Pitch It!, the successful innovation challenge that rewards nonprofits to think big and creatively, to reframe, rethink and reposition how to do their work, and supports innovative leaps in nonprofit organizations returns for another successful season. Last year’s top three finalists, UNITY of Greater New Orleans, The Gentilly 6, and Covenant House, hit it out of the park with their pitches!
Emily Danielson, UNITY Director of Public Policy and Research, passionately pitched her innovative idea for a “supertool” to swiftly and strategically assess homeless clients and to more effectively target limited services, housing, and resources to end people’s homelessness. Organizations using the supertool all offer the same coordinated assessment, cutting down on repetitive paperwork and man-hours spent assessing needs and allowing organizations to better meet the needs of homeless clients. Since winning the $25,000 first place prize, UNITY has implemented the supertool with 10 organizations now using it, and Danielson expects that more will begin using it as well. Use of the supertool has also allowed UNITY to collaborate with other groups, including Community Solutions, 100,000 Homes, and the New Orleans Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The Gentilly 6, a cohort of Project Home Again, Build NOW, Liberty Bank CDC, Ponchartrain Park CDC, Project Homecoming, and St. Bernard Project took home the second place prize for their big idea to fight blight and property abandonment by creating an investors’ pool that will allow them to legally leverage and negotiate solutions with negligent property owners. The $5,000 prize money has gone towards creating the investors’ pool, and they expect it to purchase between three and five tax liens,then clean and maintain the property.
Covenant House, whose big idea was YOUTHCONNECT, an innovative new “app” for at-risk youth, won third place. The pitch was to design the app’s business plan in order to ensure that, once developed, the app would be used by the targeted youth. In addition to winning $2,500 in prize money, they also won the support of an audience member at the live pitch. Liza Cowan, Global Philanthropy at Chase, was so intrigued by the pitch that she connected Covenant House with Chase, which ultimately selected Covenant House as its Technology for Good program to aid in the app’s design and building. Chase has donated the expertise of a team of technologists to design, build, and test the new mobile app.
For more information on how you can apply, click here and remember the deadline is Friday, August 22.