launches fast pitch investment event for nonprofits

Days before the inaugural fast pitch investment event, Philanthropitch, which is geared at helping six local nonprofits, the program sold out.

"It's already turning into a really big event, and we're planning to have it be an annual event," said Kendall Slagle, public relations manager at, an online custom sign business that created the event. Its offices are located on Stonehollow Drive in North Austin.

Philanthropitch starts at 6 p.m., May 29 at the LBJ School of Public Affairs. The event gives six nonprofits 5 minutes each to pitch the organization to a panel of six judges, which include CEO Dan Graham; Deep Eddy Vodka CEO and co-founder Clayton Chrisotpher; Elizabeth Christian, president of Elizabeth Christian & Associates Public Relations; Gail Page, managing partner at Vineyard Investment Advisors; Chris Steiner, senior associate at Austin Ventures; and Steve Wanta, representing Innovation +, and the executive program director of Whole Planet Foundation.

Nonprofits will discuss what projects they need funded and how new programs will benefit the community. The six nonprofits participating are:

College Forward, a college access and college persistence services organization

education catalyst E3 Alliance

family volunteering service Little Helping Hands

homeless social outreach ministry Mobile Loaves & Fishes

Seedling Foundation, which mentors children whose parents are incarcerated

Sustainable Food Center, a seed-to-table group that focuses on helping people make healthy food choices

Once a nonprofit's 5 minutes are up, the judges can ask questions. The judges have $50,000 total to divvy up among the six nonprofits. Furthermore, all proceeds from event ticket sales go to one of the six nonprofits selected by the audience after the pitches, Slagle said.

The idea to host Philanthropitch came out of a meeting Graham and BuildASign's giving team had last fall as a way to help the community. Slagle said BuildASign received almost 100 applications from area nonprofits, and the list was whittled down by a third party selection committee. Semifinalists participated in a workshop to hone their pitches, and then the final six were selected.

BuildASign has always had a focus on helping the community. Last year, it participated in CreateAthon, a 24-hour creative blitz to provide pro bono marketing services for nonprofits. Since 2008, the company has donated more than 275,000 Welcome Home banners to military families and friends for returning troops.

Slagle said BuildASign already has another giving program event lined up in July. She said it will involve building landmarks out of canned food that will be donated to food centers.

For more information about Philanthropitch, visit the website.

By Amy Denney

Managing Editor, Austin metro

Amy has worked for Community Impact Newspaper since September 2010, serving as reporter and senior editor for the Northwest Austin edition as well as covering transportation in the Austin metro. She is now managing editor for the 10 publications in the Central Texas area from Georgetown to New Braunfels. She enjoys spending time with her husband, son and two cats.