Cathy Salser is the founder and Executive Director of A Window Between Worlds. She presented on behalf of the organization at the 2009 Social Innovation Fast Pitch competition and won the $5,000 Pitch prize.
“I grew up painfully shy,” Cathy Salser shared at the 2009 Social Innovation Fast Pitch event. “In the face of domestic violence, art was my safe haven, my voice.” Cathy is the founder and Executive Director of A Window Between Worlds, an organization that helps women and children recover from the emotional wounds caused by abuse by using art as a healing tool. What she once thought would be a one-time summer project turned into an organization that has reached over 74,000 women and children.
“They say public speaking is a lot of people’s worst fear, and for me that’s definitely the case,” says Cathy. “Knowing I’d have to get up there and speak in front of people meant facing my worst fears…it was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done.” Cathy faced her fears because she knew that she needed to prepare for her organization’s 20th Anniversary that was coming up in 2011, an occasion that would call for her to speak in front of numerous groups. Cathy worked hard with her coaches throughout the two-month training program to perfect her pitch and convey the impact that A Window Between Worlds has on survivors of domestic violence. Her efforts paid off handsomely–at the Fast Pitch event, Cathy took home the prize for Best Pitch, along with $5,000 grant for A Window Between Worlds.
The cash prize was only the beginning of the rewards the organization would reap from Cathy’s involvement in Fast Pitch. That night, they received a $2,500 donation from an audience member and signed up new volunteers who continue to support A Window Between Worlds today. But the real payoff came from the training Cathy received from the Fast Pitch, which drastically improved the organization’s ability to fundraise effectively. “The Fast Pitch has changed the content I present in all of my speaking and grant writing,” Cathy says.
This change shows in the numbers. At their annual fundraiser in 2011—the 20th Anniversary event that Cathy wanted to prepare for– A Window Between Worlds raised around 60% more money than they did the previous year. Since 2009, their programs in LA have grown by 72%. Cathy says that they were able to achieve this outstanding growth “through speaking out and sharing the importance of this work…and for that I’m forever grateful to Fast Pitch.”