Magazine menu

Mon, May

Social Venture Partners Arizona

Disruptive Innovations

At Social Venture Partners (SVPAZ) we put a spotlight on philanthropy. For seven years, we’ve proven that through our signature program, Fast Pitch. Fast Pitch engages the Valley community -- including nonprofit leaders, students, and social entrepreneurs who are creating real and lasting impact in Maricopa County. The program trains leaders to powerfully communicate their story, and connect them with influential business and community leaders who can help them achieve their goals.

These organizations are selected to participate based on their innovative approaches to creating social change and their potential for significant positive community impact. For two months, they receive training and mentoring from volunteer business professionals on how to succinctly and powerfully tell their story in 180-seconds or less. 

The program culminates in a Fast Pitch competition -- a high energy, rapid-fire presentation event during which nine finalists share the mission, vision, and impact of their organization with the audience and judges -- in just three minutes, and compete for funding. Think “Shark Tank.”

We just hosted our seventh program in March and attracted a record crowd of 720 to the event. This year, was a record year beyond ticket sale numbers -- we had increased applications, sponsorships, awards distributed, and funds raised by community leaders, business executives, and philanthropists looking to invest in impactful Valley ventures. SVPAZ awarded more than sixty-three thousand dollars while audience members donated an additional seventy-one thousand dollars after hearing the inspired pitches. 

We also evolved this year and added a for-profit category. Seems contradictory, right? Our Executive Director Terri Wogan Calderón started noticing a trend in the marketplace where more and more for-profit organizations have a mission of giving back. Think TOMS. “We wanted to expand the Fast Pitch program and competition to recognize those companies leading the revolution in the Valley,” Terri shared. So to remain true to our roots, we want to recognize and honor that work at Fast Pitch.

In our inaugural year, we had almost ten application submissions and three organizations were selected for the training. In the end, Jacob Hamman and zenjoi rose to the top as our first ever social enterprise recipient, receiving five thousand in grant dollars from SVPAZ and an additional one thousand from the Murray Family Foundation. Along with great exposure from our Partners and community.

And the “winner” of the SVP Innovator Award went to Stephen Sparks and Labor's Community Service Agency, which will receive up to seventy-five thousand dollars in financial grants over three years and four times that value in expert consulting through the Social Venture Partners and Social Venture Partners Arizona (SVPAZ) network.

About Social Venture Partners
Social Venture Partners is a philanthropic organization, but we do more than give away money. We connect people who want to give back and the nonprofits that make change possible -- cultivating effective philanthropists and strong organizations that deliver greater impact, together.  
We began in 1999 in Arizona and since then have worked with more than a thousand philanthropists -- transforming how they give and creating ripple effects across our community as more than 70 percent increase their giving and volunteerism. SVP has supported 120 nonprofits, providing four million dollars and more than thirty-five thousand skilled volunteer hours to strengthen these organizations and accelerate collective action.  
Driving all of this work is a single vision: a community in which, regardless of income or race, all children receive an excellent education and all people live and work in a healthy environment. Learn what it means to go #beyondphilanthropy at