Kayla Arnesen 720.898.5919
ARVADA, CO (October 6, 2016) – Step aside, Shark Tank. The nonprofit innovators have arrived.
In a first-of-its-kind pitch competition in Colorado, more than 200 community leaders acted as judges to allocate half a million dollars in Community First Foundation grant money. The recipients were local nonprofits pitching innovative ideas to improve mental wellness.
At the event on September 30, 2016, community leaders heard from six nonprofits, then cast their votes in real-time to allocate Community First Foundation grant dollars among the innovators.
“This is by far the most innovative and inclusive approach to grant funding we’ve ever been part of,” said Justin Kruger, founder and CEO of the grand prize-winning organization Project Helping. “Having community leaders in the audience participate simultaneously built awareness for our cause and engaged the community in being a part of our organization.”
The pitch competition was the capstone event of The Innovators Society, a new program of Community First Foundation. The program promotes mental wellness by accelerating nonprofit innovation and empowering everyday citizens to become grantmakers.
The following grants were awarded:
“New organizations, like ours, with new approaches to improving mental wellness and combating stigma, don’t typically get these types of opportunities for so many people to learn about us. This program has given us the tools to make a massive impact in the community,” said Kruger.
Funding from the pitch competition will kick-start the innovations as the nonprofits continue implementation. The inaugural nonprofit cohort will celebrate their achievements in the fall of 2017.
“We are excited to be on the cutting edge of a groundswell of nonprofits and funders replicating the accelerator and pitch competition models statewide,” said Noah Atencio, vice president of community impact at Community First Foundation. “The Innovators Society adds a unique dimension to these models by focusing on mental wellness and distributing grant dollars under the guidance of community leaders.”
About The Innovators Society
The Innovators Society, a program of Community First Foundation, is committed to improving mental wellness by investing in fresh, new ideas to improve awareness, foster well-being and change perceptions of mental illness. At Community First Foundation, we power the innovators. For more information, visit CommunityFirstFoundation.org/grantmaking/mental-wellness/innovators.