Last week I competed with nine other amazing LA-based non-profits in the LA Social Innovation Fast Pitch. In 3 minutes or less we were required to “pitch” – our group, our successes, our needs – to a room packed with about 500 people associated with non-profits either as funders, foundations, social venture partners, supporters, or the likes. It was a nerve racking six weeks of writing, rewriting and preparation for 3 minutes which were a blur.
As the founder of this group, I’ve spoken publicly about our group for many months but this was something special, where every word had to mean something. It caused me to reflect repeatedly on our mission the work we do and the incredible simplicity of Food Forward’s motto: harvest food, fight hunger, build community. Each piece of this motto is something that needed to come out to show that as simple as our concept is, the actual work we do, and organization the core team and hundreds of volunteers who are active with us, is something special, something innovative and something with potential worth funding.
I’m proud and humbled to say we won two of the five top prizes (The Audience Award, and the Innovation/Impact Award) and left the event with $6,000 in prize money which will go towards our needs in areas of buying a fruit mobile to cart around our harvests and tools, secure a permanent storage facility but mostly, help hire a Managing Director – our first paid employee – the job announcement for which will be going out shortly 🙂
I am grateful to Nancy Hammerman and Joanna Brody for their coaching expertise in polishing my presentation, and for the urging of my Dallas SVP pal, Stacy Caldwell to get in the game to begin with. But mostly I am thankful to the FF core team and volunteers who have built a culture of hard work and generosity of spirit where it is so easy to spread our fruity gospel – people dedicated week after week to helping share LA’s incredible abundance by being the change agents and whose direct action move food to those who need it.
Lastly, I came upon this great article in the NY Times magazine section about the DYI NGO movement and it hit a chord: people are starting groups addressing needs of folks all over the world – http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/24/magazine/24volunteerism-t.html?_r=1&ref=magazine – What struck me was how it talks about the innovation happening mostly internationally. Here in the US Food Forward is just one of the many groups involved in this movement of grassroots change happening here at HOME. Yes, we are indeed part of a wave – but I’m holding back the temptation to go buy that $6,000 surfboard…
See you up a tree – Rick Nahmias