducted a series of research projects on nonprofit leadership, including UnderDeveloped: A National Study of the Challenges Facing Nonprofit Fundraising, and Daring to Lead 2011: A National Study of Nonprofit Executive Leadership. Jeanne currently serves on several boards, including the Alliance for Nonprofit Management and The Nonprofit Quarter.

Matt Wisdom is co-founder and CEO of TurboSquid, the world’s leading seller of 3D models used to create imagery in feature films, computer games, news, advertising, engineering, and other industries. With a catalog of over 250,000 unique 3D models, TurboSquid engages with 2.5 million artists and customers from around the world. He has been honored with several awards including being named “Technology Leader of the Year” for the State of Louisiana Governor’s Technology Awards. In 2005, Matt contributed the idea and co-authored the legislation for the Digital Interactive Media incentives for the state of Louisiana. Matt serves on the boards and executive committees of GNO, Inc. and The Idea Village.

Maurice Cox is the director of Tulane City Center as well as the new associate dean for community engagement at the Tulane University School of Architecture. Prior to joining Tulane in 2012, he was on the faculty at the University of Virginia. A co-founder of the national SEED (Social, Economic, Environmental, Design) Network, Maurice served as design director of the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, DC from 2007-2010. He also served as city councilmember and then mayor of the City of Charlottesville, VA from 1996-2004 where he successfully introduced and completed several large projects including mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented development and a federally-funded parkway entrance into the city. Fast Company named him one of “20 Masters of Design.”

Guillermina Hernandez-Gallegos is program director for human services at the Kresge Foundation, a $3.2 billion private foundation headquartered in Troy, Michigan. The Foundation awards $150 million annually to nonprofit organizations working to promote human progress by helping to improve the lives of poor and low income children and adults, particularly those living in underserved urban and rural areas. As leader of the human services team, Guillermina shares innovative ideas and practices with the hundreds of human-service organizations she partners with across the country. Prior to joining the Kresge Foundation in 2011, she worked for two other Michigan-based foundations, the Fetzer Institute and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Pitch It! Coaches for Three Finalist

The three finalists will be invited to further develop their concept into a more substantive and detailed proposal building on their initial innovation. They will “pitch” the final idea to the above panel of judges and one winner will be chosen for funding with a first place award of $25,000 to implement the innovation. The 2nd place proposal will receive $5,000 and remaining finalist will receive $2,500.

All three finalists will also receive professional coaching from Maureen Huguley and Sally Forman of MS Communications to help them hone the content and delivery of their pitch to the above judges.

The three finalists will be announced in early September. Pitch ItThe Innovation Challenge and press conference is set for Monday, September 30th from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm at Tulane University’s Greer Field at Turchin Stadium where the finalists will pitch their ideas face-to-face to the judges and crowd.


Thank you to our sponsors, The Kresge Foundation and Southwest Airlines.