The Greater New Orleans Foundation Announces Finalists for Pitch It! The Innovation Challenge

gnofFrom a pool of 40 applications, three nonprofits have been chosen to as finalists for Pitch It! The Innovation Challenge, a project created by Greater New Orleans Foundation in partnership with the Kresge Foundation. When all is said and done, the pitch event will fund a novel approach, an innovative product, a new process, or an inventive service that supports a new way of doing business in the human services field.

“From sheltering the homeless to feeding the elderly to caring for our children, organizations within the social service sector provide invaluable services to our community,” said Albert Ruesga, president and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Foundation. “Through their innumerable programs and services, they are helping to improve the quality of life for all. Yet in the face of a difficult economic landscape, nonprofit organizations must often innovate in order to meet changing needs.”

“The Pitch It! Innovation Challenge is a way to reward organizations that are willing to take a risk, act on a hunch, or think outside the box,” said Joann Ricci, GNOF’s vice president of organizational effectiveness. “Finding innovative solutions to common and complex problems within the social service sector can lead the way to a more sustainable and effective organization. Further, by sharing the ideas supported by the Challenge, we hope that these innovations might spark larger improvements both within and outside of the human services field.”

The three finalists are below:

Covenant House

  • Big Idea: Youth Connect: An innovative new “app” for at-risk youth.

The Gentilly 6

(Project Home Again, BuildNow, Liberty Bank CDC, Pontchartrain Park CDC, Project Homecoming, St. Bernard Project)

  • Big Idea: Getting in the Game – The Gentilly 6 Blight Pool

UNITY of Greater New Orleans

  • Big Idea: A “supertool” to better assess homeless clients and more effectively target resources.

The winner will be selected by a panel of judges including: Jeanne Bell, CEO of CompassPoint Nonprofit Services; Matt Wisdom, co-founder and CEO of TurboSquid; Maurice Cox, director of Tulane City Center and associate dean for community engagement at the Tulane University School of Architecture; and Guillermina Hernandez-Gallegos, program director for human services at the Kresge Foundation. Mark Romig, the voice of the Saints, will serve as “umpire,” for the pitch competition.

A grand prize of $25,000 and 2nd and 3rd place prizes of $5,000 and $2,500 respectively will be awarded Monday, September 30th from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM at Tulane University’s Greer Field at Turchin Stadium.

More information is available at