Judge, Funder, Advocate for the Social Sector

Nike IrvineNike Irvin, Vice President of Programs at California Community Foundation, summed up her experience volunteering as a judge at the 2011 Social Innovation Fast Pitch event in one word: phenomenal.

“I had never attended before, but I knew about the program from friends who had participated…I knew it would be special, but I could not have imagined what a spectacular event it would be for the social sector in L.A.”  Nike pointed out that people who work in nonprofit organizations are rarely afforded a chance in the limelight, and that the Fast Pitch offers a golden opportunity for social entrepreneurs and the causes they work for to take center stage.  “In a town that has an awards show for everything,” jokes Nike, “Why not have a high-profile event for the people who are filling the gap in the social sector?”

Nike said that it was a privilege to be asked to be a judge, and to work with fellow judges Warren Olney, Eileen Heisman, and Jake Winebaum.  But she also sees the program from another perspective—as a funder. California Community Foundation has been a consistent funder of LASVP’s Social Innovation Fast Pitch, helping to launch the program and benefiting the community tremendously.  According to Nike, the Fast Pitch is a good investment because it’s a great opportunity for both nonprofits and grantmakers.  “As a funder of capacity building, CCF wants organizations to be able to tell their story effectively. It’s so powerful…You should have your “elevator pitch” perfected; you never know when you’ll need it.”  She also thinks the Fast Pitch is a great place for funders—from major foundations to individuals—to learn about some outstanding organizations.


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