Local Non-Profits Receive over $100,000 in Funding Through Philanthropitch

Philanthropitch Columbus may have looked a little different this year, taking on a virtual format for its third annual event. But that didn’t stop the local community from showing their support for six area non-profits by generating over $100,000 in funding.

The social fast pitch competition provided non-profits with access to unrestricted funding, which they can use to pursue innovative initiatives and business models not covered by traditional grant funding.

Over 40 local non-profits applied for Philanthropitch, with the six finalists selected based on their ability to scale and make a sustainable impact on the community. The program helps nonprofits with a passion to create change turn their ideas into financially stable and scalable business models.

Funding for Philanthropitch, which is presented by the AEP Foundation, comes from a combination of sponsors, community partners, community members and the pitch competition’s judges. Serving as judges for Philanthropitch 2021 were:

  • Cary Hanosek – VP, Wealth Management Advisor at Merrill Lynch & Founder of LBP Concepts
  • Katie Cramer – Senior Philanthropy and Events Specialist at Big Lots
  • Rhoe Fields – AVP, Community and Government Relations, President, L Brands Foundation
  • Steven Moore – Community Counsel and Director of Donor Services, The Columbus Foundation

Learn more about the mission and goals of the six pitching non-profits and the funding that they received.

We Amplify Voices – $4,727.46

Working with schools and programs in underserved communities, We Amplify Voices creates a safe space to connect through music. Through its Bridges of Love program, which connected incarcerated women and their children, WAV saw a need to expand the leadership roles in its workshop to not only music producers, but trauma-informed professionals. The organization is looking to hire two trauma-informed counselors to support workshops moving forward.

For more information, visit weamplifyvoices.org.

The SOAR Initiative – $11,009.83

The SOAR Initiative is building an overdose warning system to help both prevent and predict overdose surges before they happen. By providing fentanyl test strips, users can anonymously report when drugs are laced with the potent medication. The initiative aims to hire a developer to expand its system and create a finished product, which can be quickly scaled.

For more information, visit thesoarinitiative.org.

Adaptive Sports Connection – $11,741.48

For nearly three decades, Adaptive Sports Connection has been creating outdoor sports and recreational opportunities for individuals with disabilities. The organization matches individuals’ abilities with their equipment to help build self-esteem and independence through snow and water skiing, kayaking, cycling and more. With the funding, Adaptive Sports Connections wants to amp up its marketing, hire a full-time employee and build a more robust website to help scale the business which will create even more opportunities for programming.

For more information, visit adaptivesportsconnection.org.

Franklinton Cycle Works – $22,053.97

Franklinton Cycle Works is not only a full-service bike shop, but a community center that provides free education and low-cost repairs to those cyclists who need it most. The social enterprise builds equitable access by catering to those who need to maintain a safe, operational bike for every day transportation. Demand for Franklinton Cycle Works’ services continues to grow, and funding will help finalize an expansion project that will double the business’ physical space allowing them to serve more community members and generate more revenue.

For more information, visit franklintoncycleworks.org.

Maroon Arts Group – $24,195.94

Black-led arts collective Maroon Arts Group supports local, Black artists of multiple disciplines through innovative physical space and artist development programming. In 2017, MAG opened its MPACC Box Park in the historic Bronzeville District, which included three shipping containers to create an outdoor event venue for artists and the community. Now, MAG is looking to expand the box park into a year-round venture for creativity, community building and retail concepts with the purchase of additional shipping containers.

For more information, visit maroonartsgroup.com.

The Metropreneur supported Maroon Arts Group with a $500 grant.

Franklinton Farms – $26,002.46

For 14 years, Franklinton Farms has been helping address food insecurity in the neighborhood through fresh, healthy produce. The non-profit urban farm offers you-pick experiences, memberships, home delivery and more. Operating as a social enterprise since 2014, the farm has grown substantially, but to reach the fringes of the neighborhood, Franklinton Farms looks to introduce its Sprout It Out Loud food truck. The truck will provide fresh produce and prepared foods while expanding the farm’s pilot workforce development program.

For more information, visit franklintonfarms.org.

Presented locally by the AEP Foundation, Philanthropitch is an initiative of Austin, TX-based Notley. In addition to Columbus, annual Philanthropitch events are held in Austin, San Antonio and Philadelphia. Across the four cities, 102 non-profits have received over $1.5 million in funding from the program.

For more information, visit philanthropitch.org.