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Pitch It! The Innovation Challenge 2017

Grants to Greater New Orleans, Louisiana
Nonprofits to Improve Organizational Effectiveness

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Greater New Orleans Foundation (GNOF)

Deadline Date:

07/31/17 11:59 PM CDT


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Grants of $5,000, $7,500, and $25,000 to Greater New Orleans, Louisiana nonprofits to support bold and innovative strategies in organizational management. Priority will be given to organizations working in the human services field. Projects may address organizational, technological, governance, management, programmatic, and leadership issues.

Examples include how to rethink your service delivery model, find a new approach to a long-standing nonprofit need, manage cash flow, use technology to drive program delivery, try a new approach to funding, develop an earned-income stream, collaborate with other like-minded organizations, develop a data tool to drive decision making or redefine your measure of success. With this seed money, the winning organization will implement an innovative idea and build upon its findings.

One of the functions of the Greater New Orleans Foundation is to increase organizational effectiveness (OE) in the nonprofit sector. Organizations that are working to meet human needs require support to adapt to the ever-changing economic, cultural, and environmental landscape.

With Pitch it! The Innovation Challenge, the Foundation seeks to help nonprofits push their current thinking, practices, tools, and approaches thereby furthering their capacity and effectiveness. Just as importantly, the opportunity to take a risk and think outside the box may well catalyze other entities to take their own innovative leaps. The goal of this program is to develop a strengthened network of nonprofits willing to share new ideas and practices that work for a healthier nonprofit eco-system and community.

Challenge Objective:

This challenge aims to implement a simple and focused innovation. The objective is to push nonprofit organizations to re-think, re-frame, re-position and re-imagine how they carry out their business and advance the mission.

The outcome of Pitch It! The Innovation Challenge is to spur your nonprofit organization to deploy your smarts and innovation to the common and complex problems facing your nonprofit (management, leadership, governance, adaptive or program) and develop a bold innovation which leads to a more sustainable and effective organization.

Additionally, the innovation can serve as a model or catalyst for other nonprofit organizations to create a profound change in the way the region’s nonprofits approach their work by sharing ideas that can take root, spread and impact others dealing with similar issues.

Criteria for the Pitch It! Innovation Challenge 2017:
-Clarity and focus of innovation
-Originality of approach
-Benefit to those being served by organization
-Creates a stronger, more effective mission-driven organization
-Aligns with the intent and outcomes of the Pitch It! The Innovation Challenge
-Has a good chance for successful implementation and can be a quick win
-Applicable to other nonprofit organizations
-Smart and creative use of resources

Funds provided to winning efforts are intended for use in implementing the bold ideas in accordance with city, state and federal laws. Any excess funds must be used to help build winning organization’s innovation capacity.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 174535

Number of Grants:


Estimated Size of Grant:

The top prize is $25,000 with $7,500 to second place and $5,000 to third place.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Any 501(c)3 that is headquartered within the region served by the Greater New Orleans Foundation and is in good standing with the IRS is eligible to apply. The Greater New Orleans Foundation serves the City of New Orleans and the surrounding Parishes of Assumption, Jefferson, Lafourche, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, and Washington.

A cohort of organizations may apply. This cohort must include a lead 501(c)3 nonprofit working with a government agency, academic institution and/or private sector organization that cares about innovation, human service, capacity-building, and has the willingness to work collaboratively. The lead applicant for a cohort must be a nonprofit within the aforementioned parameters.

While any nonprofit can apply for Pitch it!, priority consideration will be given to organizations in the Human Services field or those nonprofits who deliver programs and services with a human service benefit.

Only one idea per organization will be accepted so bring your best idea forward.

Challenge may not be used for:
-Capital for building acquisition or renovation
-Fees for memberships, dues, subscriptions, etc.
-Operating deficits or retirement of debt
-Scientific or medical research
-Individuals, either through scholarships or other forms of financial assistance
-Special events or conferences
-Programs that require exposure to, adherence to or conversion to any religious doctrine in order to receive program services

Pre-Application Information:

Pitch It! The Innovation Challenge 2017 is a two-step process:

Part 1: Applications will open June 30, 2017 at 12:00 AM CDT and close July 31, 2017 at 11:59 PM CDT. Nonprofit organizations submit a simple and focused description of their innovative idea that addresses the challenge objectives and outcomes. Three finalists will be selected by a panel comprised of innovative national and local philanthropists, business and community leaders.

Part 2: On TBD, 2017, three finalists will be announced. Finalists will be invited to further develop their “Big Idea” into a more substantive and detailed innovation through an orientation meeting, a series of three mandatory coaching sessions, as well as a mandatory dress rehearsal with professional guidance. All coaching sessions will be about one hour per organization and will be held at the Greater New Orleans Foundation, with the exception of the dress rehearsal. The coaching dates for 2017:

-September 7: Orientation Meeting
-September 14: Coaching session
-September 21: Coaching session
-September 28: Coaching session
-October 4: Dress rehearsal

The three finalists will “pitch” the final “big idea” to a judge’s panel on Thursday, October 5, 2017 from 5:00 - 6:00 PM.

The three finalists agree to share their innovation and learnings with the Greater New Orleans Foundation, its grantees, and others to help other nonprofits innovate. All proposals received will be highlighted on GNOF’s website—the organization’s name, along with the headline of their big idea.

It is highly recommended that all applicants review the Foundant application tutorial video before beginning a new application in order to better understand the process:


More information about GNOF may be found here:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Submit your application via the GNOF online grant module:

Rachel Swan

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Louisiana: City of New Orleans and the surrounding Parishes of Assumption, Jefferson, Lafourche, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, and Washington