Santa Barbara’s first ever startup-style contest for nonprofit organizations, Fast Pitch SB, awarded $40,000 in prize money at its final round of competition at the Music Academy of the West last week.
Nearly 100 initial participants were narrowed down to 20 nonprofit contestants, and on April 23, the competition’s judges selected 10 finalists. Last week, each of these organizations gave a three-minute “fast pitch” to a live audience and panel of seven judges.
The Solvang Viking Café — a special cafeteria for nutritional, fresh food in the Solvang School District — took home the $15,000 Grand Prix award and the $10,000 audience choice award.
Angels Foster Care won the $5,000 State Street award. A nonprofit that gives flight lessons to underprivileged youth, A Different Point of View, won the $5,000 Mission award.
In addition to receiving a $1,000 grant, all 20 organizations received mentoring sessions for seven weeks prior to last week’s competition, giving them insight into how to give an elevator pitch about their organization to potential donors, and other marketing skills. With a combination of entrepreneurship and philanthropy, the contest serves a need for funding and resources in many of these charity groups, according to event organizer Seth Streeter. “I see that a lot of nonprofit leaders need resources for communicating so that they might clearly convey their organization’s vision,” Streeter said in a statement.
“We wanted to help nonprofits by giving them a platform to be properly exposed and at the same time connect business leaders with meaningful volunteer opportunities.”
Fast Pitch SB is hosted by Social Venture Partners and is modeled after similar contests held by the organization in major cities around the country. Santa Barbara is the smallest city to host such a contest.
• Read previous Business Times coverage of Fast Pitch here.