Philanthropitch Austin 2016: Finalists Announced

The quality of the applications for Philanthropitch and Mission Accelerator this year blew us away. Our selection committee was challenged to narrow down the pool of exceptional organizations to only eight finalists who will compete for $125,000 and acceptance into the Mission Accelerator. These finalists really do represent some of the most exciting and innovative social impact efforts in Austin right now.

Philanthropitch 2016 Finalists


Black Fret is creating a thriving middle-class of working musicians here in Austin by developing a sustainable funding model that pays high-quality local artists to live, create, and perform. Philanthropitch investment and acceptance into the Mission Capital accelerator could help Black Fret expand their efforts here in Austin and scale this model to other top music cities.


At BookSpring, they believe all children should love to read. Through their ReadWell program, they are putting books in pediatricians offices -- allowing doctors to prescribe nighttime reading for their patients. Philanthropitch investment and acceptance into the Mission Capital accelerator could help BookSpring reach up to 22,000 children in Central Texas and expand nationally.


One in five cancer patient deaths will not be from the disease, but rather from malnutrition, infection, or falls. CareBOX provides the in-home, post-hospital supplies not covered by insurance necessary to stop these preventable deaths. They are seeking investment and accelerator support to expand to Dallas, Houston, and five other Texas cities.


COHI provides quality care to women and children in crisis situations around the world. Through the COHI Cloth Network, they will tackle poverty reduction by selling a line of sustainable cloth diapers produced by low-income women. The financial and human capital from Philanthropitch and the Mission Accelerator will give them the runway and expertise needed to launch this effort.


Con Mi MADRE improves secondary education outcomes for young latinas through an intergenerational support program for both the young women and their mothers. They are poised to scale their services to school systems in additional counties and ramp up for a national expansion with investment and accelerator support.


Creative Action supports the academic, social, and emotional development of young people through the arts. Their intensive collaboration with Campbell Elementary School that provided arts programing for every student, every day has shown impressive turnaround results for this failing school. Creative Action is ready to expand these efforts to additional schools in Austin through investment and Mission Accelerator support.


ECORise is developing the next generation of innovative leaders through a school-based curriculum focusing on environmental literacy, social innovation, and hands-on design skills. They are seeking Philanthropitch investment and accelerator support to leverage new partnerships and grow their impact from 600 to 5,000 schools in 35 countries and raise their sustainable revenue to more than 50 percent.

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GCTA sees two Austins. One with low-wage workers seeking employment opportunities. The other with employers hard-pressed to find qualified workers. In partnership with industry, GCTA bridges this gap with trainings that put people to work in higher paying roles quickly. Philanthropitch investment and Mission Accelerator acceptance will allow GCTA to pilot and test additional programs in Central Texas for roll out nationwide through the Goodwill network.

Over the course of the past week, the finalists developed their three-minute pitches following a pitch workshop with Monique Maley of Articulate Persuasion and ongoing feedback from Notley, Mission Capital, and Social Venture Partner representatives. And on Monday, May 2 they will pitch their programs to an audience of more than 400 including investor judges, Social Venture Partners, corporate sponsor employees, and community members.

With the awards on Monday night, Philanthropitch will bring its total four-year giving to $500,000.

“Philanthropitch has had such a significant impact on the community during the last four years, not just because we’ve granted half a million dollars, but also because we’re highlighting some of the most innovative nonprofits in Central Texas,” said Sara Levy, executive director of Philanthropitch and the Notley Fund

Briana Loeb