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Fast Pitch Makes Nonprofits the Star of the Show

Collective Power at Work for a Better Community

The power of unified purpose is undeniable. Working collectively in pursuit of common outcomes has over and again proved greater impact than any one organization could have individually. This has long been Valley Vision’s underlying premise. It’s also the driving philosophy of Social Venture Partners of Sacramento, a collective of corporate executives, community leaders, volunteers, philanthropists, and parents who work together to close the chasm between the challenges our communities face today and the society we wish to be tomorrow.

At the core is SVP’s Fast Pitch, an exciting speed contest that gives local nonprofit organizations a chance to win funds to advance their cause.  What makes Fast Pitch brilliant and truly community driven is that it teams nonprofit executives with area professionals who work together to craft, coach and hone their presentation “pitch” delivered to a panel of judges. The result is a fast-paced competition involving invested and dedicated individuals who’ve formed a strong bond and deep alliance with the nonprofit they’ve helped prepare. Everyone’s invested.

10 finalists competed this year at Golden 1 Center, each hopeful that the judges would claim their organization the winner of one of three awards of $10,000, $2,000 and $1,000. Presentations were limited to just three minutes and delivered from the floor of G1C in front of an audience of roughly 500 fans cheering for their favorite. With organizations working in youth and adult education, building healthy communities, administering needed social services and delivering innovative learning projects, choosing just three was no easy decision.

Every team needs a coach

Valley Vision’s director of strategy & evaluation Evan Schmidt paired up with Daniel Kaufman of Third Plateau as pitch coaches to Ashley Simon from Roseville Home Start. Their job was to help Ashley deliver the best possible 3-minute pitch on why her nonprofit was more deserving than the competitors. Like the other nine teams, Evan and Daniel worked with Ashley over weeks, helping to craft her message and delivery. In this way, coaches become as invested in winning as their nonprofit partner. The experience—which both cited as highly rewarding—gave Evan and Daniel a platform to elevate their own impact for area nonprofits in a very applied, real way.

The competition was fierce

Presenters from Lilliput Family Services, the Sacramento Children’s Receiving Home, and the LGBT Center of Sacramento kicked off their pitches with a narrative detailing the impact that their organizations make for individuals and families. Children’s Choice for Hearing and Talking Center of Sacramento and 3Strands Global both shared testimony describing how personal life experiences inspired them to lead their respective organizations. City Year Sacramento energized the crowd with a “power greeting”, a clapping and chanting ritual that welcomes elementary students to school each day, while Fairy Tale Town vividly described their unique experience that countless children in our region have enjoyed since 1959.

Rundown on the results

First place was awarded to 3Strands Global Foundation, which works to combat human trafficking through education, reintegration, and mobilization. The second place winner was the Children’s Choice for Hearing and Talking Center of Sacramento (CCHAT), which teaches children who are deaf and hard of hearing to listen and develop a spoken language. KidsFirst, the third place winner, treats and prevents child abuse and neglect through education, advocacy and counseling services.

Wait, there’s more.Blanket Marketing Group selected Juma Ventures to receive their Movie Star Advertising Package, and the Ultimate Brand Package went to CCHAT Sacramento. Social Venture Partners also provided Social Media Maven Packages to each of the ten finalists. 3Strands Global was also awarded the Mayor’s Award to meet with Mayor Darrell Steinberg, and KJ2 Productions and Third Plateau Strategies chose CCHAT Sacramento for the Amplified Impact Award. OE Consulting chose the Children’s Receiving Home of Sacramento for the Organization Transformation Award, and the Sacramento LGBT Center, CELI Inc., Lilliput Families, and Sierra Nevada Journeys received the American Advertising Federation FreeThink Award.

Last minute plot twist 

With so many organizations providing much needed services for at-risk, LGBTQ and foster youth and young adults, it’s an impossible task to narrow down 10 finalists to just three winners. Apparently someone in the audience felt the same way. City Year Sacramento didn’t make the judges’ final cut, but was able to raise $2,000+ during the event from donors in the audience. But that’s not the end of the story. Just as Fast Pitch was coming to a close it was announced that an anonymous donor was so moved by City Year CEO Jeff Owen’s presentation that they would commit $15,000 to fund one year of service for a student success ambassador over the next three years. That’s a grand total of $47,000 for City Year, an impressive result for not being a top finalist.

Fast Pitch has awarded area nonprofits over $100,000 in funds and $50,000 in services

Social Venture Partners Sacramento was established in 2008 and has worked to unite the power of the business community with the passion of the nonprofit world ever since. SVP’s Fast Pitch is an extraordinary platform to learn about area nonprofit organizations making a difference, to become inspired by their work and impact, and to contribute yourself to making our communities stronger, more connected and more compassionate. Valley Vision was proud to partner in this year’s Fast Pitch and commends all the region’s nonprofit leaders, staff and those who support them in their work to improve people’s lives.

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Ruben Moody is Valley Vision’s Communications Intern.