Philanthropitch winners take home funding

Suzanne Goldsmith
South Side Early Learning won big at Philanthropitch March 3.

Seven local nonprofits got an infusion of cash thanks to Philanthropitch Columbus, a Shark Tank-style fast-pitch competition held before a live audience at the Riffe Center March 3.

The event, returning to town after an inaugural visit in 2019, is a project of Notley, an Austin, Texas-based venture capital group created by BuildASign founder Dan Graham and his wife Lisa Graham, who appeared at the Columbus event.

The American Electric Power Foundation was the presenting sponsor for Philanthropitch Columbus.

“We see it as a wonderful opportunity to stimulate the development of social enterprise for the nonprofit field,” says Dale Heydlauff, president of the AEP Foundation. “We love it when nonprofits think the way we do, or endeavor to do so.”

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A total of $115,000 was distributed at the end of the evening. Nine judges—who included Jonica Armstrong of Big Lots, Matt Miller of Ice Miller, Brett Kaufman of Kaufman Development and Kristy Campbell of Rev1 Ventures—made individual or corporate contributions of at least $5,000, which they designated for one or more of the candidates following the pitches.

Proceeds from tickets to the event were distributed to the charities based on audience preference, ascertained through SMS voting. 

The top winner of the evening was South Side Early Learning, an educational and research center for preschool children, which garnered $24,897 following a pitch by CEO Colin McGinnis. The funds will support Project NUDL, a training and research institute focused on advancing professional development for early childhood educators. 

Seven finalists were Bridgeway Academy, Zora’s House, Youth Yoga Project, PCs for People, Buddy Up Tennis and FoodFinder.–Suzanne Goldsmith