The seventh annual SVP Calgary Fast Pitch Finals held on Thursday night showcased a new format and saw non-profit organizations win $65,000 in prizes for their compelling pitches presented in front of a live audience of 400 people. The following prizes were awarded during the evening:
- Collaboration category – $20,000 – Fresh Routes and Siksika Health Services (Rob Ironside & Leslie Steeves)
- SVP Investment focus category – $10,000 – Portail de L’Immigrant Association (PIA) (Evelyne Kemajou)
- General category – $10,000 – Families Matter (Lisa Barton)
- Coaches Choice – $5,000 – Portail de L’Immigrant Association (PIA)
- Audience Choice – $5,000 – Fresh Routes & Siksika Health Services
“The quality of the pitches seems to get better every year, and tonight there were some outstanding presentations,” said Lindsay Read, SVP Calgary Executive Director. “I know it was an incredibly difficult decision for the judges and audience members alike.”
For the first time ever, Fast Pitch featured three categories for participants: SVP Investment, General and Collaboration. SVP Calgary investment focus area category featured organizations focused in programming for 12-15 year olds building resiliency outside of school hours. The general category, as in the past, was for any non-profit doing great work in Calgary. The Collaboration Award featured two non-profits currently partnering on projects or programs to pitch together. In the spirit of collaboration, this award was co-sponsored by Calgary Municipal Land Corporation, Calgary Parking Authority and Platform Calgary.
The 400 audience members voted live at the event to select Fresh Routes and Siksika Health Services (Rob Ironside and Leslie Steeves) for the Audience Choice Award. They received a cash prize of $5,000, sponsored by the Calgary Foundation.
The 25 Fast Pitch coaches also voted and selected Evelyne Kemajou of Portail de L’Immigrant Association (PIA) as the Coaches’ Choice Award winner. She competed in the SVP Investment Focus category and coaches believed she was fully committed to the program, valued the feedback from coaches, and showed great passion and enthusiasm for the Fast Pitch program. This award also comes with a cash prize of $5,000 for Portail de L’Immigrant Association, sponsored by Keyera.
None of the finalists went home empty handed. For the seventh year in a row, Imperial was the Presenting Sponsor of the Fast Pitch program. In addition to their generous sponsorship, Theresa Redburn, Senior Vice President, Commercial and Corporate Development, presented each finalist with a cheque for $1,000 for their organization.
“We continue to support Fast Pitch year after year because we share in the passion to inspire creative thinking and drive innovation to meet needs and solve social challenges,” said Teresa Redburn. “We admire the energy and hard work of all the non-profits who have participated in the program. And we recognize being innovative is not only about the end result, it’s about having the courage to try.”
The evening closed with a total of $65,000 in cash prizes being awarded, the largest purse ever in one night of SVPC’s Fast Pitch.
The lineup of local celebrity judges included Shannon Doram, President and CEO of YMCA Calgary; Lourdes Juan, Founder and Executive Director of Leftovers Foundation, and 2017 winner of Fast Pitch’s Judges’ Choice Award; and Brad Zumwalt, a 30-year veteran of the technology industry and co-founder of SVP Calgary.
Thank you to our presenting partner, Imperial; and our generous sponsors, Calgary Foundation, Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC), Calgary Parking Authority Keyera, KPMG, and Platform Calgary for making this event possible.
And a very special thank you to the SVP Calgary organizing committee.
Social Venture Partners Calgary (SVPC) recognizes that this program would not be possible without the non-profit participants who put their heart, time and energy into crafting and perfecting their pitches. SVPC wishes to thank each of the participating organizations.
SVP Investment Focus Category:
Affinity Youth Mentorship – Nicarla Elliis
Boys & Girls Clubs of Calgary – Tanya McCagherty
carya – Carolyn Frew
PIA – Portail de L’Immigrant Association – Evelyne Kemajou
Canada Bridges – Alyssa Lindsay
Calgary John Howard Society – Megan Eichhorn
Easter Seals Alberta – Larry Mathieson
Families Matter – Lisa Barton
Renfrew Educational Services – Melanie Sicotte
Chill and Brave Communications/Education – Kirstie Hayhoe and Kelly Schular
Fresh Routes and Siksika Health Services – Rob Ironside and Leslie Steeves
Immigrant Services Calgary and Mental Health Commission of Canada – Colyn Degraaff and Fiona Haynes