Social Venture Partners to Spotlight Local Nonprofits at Friday’s Fast Pitch Event • St Pete Catalyst

Social Venture Partners (SVP) Tampa Bay presents its 2021 Fast Pitch competition Friday night, featuring eight local nonprofits as they compete for unrestricted funding and gain valuable community exposure.

Hosted at the Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg and presented in partnership with the Community Foundation Tampa Bay, the Fast Pitch event is the culmination of a 16-week program. During these weeks, carefully selected nonprofits receive lessons in operations, marketing, finance, law, and storytelling from SVP’s local business partners. The program is designed to help increase organizations’ sources of revenue and reduce reliance on government and private grants while strengthening its public profile.

“In the beginning, they learn how to write a business plan, develop their business skills and better tell the story of their organization,” said Keara McGraw, SVP program director.

During the final six weeks of the program, each nonprofit will work closely with a successful regional mentor to develop a three-minute pitch. The pitch details how the organization intends to make a difference in the community, as well as the social enterprise that helps it achieve its mission. McGraw said she enjoys watching the progress as participants refine their arguments.

At the start of the program, many applicants take 10 to 15 minutes to describe their organizations, she says. After dark, that time is reduced to the allotted three minutes, “and it’s usually 10 times better than the first time.”

“So being able to effectively deliver their organization’s message – how they work, how they operate, and how they tackle community issues – really benefit them,” McGraw said. “Donors and community members can see them and hear their stories. “

The SVP partners will then select the first, second and third. The grand prize is $ 15,000 in fundraising, with $ 10,000 for second place and a prize of $ 7,500 for third.

Six distinguished members of the surrounding community make up the jury: Judith Scully, Emeritus Professor of Law at Stetson University; Mark Gesner, vice president of community engagement and innovation at Saint Leo University; Veatrice Farrell, Executive Director of Deuces Live; Tom Waters, assistant director of startups and business development at the University of South Florida; and Michael Flores, Certified Financial Planner at JP Morgan Asset Management.

The Fast Pitch event is open to the general public; it’s also an interactive event, and attendees can vote on their preferred locations to receive the audience award, sponsored by Saint Leo University. The People’s Choice winner will receive $ 5,000.

Often, competition funding continues long after the program ends. McGraw noted that in years past, organizations have received random checks in the mail from someone in the public who was touched by a pitch.

“People have reached out like, ‘Hey, I love your organization, how can I help otherwise,'” she said.

McGraw said SVP encourages continued collaboration with participants and has always remained close to some of the nonprofits since the very first competition in 2018.

“We hope they will stay with us,” she said. “Some of them sort of go off and do their own thing, but they’re welcome to stay and work with SVP – and they often are.”

The 2021 SVP Tampa Bay Fast Pitch participants are:

For more information on Social Venture Partners Tampa Bay, visit their website here.

For tickets for the Friday night event, visit the Palladium website here.

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