There are few times in life when we’re served up a life-changing event. I witnessed such a phenomena last Wednesday. Eight nonprofits competed for up to $100,000 in funding during the  Fast Pitch Social Innovation Expo, sponsored by Social Venture Partners Arizona. All they had to do was hone their pitch to a maximum of three minutes, and tell the most compelling story about their cause.

I was given the great honor of emceeing Fast Pitch, and then the opportunity to appear on our local PBS affiliate, with SVPAZ Executive Director, Terri Wogan, to share this remarkable storytelling event, and its winners, with Arizona.

Congratulations to the P.O.P.S.I.C.L.E. Center for captivating the audience with its three-minute pitch. The P.O.P.S.I.C.L.E. Center provides educational tools and resources for children with feeding difficulties, their families, and the professionals who work with them.

They also won the Mentor’s Award, which recognized the executive director that grew the most through the storytelling process.

The Judges Award, and the People’s Choice Award, went to Teen Addiction Anonymous, which provides a 12 step recovery program created by teens, with teens, and for teens, to address addictive behavior.

The stories from all eight finalists were so moving that two anonymous donors, in the packed house at ASU SkySong, pledged an additional $1,000 to each participating nonprofit so that every storyteller walked away with an award. This was in addition to invaluable exposure in the local philanthropic community the event provided to all 20 semi-finalist charities.

SVPAZ pursues a venture capital approach to philanthropy. We invest in start-up and emerging nonprofits that focus on children. Our partners give more than just money. We volunteer our time as attorneys, accountants, marketers, administrators and other professional services providers to help build operational capacity within charities. to help insure their sustainability. SVPAZ is where nonprofits profit.

Do you know of an Arizona charity ready to tell its story for next year’s Fast Pitch event?